Thursday, May 29, 2014

What scientific things catch my infant's interest?

*Pictures (perception, depth, light, colors)
*Looking through a window (perception, depth, light, colors)
*The baby in the mirror above her swing (reflections)

It's amazing how quickly babies grow and develop. According to my "What is your baby doing this week?" email, at 7 weeks, she should be seeing more colors and in 3D. We've definitely noticed her focusing on objects at a distance. She definitely enjoys contrast. Blinds are some of her favorite things to stare at, and if I raise the blinds, she gets so excited to look out the window and explore the world with her new, sweet eyes. The best thing we can do is safely facilitate her curious interests (ie. don't let her stare into the sun b/c she likes light) and discuss what she sees.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How early is too early to start science?

Miss Baby J is now 6 weeks old. Time is flying by, when it's not 2 am.

We're starting to get into a routine now that our special helpers/visitors have all gone home, which means that it's just me and Miss Baby J during the day (when J's at preschool). Research tells us that we should talk to our babies starting as young as possible, but what should we talk about? Science!

She is calmer when she hears my voice, so I do love talking to her. Here are some things that I've talked about with Miss Baby J:
  • Kiss a body part and talk about the body part (anatomy) - my personal favorite.
  • Count fingers, toes, and other body parts (math).
  • Colors (physics).
  • The weather (physics/thermodynamics).
  • Sing songs, clap rhythms (music).
  • Identify noises we hear (physics/fluid dynamics).
  • How anything we come across that catches her attention works (various science categories).
  • Facts about different animals while pointing out the animal in J's and her stuffed animals (biology).
  • Trees and other plants (biology).
What do you discuss with your infant?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Do plants grow without leaves?

We recently had a rodent eat all of the leaves off of our cucumber plants:

My husband had high hopes that they would recover. I, on the other hand, was not so optimistic and asked that we buy some more and replant. (my hypotheses: the plants wouldn't survive)

We replanted, but we left the chewed plants for an experiment to see what would happen. We also had a cherry tomato plant that had its leaves only partially eaten. We let that one be without replanting.

The result?

A month later both chewed cucumber plants were completely dead.


Leaves play an essential role in the process of photosynthesis - the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. I like to think of leaves as mini solar panels, using sunlight to make energy. Without leaves the plant has very little to create the energy needed for the plants to grow bigger.

What about the half-chewed tomato plant?

The tomato plant was only partially eaten by the rodent, meaning that the rodent left some parts of the leaves. The plant has recovered and is flourishing.

What experiment can you do at home?

You don't need a garden or bigger/expensive plants. Beans grow relatively fast from seeds. Plant 3 different beans in jars/cups. When they are big enough to have leaves, break all the leaves completely off of one, break the leaves half way off in one, and leave one to grow normally. Compare how they grow after that.

Personal lessons learned:

We made a crop cage for our garden before planting the new bunch of cucumbers. The new plants have not been targeted. We might blog about the crop cage in the future, but it needs a few tweaks first.