Monday, February 25, 2008

The Science Fair

This week Nature Girl is taking part in a science fair. She learned of it over a month ago. While she was sure she wanted to enter, she changed her mind daily on what she wanted to do for it. Finally, after the lunar eclipse last week, she was set on doing it on the moon. Generally moon projects take a month to do because, well, the lunar cycle is almost a month long itself. So she asked me to help her find an experiment that wouldn't take more than a week to do, if it took less than an hour, well even better!

I found a bunch of experiments on craters and Nature Girl picked the one that was the most fun, and the messiest! She got to hurl various sized objects into a bin full of flour to see what kinds of craters they'd make. Her hypothesis was that the craters would be much bigger than the objects and that the objects would bounce away afterwards. It was a lot of fun and we threw all sorts of stuff in the flour, it got pretty silly when she and Wild Thing got in the bin themselves and walked on the moon. The serious stuff was measuring the diameter of our projectiles, and the depth and diameter of the holes they left.

Nature Girl has a lot of questions about the moon and I tried to remember and write down all of them. Then we went looking for the answers. A lot of them couldn't be answered definitively so we learned about scientific theory and how the "facts" in science are often changed as we learn more.

We talked a lot about the way the moon has looked to people over the ages and the different stories people have told about the moon. With each story, she looked at the moon with fresh eyes and imagination and found what those people saw when they looked up into the sky a man, a woman, a woman and child, the yin-yang symbol, frogs, rabbits and more!

We learned about why the moon is covered in craters but the earth is not. We also learned about why the craters don't get smoothed away over time like those on earth have. She did a very detailed map drawing of the moon's surface and included all sorts of details that we see on it's surface from earth like the "seas" which are actually large pools of cooled lava rock called basalt. She detailed craters, and the bright spots and rays, which we don't know a lot about, but the Apollo team brought back samples from one and it contained an awful lot of aluminum, and aluminum is naturally bright and shiny.

Nature Girl never once said "I forget". She finished what she started (with lots of dancing and jumping on the bed in between parts and sometimes during!). What she's taking in to the Fair tomorrow is only a fraction of what she learned in the past week at home. She is feeling really accomplished and proud of her work.

One of the nicest things I found was that with Nature Girl so wrapped up in this project, Wild Thing became interested, and he joined her in all the hands on activities. He learned how to trace a stencil and made his own map of the moon. When Nature Girl wrote, he did his own "letters". He looked at the moon and listened to stories about it and when it got too technical he went off and played with his space ship and aliens.

A quiet moment of studious concentration

Moon Lore and Facts

Map and Experiment

More facts on the Moon and a Sorel boot mark that very well could be on the moon!


Oma said...

Hey Nature Girl!

I am impressed.

Carolyn said...

Very cool project!!
(we did the floor in bin thing at science class last year and it was a big hit then, too!)
Way to go, NG!