Friday, September 10, 2010

Why Do My Science Experiments Hardly Ever Work?

Seriously. I'd like to know. Ok, I've had the occasional experiment/demonstration work out. But more often than my boys would say, "FAIL."

Today, in the interest of learning how ancient civilizations measured the passing of time, we tried to make a Greek/Roman water clock. The directions and illustration that Oak Meadow gave me looked so simple. I thought, "Now here's an experiment I can't screw up." We just needed to punch some holes in some cans (we substituted cups, as suggested in another book we have), set them on a ladder, pour the water in the top cup and start timing.

We were excited. Thing 4 poured the water in the top cup.

Thing 3 was manning the stop watch. We watched. Water started shooting out of the hole in the top cup just like it was supposed to do. At this point, for some reason unknown to me, Thing 4 excitedly shouted, "Look! The baby is peeing!"

Then, as quickly as it started, it stopped. Well, it didn't stop exactly. It just slowed to a sad trickle. Instead of shooting into the cup below, the water just dribbled down the bottom of the top cup and landed on the floor.

Those poor Romans and Greeks. What a lame excuse for a clock.

Thing 3 accurately noted, "That is quite possibly the worst science experiment we've ever done." And let me tell you, given our track record with science experiments, that's saying a lot.


  1. Oh, that is cracking me up! I looked at that one and immediately dismissed it. Given our track record, I saw failure written all over it. You're just too optimistic.

    Our science experiment for the week was freezing water. Finally one that we didn't mess up. Really, my dog could freeze water.

    I love your kiddos comments, by the way. Too funny!

  2. Good question. I remember them not working a lot in college too, and that was supposedly a highly controlled environment, and our grades depended on it - so frustrating!

  3. Did you poke the hole from the inside to the out or the outside to the inside? If it was the later then that might be your problem as the water flow could have caused the plastic to recover the hole. Try taking whatever you are using to poke the hole and place it inside the cup and make the hole to outwards and see if it works that way. Good luck!

  4. I'm the SAME way!!!!!! I loved your attempt though - very inspiring!!!!

    When we do one, I'll let you know. Right now most of the experiments (vs study) are happening in our Co-op, and I'm not present for her "class" to see them.

    Great job though!



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