My husband and six-year-old son were horrified. They couldn’t understand how I could justify the use of a gummy worm for a purpose outside of delighting the taste buds and meeting the demands of a sweet tooth. As they huddled around me to make sure I only took one precious gummy worm from the bag, I tried to tell them it was a sacrifice for science. Our aim was to explore and understand the many types of body coverings that animals have and how they differ from our own body covering. I explained to my son how the smooth bendable texture of the candy resembles its life-like counterpart, the worm, as well as some amphibians such as salamanders. We glued our carefully selected specimen on an index card. Horror soon turned to giggles as he gingerly applied the glue and began placing sequins all over the body. Googly eyes completed the process, making a very cute snake.
Next, we searched the pantry and craft drawer for other items we could use to make the body coverings of other types of animals. My son applied sequins to recreate scales on a picture of a fish. Using macaroni, he made the hard shell on a picture of a turtle. We applied feathers to a picture of a bird. We also went to the kitchen sink and used a spare feather to demonstrate how the oil on feathers repels water. For some strange reason I didn’t have any fake fur just lying around for a craft, go figure, but slightly stretched cotton balls slightly make a very believable polar bear. We also touched the inside of his jacket that has material fabricated to resemble sheep’s wool.
Children LOVE to explore the world they live in. They also love to compare themselves with the information they discover. The fur of a dog is similar to the hair on our heads, which serves the same purpose, to keep us warm. The nails on our fingers are hard like the outer covering of some bugs. Our nails serve the same purpose, protection for a softer body part. Awakening all of children’s senses by experiencing the taste, texture, sight, sound and/or smell of something provides a more rounded understanding of the how and why of their discovery.
After seeing the gummy worm turned snake and the pride in his son’s face at displaying his creation and knowledge, my husband totally agreed it was worth the sacrifice. If you haven’t tried simple science projects with your child, I encourage you to do so!
Have you done any fun science crafts? We would love to hear about them! Sacrifice some food or other household item for science and tell us about it.
- posted by Miss Jesikah, who absolutely loves science and watching the world unfold through a child’s eyes.