Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li
liralen

Science, Spinning, and Postcards

Had a pretty jam-packed science setup today, with an experiment where the kids got to figure out the setup and they got to figure out what prediction really means with some data to start with. It was really fun to introduce the concepts of why standard approaches are necessary and what kinds of things make them good.



I'll admit that I learned something, which kind of startled me. *laughs* And it was that magnets don't actually stick to anything but other magnets, and that, basically, the magnetic field in a magnet can turn a piece of iron into a magnet, which is why they stick together. *laughs* You'd think an electrical engineer would KNOW that! But I had no clue, so this was really fun; and kind of triggered me going back and reading Feynman's Six Easy Pieces.

The experiment itself was for the kids to try and figure out how big the force of magnetism is in comparison to gravity. They were given a balance, two cups, a magnet, a magnet on a stick that could go under one of the cups in the balance, and 20 washers. And they were told to figure out what they wanted to do to measure the force of attraction between the two magnets.

I think that the coolest thing was having them come up with their own ideas for how to go about it, and how excited they were when they all pretty much came up with the same setup. *laughs* And one of the boys who has trouble sitting still or doing his best to make people angry about the risks he takes, actually came up with the best questions about what might make the experimental results *different* between the different groups and how to mitigate those problems.

That was really fun.

Exhausting... but fun. *laughs*

Especially so when I started my day with a bike ride. My eyes were bugging me even through the drops and maybe that should have been a good warning, but for the first time in years and years, I actually had an asthma attack due to exercise. My emergency inhaler was readily available, so no problems, but it was startling to have to go back to *those* basics.

John said that part of the problem is that the flu is going around here, and really laying people out. We got our flu shots in the fall, which is why we're probably fighting it off really well, but it's still tough going even with an immune system that knows what to do. I halfway wonder if my immune system is going crazy because of that.

My art mentor arrived in the afternoon with paintings in order to make a postcard for one of her coming shows. And we found several inexpensive printers, got a template, and got going with it. There are moments when I do wish I'd shelled out the money for photoshop. *laughs* But we managed to get it together after a couple of hours and talking through a lot of things.

Jet's Experiment
Then Jet got home, and he'd dyed wool with me yesterday (in between Wii and Kirby's Epic Yarn, Chinese calligraphy, getting together the artist's application, spinning the last of my Twilight yarn, Odyssey of the Mind, and the usual plethora of stuff) on the kitchen table. He had a very specific experiment, to put primary and secondary colors on each piece of wool and to try and line up warm and cold colors.

They all mixed a little more than he liked, but they're certainly vivid, and today he sat on the floor to do his homework so he could give me my spinning spot in the afternoon/evening. That was cool, and I got to really spin a good deal. Jet wants to make stuffies with the resulting yarn, as he thinks he'll like the colors. Huh... just remembered that *right* after school, Jet asked me to go to Hobby Lobby with him to buy wax as he wanted to make a candle. He had his allowance and birthday money still, and one of his cousins had given him waxed wick as a present.

So we went there, and found this wax sand-like stuff, that you can just pour into a container with a wick in the middle and it makes a candle. MUCH neater and easier than all the times I did candle-making as a kid with all the melted wax, candle molds, wicks that were never well waxed enough to really stick inside the candle, and colors from crayons that didn't actually burn. *laughs* All we did was set up a wick on a stand, pour in the sand, and light. He had the candle flame for his homework and loved it.

John made slow-smoked pork ribs, took most of the afternoon and we all smelled like apple wood smoke by dinner time. *laughs* They were fall off the bone tender, and with the leftover cabbage salad from last night, we had a fine feast.

It was fun spending the evening with Jet's homework and spinning, and then a little Sponge Bob before the hot tub and time to finally unwind with demented_dee for a little before finally getting to write this. *laughs*
Tags: life
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