An article that anyone who drinks water should read (this means you!)

This paragraph from this article explains why I keep as many chemicals as possible out of my house.

“Under the 1976 Toxic Sub­stances Control Act, the E.P.A. can test chemicals only when it has been provided evidence of harm. This arrangement, which largely allows chemical companies to regulate themselves, is the reason that the E.P.A. has restricted only five chemicals, out of tens of thousands on the market, in the last 40 years.

If it says non-stick, stain-proof, wrinkle-free…beware. If something promises to be no work for you the human, you need to be wary because there is a questionable chemical behind it. About 90% of the way through this very extensive article…

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“Last May, 200 scientists from a variety of disciplines signed the Madrid Statement, which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA. PFOA and its replacements are suspected to belong to a large class of artificial compounds called endocrine-disrupting chemicals; these compounds, which include chemicals used in the production of pesticides, plastics and gasoline, interfere with human reproduction and metabolism and cause cancer, thyroid problems and nervous-system disorders. In the last five years, however, a new wave of endocrinology research has found that even extremely low doses of such chemicals can create significant health problems. Among the Madrid scientists’ recommendations: ‘‘Enact legislation to require only essential uses of PFASs’’ and ‘‘Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick.’’

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The Adventures of Science Mom: Volcanoes

I am a big believer in paying attention to what your child expresses interest in and then teaching him or her around that concept in as many ways as possible. Over the summer my family did a road trip through the desert, and my daugher was captivated by all the dormant volcanoes and the evidence of their eruptions. I’ve taken this interest and been diving deep with it through books and YouTube videos about volcanoes, and through tactile experiences such as the one pictured below.

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What you see below is the second volcanoe she has made.  The first version of this activity was generated by a science kit I had purchased where they included a playdough like modeling medium to work with, however, that material did not hold up well. All of the exposure to liquids caused it to melt apart. So I gave my child a small slab of regular clay which she played with for a few hours and then finally shaped into a volcano shape. I then gave her white glue that I had colored with green paint and she painted the volcano and then we let it air  dry in the sun for a few days. The glue helps to waterproof the clay.

The  key to this part of the activity is to help your young one think about how the shape of the volcano will affect the way the “lava” oozes out of it. You want the “cavity” portion of your volcano to be about an inch deep and  about an inch across. This will allow you to put in enough material for an  interesting chemical reaction to take place and not get lost in a deep hole. Then give your child a small quantity of yeast and baking soda (I reuse the small containers that come with herbal supplements for this purpose) and a few ounces of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in squirt bottles. I have my daugher wear protective goggles when she does science experiments. These are the ones I have and they are FANTASTIC! Make sure to place all the materials in some sort of tray to catch all the liquid. You can also add some red watercolor to the liquids to give your lava a red hue!

With a small spoon have your child put a small amount of baking soda in the volcano and then add a little bit of vinegar. Watch what happens. Rinse out the volcano and have them do the same thing with the yearst and hydrogen peroxide.  The two difference chemical reactions are very different. After the experiment I had my daughter do drawings of the two reactions and explain to me in words how they were similar and different.

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It’s a really fun way to spend a few hours, and the best part is you can repeat it! Repitition is such an important part of learning.  Just because you might not want to do the activity again, doesn’t mean your child won’t want to! Have fun and be a spark in the world!

Halloween Candy Science Experiments

Just in time for Halloween, TIME magazine posted this not quite NEW news item

So if you are like me and only let your child eat a few pieces of candy, here are some websites with SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS you can do with candy!!

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