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Science experiments

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So, Monday we did an experiment with yeast. Very simple. Just adding sugar/warm water to the yeast in A, sugar & cold water in B, just warm water no sugar in C.


The results were....not as anticipated. At first I thought my yeast must be 'dead', but then the vessel with no sugar started to foam up :(. I'm sure I cross-contaminated, but I don't get why the ones with sugar did nothing (they are the ones that were supposed to!)


Anyway, no worries, we handled it & talked about why it might not have worked & talked about what we expected to see :).


Today, we're using the yeast, water, & sugar to (hopefully) produce gas, which we'll be trapping in a balloon.


I can't tell you how concerned I am that this isn't going to work. Science experiments are STRESSFUL to this mama! I know what's supposed to happen, but sometimes...IT DOESN'T HAPPEN! Scientist, I am not :).


If we don't get a response from today's yeast, I'm scared for Friday's bread.


It's like a watched pot...this daggum test tube w/a balloon on top...


Thankful that boys are little enough that I have time to get this science experiment thing worked out!

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Failure is a part of science. It's often been said, and it's true, that we learn more from failures than we do from successes.


Ask any working scientist about unexpected results and they'll tell you they're commonplace. They're also annoying, but they can be invaluable. Many of the most important scientific discoveries over the centuries have been made by someone who got unexpected results and took the time to try to figure out what was going on instead of just starting over.


In my lab, I get unexpected results at least weekly and sometimes daily. And I mean really unexpected, as in something that worked exactly the same 100 times in a row on the 101st attempt went totally off the rails. Whenever I can, I take the time to figure out what went "wrong".

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Failure is a part of science. . . Whenever I can, I take the time to figure out what went "wrong".


I was rattled, so I didn't think this through, but you all are so right! The next time this happens we're going to talk about what might have gone wrong.


I love that I'm learning on this journey as well as my kids.


Thank you all for your replies!

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Glad it worked.


Failure has always been a part of our experimentation. :)


Earlier today the kids and I were discussing the learning opportunities failure presents to us on a regular basis.


This makes a lot of sense.


There's also a fair amount of Murphy's Law in science experiments (what? Murphy's Law is totally scientifically rigorous! :)). When I was doing one of those egg-in-a-jar demonstrations for the science camp I led one summer, I was ready. I'd practiced so many times I had to buy more eggs. I had exactly the right jar, precisely the correct equipment. I had it down. Then, when I had 15 kids watching with anticipation, my egg sat stubbornly atop my jar. One kid even made the "L" symbol with his fingers across his forehead (I'm assuming he meant the demonstration was a loser and not me...allow me my comforting fictions).


So best of luck with your experiments, but don't count out Murphy and heed Trilliums's wise advice.

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