Forensic Fridays: The Spawnlings Are Taking Over

I know, I know.

Forensic Fridays took a weeeeeee holiday of late.

However, they are starting up again. And mostly because of Sinister (now 9yo).

We have returned to school (in fact, we are Week 3, I think), and already the EG-spawnling has received a rather hefty assignment (more on his education at a later date).

A lot of his assignments have experiments or ‘project’ elements to them. For example, the first one he will share is to build his own terrarium based on the concept of a biosphere.

Sinister is not the only one in full-on project mode. Nefarious has his own obsession happening: He wants to build a Lego Empire State Building. We’re not talking some little bunch of bricks in the shape of the Empire State Building either.

We’re talking research the dimensions of the Empire State Building; calculate the ratio to a workable size with Lego; calculate the number of Lego pieces required; understand the structural support required with the size; etc, etc.

And yes. We will share that one too.

So Forensic Fridays are about to start up again, in a full intensive manner – as becoming of EG Inc.

I love my little spawnlings, but they keep me on my toes.

There are going to be some new sub-headings with the Forensic Fridays for the spawnlings to share. Starting with Sinister tomorrow.

 

Forensic Friday #8 – Density Matters

A couple of days ago, Nefarious had lined up Zaltu’s Batman toys.

“Originally, I had them lined up in size. But then this one was smaller but heavier. So I thought to go with something different and do them by weight instead.”

Great opportunity for a lesson in density. Not only will the spawnlings understand a basic scientific concept, but it will help them understanding other minions in the world – like politicians.

Today’s Forensic Friday is a man down; Sinister abandoned us for a day of Minecraft looting with a friend. So let’s make it 6yo (first grade) friendly.

What is Density?

Density is a measurement of how solid something is. If you have two objects of the same size, the more dense object will weigh more than the less dense object. This is because of two things:

  1. The mass of the atoms that make up the object;
  2. The amount of space the object takes up. If the atoms are packed in tightly, it will be denser. I used the example of a ‘dense forest’ and whether you could move easily between the trees. Another example you could use is whether that particular minion has enough space in their brain for ‘free thought’ to flow through – or if they are ‘dense’. We’ve had a few examples of this recently, but I didn’t want to distract Nefarious too much.

The next step to take is to look at the relationship between density and buoyancy. We’re going to come back to this when Sinister comes home because he is really into Marine Biology and this is a core concept to remember when diving. Basically, a less dense substance will float on a more dense substance. A good experiment is the Layer Effect:

Ingredients / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

Ingredients / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

What You Will Need:

  • Oil
  • Water
  • Honey or Golden Syrup (Honey is better to see through, but we were out of honey today)
  • Cork or Styrofoam
  • Grape or Blueberry or Strawberry or something similar
  • Small coin
  • Clear bottle

What You Do:

  1. Fill your bottle one third with honey;
  2. Pour the next third full with oil
  3. Fill the remaining third with water. Allow the liquids to settle before the next step.

    Pouring the Liquids / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

    Pouring the Liquids / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

  4. Take a minute to explain to your spawnlings about the separation of liquids here. Honey/Golden Syrup is really dense, so it will sink to the bottom. Water is not as dense as the syrup but it is definitely more so than the oil. Fortunately, oil and water don’t mix, so they will separate with the oil resting lightly on top.
  5. Let’s just stop for a moment and do a bit of hypothesising. Science ain’t science without a hypothesis, a method, and a written report afterwards. Otherwise, it’s just messing around with stuff. Ask your spawnlings what they think will happen to the next three items: the coin; the fruit; the styrofoam or cork.
  6. Now, drop the coin in the bottle. The coin will drop all the way to the bottom, even through the honey. Thank you, my dense little 10c and 5c pieces.
  7. Next drop the grape or blueberry in (blueberry for us – Zaltu was pigging out on the grapes while Nefarious and I set up the experiment). This one should rest somewhere around the middle.
  8. Finally, the cork or styrofoam. Being REALLY LIGHT, it should rest easily on the top.
Liquid Density / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

Liquid Density / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

And there you go folks! A lovely little lesson in density. When Sinister and EG Dad come home, we might take it the next step and look at buoyancy from a scuba diving point of view. Since I’m asthmatic, I have never been diving so wouldn’t know WTH I’d be talking about. 😛

My Budding Scientists / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

My Budding Scientists / Photo by Evil Genius Mum

Forensic Friday #7 – Archaeology

Life skills. It’s all about the life skills.

