Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Focus : Everyday Science, Part 1

image via here

Ever conscious of combining daily life with education, I enjoy finding ways to teach my children during our normal activities: cooking, coloring, yard-work, walks...all become learning experiences when I ask and answer questions. Because I'm organizing a science day at the school, simple science experiments and discoveries are on my mind lately. I've been consulting a couple little books called Simple Kitchen Experiments and Simple Nature Experiments, from a series that encourages discovery during everyday activities. To start off very easily and with minimal preparation, I might try some salt activities.

Salt wilts vegetables (and our bodies)
from Simple Kitchen Experiments

Try it: While making salad for dinner, salt two or three cucumber slices or lettuce pieces, set aside, and let stand for a while. The vegetable will wilt and/or shrivel.

Say it: Though our bodies need the two minerals (sodium and chloride) that salt provides, too much salt can cause health problems. In the demonstration, the salt draws the water out of the cells of the vegetable; the same thing happens to our bodies when we eat too much salt. When the amount of sodium in the fluid surrounding our cells is too high, the "wilted" cells don't function properly. You have probably noticed that you feel thirsty after eating salty foods such as potato chips. Your body needs extra water to dilute the salt you've just eaten.

More Salt Experiments

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