Recently, I organized a science day in a local inner-city middle school. DNA Day Memphis 2014!!! We did a 5 minute DNA extraction using household materials, put dry ice in warm water with dish detergent, played with pH using indicator strips and dye with acid and bases (bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, a mystery drink), and a genetic wheel. I just wanted to leave you with a few of the comments from the teacher, principal, and kids.
Teacher – “The hands-on experiments enabled [our] student scientists to tackle several perplexities. The experiments aligned with the curriculum and students have stated they are better able to conceptualize the content. This was the best type of experience our students could encounter prior to taking the TCAP test.”
Principal – “Thanks so much for your dedication to our kids.”
Kids – “Can they come and perform mini-experiments every day until school is out?” “This experience taught me that genes are powerful, more powerful than I expected, as they determine the many traits you may or may not possess. The pH testing was exciting because we were dealing with different indicators. It was fun! Are they coming back?”
“I like the genetic wheel, collecting my own DNA was exciting! I can’t believe I actually got to see my own DNA!”
“This experience was an eye opener as I really, really now understand the relationship between volume, pressure, and temperature as it relates to Boyle’s Law. It was nice to actually SEE the law with the dry ice experiment.”
“It was outstanding. I learned how to test substances with pH indicators to determine acidity or basicity. My favorite part was the experiment with the dry ice where the top popped off due to pressure. I wish the team would come back again and teach us more. Science is life!
Trust me, I am not doing these things or telling you these quotes for the pat on the back. I am telling you as a rally cry. You don’t have to go into schools to do this, you can do it in your own house. Spark kid’s curiosity. Spark your own curiosity. There are things you can do with water that blow your and your kids minds. Who knows, you just might have fun while you’re at it.
Coming up next…when science give you lemons and time to “PLAY BALL!!”