Sunday, November 29, 2009
Perfect moments Monday--Building a paper jet engine
Scott's latest obsession is acid, and what he calls, "stomach acid". He wants to know if stomach acid can 'eat' metal, indeed if it could 'eat' a person! He asked if we could go online and find any video of something being dissolved in acid.
It was more difficult than one would think. I had trouble coming up with narrowly defined-enough search terms. I found lots of definitions of 'acid' that were too complicated for me to understand, let alone explain to him: things about substances that give up an extra hydrogen, or raise the pH of a substance. And I found way too much stuff about LSD. But our search wasn't in vain. Presently we found on youtube a series called "Do Try This At Home". Mr. G has a series of science experiments that can be done with ordinary household items.
Scott wanted to try some immediately, but I was making a dish ahead for Thanksgiving. The computer is in the kitchen, but I got so busy with my task that I didn't notice him for a while. When I looked up again he'd gotten a piece of paper, a scissors, and a lighter. ("Hey! Where did you find that?!" "In Dad's office.") They were laid out just the way Mr. G had them in the video. He was absorbed in following along the step-by-step instructions on the screen. He would let the video run, pause it, and fold the paper. It appeared he'd gotten to a fairly advanced stage of folding when he got stuck. I was so impressed with this I decided to help him.
He wanted to start again, and so went and got another piece of paper. I flattened out the one he'd had and used it. He really had finished about 90% of it, and the part where he'd gotten stuck was tricky for me too. It was kind of hard to see, but there was a place where two flaps were tucked into two pockets made by a certain sequence of folds.
By golly, we inflated the little dirigibles and filled them with fumes from the lighter, then lit them and pop! They shot across the room! Way cool.
The perfection for me is in seeing his curiosity, his initiative, his patience and perseverance in pursuing this project. "I'm a scientist, Mom!"
Definitely a Little Professor.