Science for Girls

I have to admit, the title of this post is somewhat misleading. I think a basic understanding of science is important for everyone, and I’m so grateful that there are people in the world who choose it as a career and who are working in medical research, climate change adaptation and mitigation, alternative fuel sources and all the things I don’t understand. When I watch University Challenge, there is often an answer being given by someone when I’m busy failing to work out what the hell the question means. It doesn’t upset me though, it makes me grateful, because someone does understand and will hopefully put that understanding to good use.

Recently, in an attempt to cut through the ‘Disney Princess’ influence on my daughter, and because I knew she’d enjoyed Science Week at school,  I’ve started to introduce her to a bit more science at home. In his wisdom, Father Christmas brought her a copy of the Usborne 100 Science Experiments and we’re starting to work our way through them. I love Usborne books. Whatever question your child has, there’s probably an Usborne book with the answer. Even in this age of technology, it’s a great learning experience to find an answer by looking in a proper book – the way we used to do research when I was at school!

As a scanner, I doubt very much that I ever would have followed a scientific career path – too specialised for me. However, I do remember an early ambition to be a vet being squashed by a teacher telling me that it would be too hard and that I should be happy with being a veterinary nurse instead. Which I was, for a year. I am hoping that my gender wasn’t the reason for him telling me this, but imagine the difference he could have made to my life had he said it would be really hard work and very competitive but if I applied myself, I might just make it…

Anyway, my kids are still small, and so the most important part about any learning is that it is fun. With that in mind, the first experiment we undertook was the foam monster – using an acid- alkaline mixture and some washing up liquid to create this:

Which went down very well, as it fizzed red foam all over the place! Next up was little bugs in paper flowers. The petals are folded over, and as the flower is placed into a bowl of water, the paper absorbs some of the water and expands, opening the petals and revealing the little bug inside. We loved this one very much too, as the petals open before your eyes like magic.

We made ladybirds, dragonflies and tiny frogs…

Next up will be a flying magnetic butterfly and plastic tub boats powered with rubber bands.

Although I am the last person to denigrate any subject matter for study, I do hope that the recent success of programmes such as ‘Bang Goes The Theory’, those presented by Dr Brian Cox, or even ‘Nina and the Neurons’ might lead to more people choosing science. After all, following a long, rather complicated journey, even I am enjoying it and if you start young, sometimes it makes you feel like this:

My Little Mad Scientist...

Now, where did I put those magnets?…

4 Responses to Science for Girls

  1. Cool! I’ll get myself a copy of this book to try some things with my bonkers boy.

  2. Olga says:

    Great stuff 😀

  3. Pingback: CubbyKit: Space Themed Crafts. | margotandbarbara

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