Monday, February 20, 2012

A Scientist?

This weekend there was an open house for kids at the local Magnetics Lab. It was a chance to get hands-on experience with science through demonstrations and exhibits. This is the first year that Z has been old enough to really enjoy something like this so she and I ventured out into the grey and dreary that is North Florida in February.

When I told Z that we were going to a science lab, she was very excited about the prospect of mixing "potions". The first lab that we entered had a giant microscope with an ant on a slide. The image of the ant was projected onto a huge screen and we watched as a tiny laser engraved her name on the head of the ant. Her name was 1/4 the diameter of a single strand of hair.

She was unimpressed.

We continued through as scientists and their minions discussed super-conductivity, magnets, and the potential for future energy sources.

Z was bored, antsy, and LOUD.

We got to table that embodied all of the exhibits that we had just seen through a model train that levitated over the tracks. She became very interested in the "floating" train - the day was starting to look up. We made a simple engine with a battery, magnets, wire and a screw. We played with static electricity and learned about how it can be harnessed to create an energy source.

Then we were led into a darkened hallway. "Ah, ah, pick me UUUUUUUPPPPPP!" she whined as I rolled my eyes. I lifted her onto my hip, my hands already filled with take home science kits. We walked into the dark and as we rounded the corner the entire room around us started to glow with phospherescents. "Momma," she whispered, "it's SO beautiful. Put me down." She was mesmerized by the flowers and plants glowing all around us, including glow in the dark bubbles that streamed from the air vent above.

As we neared the end of the hallway and started to walk into another lab, she started to freak out. "No, Momma. Let's stay in THEEEEERE!." I had to carry her out of the building to get us to the next place that we were going.

We met up with some friends and throughout the rest of the day she got to mix potions in a beaker, freeze flowers in the cryogenics lab, launch potatoes in the potato cannon, make silly putty, eat ice cream that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen, pull herself up in a pulley system, and interrupt lasers that were broadcasting music.

When she saw the "Rainbow Man" (the director of the center who was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt and a rainbow top hat) she stalked him down. "I am going to be a scientist one day. I am going to work here."

I think she really just wants a black light and some posters in her room. (And a momma that does not prohibit potions in the house.)

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