Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Science Lesson #62: Birdseed won't grow into a bird

Driving home at sunset a few weeks ago, Katie asked where the sun goes when it sets. Given Katie's history for asking a million follow-up questions and taking things as gospel, we don't usually give her completely made-up answers and instead try to give real answers at her level. This one was beyond simple explanation and required props so we promised a demonstration in a few days.

Yesterday we had a balloon and a flashlight handy so I asked if she still wanted to know. I grabbed some post-it notes and slapped a few around the balloon labeled with countries and the North America one labeled with New York, Ohio, St Louis, Colorado, and California ("That's where Dylan lives!" she cried). Then she held the flashlight steady while I slowly turned the balloon and we talked about how it was sunny in China and what was it like in NY? (Dark dark dark) And then, ooooh, China got dark but look, it's just starting to get daytime in NY....OH....STL...CO...CA.... and there goes the sun, getting darker in NY...OH...STL...CO...CA.... She really seemed to get it. We talked more--when she asked--about identifying east and west if we know where the sun is in the sky and the time of day. All around a great science chat led by her questions and kept right at her level.

Later that day we were out filling the bird feeders and I was pulling a few weeds from the flower garden. Katie came over with some spilled bird feed--a corn kernel--and asked to plant it.

"Sure, do you think it'll grow into a corn plant?" I asked.

"....maybe...." she answered, her brain clearly firing away with something. She ran back to the bird seed and returned with a tiny gray seed.

"I'm going to plant this one and it'll grow into a gray bird!" she announced proudly.

"yea? Do birds grow from seeds in the dirt?" I asked casually, knowing she knows all about bird eggs in nests.

"Oh...No..... But! I think that this will grow into just a gray feather," she decided and I just smiled.

All in good time.


  1. Don't you love the logic of their little minds!

    PS Someone was calling me the other day from your cellphone and I'm guessing it wasn't you! =)

  2. Oops! Sorry Shelly. When I dropped my old phone and shattered the face plate it apparently started making a lot of secret calls. Rob's dad called me back at one point and alerted me to it so I turned it off after that...didn't know it got you, too! I hope it wasn't in the middle of the night or something.

  3. I was at work and surprised you were calling me. I thought maybe you were in town for a meeting or something. Anyway. There weren't really any voices just sort of muffled banging. I just thought one of the kids started dialing for you. Hope your new phone is behaving for you and that you had your numbers backed up somewhere. Speaking of which, I need to sync my phone soon... =)

  4. I love your sun demo- you guys are such cool parents!