Monday, June 1, 2009

Science lessons

Science sort of stalled out at our house after finishing the Periodic Table of Elements. For weeks we didn't do any. Sure, we caught frogs, toads and snakes in the backyard, made trips to the pet store to gaze at the different sorts of fish, birds, and small animals they have there, planted and tended a garden, observed the weather, and did the odd cooking "experiment," but nothing really planned out.

So I've been writing a unit that I was going to do with the kids in the fall, but we started it already. In the unit, the student biologist (because it's a biology unit) travels through the 5 kingdoms of life, gathering facts to earn the right to carry the keys to each kingdom.

Today we did our first "real" science. We made a culture medium out of Jello and Slim-Fast. It's red. I hope it doesn't get yucky, we need a bunch of them for our planned unit. Anyway, to make culture medium from Jello and Slim-Fast, you need:

1 package Jello (any flavor)
1 can Slim Fast (any flavor)
paper cups or petri dishes
plastic wrap and rubber bands or lids to the petri dishes
bowl, spoon, measuring cups, saucepan

Make sure you wash everything out really well with hot soapy water, to make sure it is really clean. Otherwise you won't be able to trust your results.

Mix up the Jello as directed, except replace 1/2 cup of the cold water with 1/2 cup of Slim-Fast. Drink the rest of the Slim-Fast, and grimace, because it's gross.

Allow the Jello mixture to cool for 15 minutes or so, stirring every 2 minutes to keep the Slim-Fast from settling. Pour the mixture into paper cups or petri dishes and cover with the plastic wrap and rubber band, or lid to petri dish.

Put them in the fridge until they are set, you can use them now when you need them.

I got my petri dishes from Home Science Tools.

They aren't too expensive, and the company is really nice to deal with.