Thursday, December 2, 2010
What is more fun in Science than doing experiments?! It just makes learning more fun and we've found that it helps increase learning if it is something fun. Recently, Shawna and Elise have been learning about bases, acids, neutralizers, physical and chemical reactions and such. This year I'd purchased some Science experiment books for the girls utilizing foods and/or common household ingredients since we just don't have access to many of the regular chemicals like you get in the states for Science experiments. Since the funnest part of Science is doing experiments, I didn't want the girls to miss out on that. I'd looked into getting some experiment kits that go with their curriculum but it was quite expensive and we wondered if we'd have trouble getting such things through customs anyway. So I thought these books would be a great alternative. While we can't get everything here, there are many things we can get.
Take ammonia for example. It is a common ingredient in the states and I just assumed we would be able to get it at the grocery store along with all the other cleaning ingredients. Many times they may have an English name as well as all the Chinese writing on the outside. After not being able to locate it properly and assuming that I just couldn't find it in English, I looked up the word in my translator. Memorizing the tones and then saying it several times to the store clerk who just kept saying "what?" and repeating what I was saying, I knew I was saying the tones properly, but she obviously wasn't getting it so I then showed it to her on my translator in Chinese. Still puzzled, she asked "What is it used for?" I said to clean the floor and stuff (since I didn't know how to say I wanted to use it for a Science experiment), she then proceeded to show me other things I could use to clean my floor. Ha! I had to just politely say, sorry, I wanted the other. I'm sure she probably thought I was just being picky and figured some of these other items would clean my floor just as nicely:)
Who would have thought something so common would be that difficult to get here?!! Then again, so are soooo many other things like cheese and butter and many more things! Although I'd never tried to buy ammonia here before, now I know--you can't get ammonia here--at least not in the village! Learn something new everyday!
They had fun doing their experiments, but I must admit I got a bit concerned when Elise asked me "How do they make an explosive?!" I told her "Sorry, you aren't going to make an explosive!! I don't know how and you don't need to know either!" I mean, I'm all for one having fun with Science, but explosives--well, that's a different story! That's one Science experiment we aren't doing! Although it might be fun outdoors, but sounds a bit dangerous to me! Besides, what do you think the neighbors would say if we blew up the sidewalk or something?!! I can just hear it now "The foreigners are out there blowin' up the sidewalk!! What the heck are they doing?! We should call the authorities!" Ha!! I could just see it now!! Seems unwise to go messin' in things you know nothin' about! I think we'll just leave that one to the experts!!