So why wasn’t I proud when my 12 year-old employed scientific method on his own to figure out a new way to pop popcorn?
You judge. (His thoughts in green, mine in red, for obvious reasons.)
Step 1: Define the problem:
Son’s thoughts: I wonder…
Mom’s thoughts: I’m pretty sure he skipped this one. The popcorn popper does an excellent job at popping popcorn.
Step 2: Develop a hypothesis and explain your reasoning:
Son’s thoughts: If things heat better under pressure, I can pop popcorn in the toaster oven by putting the kernels under pressure.
Mom’s thoughts: I’ll give him this one. The hypothesis was reasonable.
Step 3: Design your experiment:
Son’s thoughts: I’ll put some popcorn kernels in mom’s soup thermos and tighten the lid. I’ll then put the thermos in the toaster oven see if they pop.
Mom’s thoughts, had she had an opportunity to voice them: Nooooooooooooo! What is the soup thermos made of? Yes, there’s some metal. What else? What happens to rubber and plastic when it’s heated? How much did the soup thermos cost? ARGHHHH. That soup thermos cost $20.
Son’s thoughts: Ok, it’s heating. Hmmm. It’s starting to smell funny. I’ll go watch TV until the oven goes ding… What? Smoke alarm? What’s that smell? Uh-oh. Mom’s going to notice the smoke alarm going off. (Peeking in the toaster oven) This looks very bad. I’m very screwed.
Mom’s thoughts: What’s on fire? What’s that smell? Naaaatttttttteeeee! My toaster oven! My thermos! My newly renovated smoke covered stinky kitchen!
Step 5: Publish & Explain your Conclusions.
Son: Methodology needs some tweaking, but when it all cooled down, I saw one kernel popped. Hypothesis confirmed.
Cost of experiment
- $70 for replacing toaster oven and thermos
- Had to clean everything up and get dragged to Kohl’s to get new stuff
- Being right even though I’m in trouble—$ priceless
Mom’s thoughts: [not printable]
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© Laura Hedgecock 2013