Friday, May 18, 2012
Using Egg Carton Boats to Learn About Gravity
I sure love free stuff and in my mind, egg cartons are a free toy so I'm always brainstorming new ways to use them around the house. This week, we decided to do a little science experiment to learn about gravity, using egg cartons as boats. First, I ran my egg cartons through the dishwasher before using them because I am a borderline OCD germa-phobe (Not really, but kinda).
For this experiment, we used:
1. Egg cartons
2. Large tupperware container
4. Rocks (Purchased from the Dollar Store)
6. Lots of patience (keep reading, you'll see why I needed patience)
First, I filled up the tupper-ware bin full of water and gave them the boats and they each got a straw. They used the air to move the boat around the water. I explained about wind. Since egg cartons are so light, they moved around easily from blowing air through the straw.
Next, we filled the boat up with feathers and the boat didn't sink. We slowly started adding in rocks and finally, the boat finally sank under the weight of all the rocks. This really illustrated to Munchkin Girl (almost four) the concept of heavy vs. light. The feathers were so light that they didn't make the boat sink, but the rocks did.
After this, she literally spent 45 minutes filling up the boat with rocks over and over again until it sank. We worked on using both sides of the boat to balance it so it wouldn't sink, and then she would move them all to one side because she loved watching it sink.
Now, some of you might be wondering what my darling rambunctious two year old boy was up to during this educational science experiment? I'm not going to lie. He was a total pest. He kept coming over and tackling Munchkin Girl while she filled up the boat. Then he would take the boats and rocks and throw them in the yard and run off laughing. If I had it to do over again, we would do this while he was napping. Of course I tried to include him but he couldn't understand weight, gravity, or balance, so I finally just gave him the hose to distract him from bothering us. Luckily, that turns out to be a very fun and educational experience for a two year old:
It occurred to me to get a 2nd tupperware container and rocks for him, and then he played with those for awhile too
Tips for you: Get everything ready before-hand. Find the tupperware container and wash it out if needed BEFORE you show it to them. Consider filling it up with water first too so you can get right into what the boat is used for. And of course, gather up all the materials and have them ready before you start. Unfortunately I didn't do any of that, and let's just say I wish I had followed my own advice. Maybe then Munchkin Girl wouldn't have taken off Little Buddy's shoes and used them as boats, causing them to cackle hysterically and almost ruin his shoes while I was still cutting up the egg cartons. Oh well, I'm always learning and will do better next time!
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