• Melissa

What's in your house?

Last week, I thought figuring out the logistics of who would use the computer at what time of the day would be one of my family's biggest challenges. I couldn’t have been more WRONG! The computer use seemed to work itself out, but my children’s sadness and boredom were challenging and frustrating.

My teenage son misses his high school friends, and his teachers terribly. Each day, he told me time and time again about his dislike of online learning. He begrudgingly did his assignments with some needed prompting from me. My daughter, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind the new online learning platform. She would get her work done each morning but by noon, her work was done and then she’d start her chorus of, “Mom, I’m BORED.”

Midway through the week, one of them asked if we had an attic in our house. Little did I know, this one question would change the trajectory of our week. My house does have an attic, but not one suitable for people to be in - especially two teenagers. This attic inquiry prompted my two teens to become curious researchers. They wanted to know the dimensions and had to come up with an alternative way to measure the attic since they weren’t allowed in it.

Here they are using a ladder, their phones as flashlights, and peeking into the attic.

I’m not suggesting that you have the children you know and love start poking around your attic, but you can and should encourage their natural curiosity, collaboration, and love of learning. Science is all around us - even in your own home.

So, what are some activities you can do this week with objects you have in your own home? Try asking your child to predict if colored paper will change how fast an ice cube melts. You’ll need ice cubes and different colors of paper. Next, direct your child to take the paper and ice cubes outside in a sunny location. They will place one ice cube on each of the different papers and observe and watch what happens.

Science explanation: Dark colors absorb light, while light colors reflect light. Light energy can be converted to heat or thermal energy when certain materials absorb it. Some materials are heated more than others by light that shines on them.

Dark materials absorb more of the visible spectrum of light. The absorbed light energy is converted and is released as heat energy. Since more of the spectrum is absorbed there is more energy that is converted to heat. Light colored materials absorb less and reflect more of the light spectrum (less energy) so less energy is released as heat.

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