A kid led experiment ≠ A mommy led experiment

I love how kids have no preconceived notion of what science is. Yesterday, we were swimming and Allie said, “Mom, I’m going to show you a magic trick.” Then she thought about it and said, “No, I’m going to show you science!”  Then she excitedly jumped in the pool on a green noodle and did a free-style backstroke to the edge.  I wish high school science looked like that much fun!

Then there are days when Allie begs me to do an experiment with her and it is usually on the days that I have nothing ready to set up to make a fun well-thought-out-lesson with predictable results.

One of those days happened this week.  So I said somewhat frustrated, “what experiment do you want to do?” and she quickly jumped up and said, “I’ll show you!”

Her experiment involved a clear plastic container, a frog bath toy, and some water.  She loved filling the container with water from the hose outside, putting the frog in, and watching it float. I asked her what she learned from her experiment and she said she was testing to see if the frog would float upside down or not.  Then she laughed and laughed at that the way the frog looked.


That is when I realized:

A kid led experiment ≠ A mommy led experiment

Case in point:

Mommy’s idea of an experiment:

  • Something I found in a science book or pinned from a blog
  • Something I can plan out ahead of time, we calmly sit down together to perform it, and the results make ideal pictures for the blog
  • The results make her realize a great complex science concept in an easy way

A 5 year old’s idea of an experiment:

  • Something that involves water
  • Something that is colorful
  • Something she can set up herself without mom’s help
  • Laughing at the end results

It reminded me that the whole goal of this blog and documenting our experiments together is:

  • to encourage her to think like a scientist by asking lots of questions
  • to be confident in her abilities to explore the world around her
  • to make amazing memories in the process of our discoveries

She had her very own idea of what her experiment would be and in the end I thought it was pretty amazing.

To her an experiment = discovery.  Plain and simple.

I told her I loved her experiments and she was so proud of herself.

Categories: lovely conversations, thoughts of a girl engineer | Tags: |

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