very small rocks

January 30, 2009

Do you know what floats? I mean besides a duck?

Not very small rocks. And, turns out, not paper clips.

Holden (10) is working on his science project for the 5th grade science fair. This is not optional, and so we treat this stuff like Masters students treat their thesis–as something to get the hell done.

Holden hypothesizes that objects float “better” in salt water than in regular tap water. To test this out, he filled two cups with water, added a ton of table salt to one of the cups and stirred it up, and then started looking around for stuff to float.

“Hey, how about paper clips!” he exclaimed.

Kim, who was at the kitchen table, and I tried very hard to restrain ourselves. We succeeded insofar as we only smiled, very broadly.

“What?” demanded Holden.

“Um. Nuthin. Do we have any paperclips?”

“WHAT?” he demanded again.

Ignoring him, I opened the junk drawer and fished out a couple paper clips.

“Try these.”

He did.

holden puts paper clip in

Turns out, like very small rocks, paper clips don’t float.

paper clip doesn't float

But other stuff does:

holden comtemplates the experiment

Holden knew something was up. When I started taking pictures he said “Hey! Don’t put me on your blog!”

After I explained to him that my blog has entries where I confess to pooping my pants, he decided this wasn’t so bad.

Which, of course, is totally true.

14 Responses to “very small rocks”

  1. Jeff Says:

    He should try an egg, and then a hard-boiled egg.

    …and then a WITCH! Because, you know, they’re made of wood…

  2. bikemike Says:

    did he try to see what kind of poop floats? you know, dog vs. human vs. cat vs. chupacabra.

  3. mark Says:

    Bridges also float.

  4. mark Says:

    BTW, I don’t float either. As a kid, we went to the Great Salt Lake, which, as everyone in Utah knows, is the easiest place in the world (besides the Dead Sea) to float. I couldn’t float. At least not without kicking and paddling. My dad thought something was wrong with me and for a while I thought he was going to leave me there he was so disgusted. And that would have been just icky, what with all the brine shrimp and all.

  5. andy Says:

    a witch!

    burn her!

    /monty python reference.

  6. KanyonKris Says:

    I’m a little surprised the paper clips didn’t float. The surface tension of water can hold a bit of weight, if you place the object carefully. Here’s how to do it:

    http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/paperclip.php

    Dang, I shouldn’t have revealed that – I could have won some money off you in a bet.

  7. KanyonKris Says:

    Our 5th grade daughter had her science fair today. It was fun working with her on it, but I’m glad it’s over – I’m more sleep deprived than normal.

  8. bikemike Says:

    science projects are the worse, unless your kid aspires to be Carl Sagan or Bill Gates, or, write the next Star Trek saga.

  9. Rob Says:

    The cover art for “The Lemonheads – Car Button Cloth, All of These Things Sank” was from an old school science project that Evan Dando did when he was a kid.

    Does Holden have a knack for singing dozens of catchy songs from the same 4 chords and attract all the ladies?

    http://www.amazon.com/Car-Button-Cloth/dp/B00123BANK

  10. forgingahead Says:

    But of course your son has the same fascination with poop…must run in the family 🙂

  11. Mocougfan Says:

    Nice experiment Capernicus.

  12. Chad Says:

    so… if… she…. weighs the same as a duck…

    … shes made of wood. -and therefore?

    A WITCH!

  13. Erinb Says:

    I get to do my Science Fair project next week. I mean, I get to help Brook with her Science Fair project next week. Same thing.

  14. Bob B. Says:

    Those paper clips must be made of grape gravy.


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