And with spawnlings, it’s all about how you SELL those life skills.

Today, let’s focus on cleaning.

*that choking, warbling sound you may hear in the background is EG Dad as he cracks up laughing, then stumbles across the EG Lair, stepping on the many carefully placed Lego mines before collapsing in a fit of disbelief, mumbling “reality has finally imploded”*

Obviously, cleaning is not an easy life skill to sell to spawnlings … until now. 😀

Introducing Archaeology 101 – Toddler edition

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Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery – Zaltu’s 2nd favourite cosplay

Even if you are new here, surely the moustached lady would indicate to you how much we like to cosplay.

Either that, or I’m Maltese. Which I am – about 1/4. But I digress.

So it should come as no surprise that the spawnlings love to dress up, almost every chance they can. Zaltu (the 2yo) is currently enamoured with Curious George. Loves the monkey – loves the mischief. Good fit really. Her current favourite is Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery.

For today’s Forensic Friday (because I really want to get back into this particular theme), I decided to give Zaltu her own mini Dino Dig Site. Problem being, I don’t have any real sand or dirt to use. And she has her 2yo-molars playing around, so we still have a “mouth-obsession” thing going on.

While I was thinking around the supplies in the Lair, Zaltu decided she wanted to bake a cake… and pulled out one of the bags of flour. All over the kitchen floor. Followed by a toppled bottle of Canola Oil.

Now, clearly I am a bad blogger. I cleaned up the mess before realising the photo opportunity. BUT as I was cleaning up the mess (*yes, EG Dad is still giggling about me cleaning*) I noticed the change to the flour.

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When the oil and flour mixed to together, it didn’t clump disastrously. It sort of smoothed the flour a bit. Like a silky coating. So I mixed some in a container. And added a little powdered colouring (the colouring you would use for chocolates or other oily based things).

And look at that! I made some lovely soft “sandy” flour!

Next step, adding a few dinosaurs in. Then, give it another shake around to cover the dinosaurs and we have our own mini dinosaur dig.

Before you go “that’s not very forensic”, you need to realise it doesn’t stop there. In fact, all of this is preparation work. Any true EG Parent or Mad Scientist (or both, if you’re really special) will tell you the hardest work is in the preparation.IMG_8193[1]

And any archaeologist will tell you their job is 90% cleaning up, 8% saying “I think I found something!!” and about 2% being something worth finding.

“Oh , well,” the scientist said. “It’s not a bone. Just a rock.”

The lesson that comes out of this little Dino Dig Set is to teach the spawnlings about the attention to detail required in this area of science (being both archaeology and paleontology). It involves: digging; sifting; brushing; cleaning; analysing; cataloging. It is a painstaking process and can be quite boring for a long period of time. But when you DO find something, it is amazing, exhilarating, and down-right awesome.

IMG_8189[1]With a few extra pieces of equipment (like a brush, mini-scoop and a notebook filled with dinosaur stickers to tick off her finds), Zaltu has already started learning about this process. At the same time, she has been learning the life skills of cleaning every nook and cranny of her dinosaurs. She has been loving the cosplay of this particular book. We even catalogued the dinosaurs she found.

Now I’m just waiting for Nefarious and Sinister to come home and tell me off for putting Jurassic dinosaurs (like Stegosaurus) with Cretaceous dinosaurs (like Triceratops). That’s fine – this is where the Paleontology is going to kick in. Way to give yourself more work, spawnlings.

All in all, I was able to clean up a mess, start my “Forensic Friday” posts again, give Zaltu a lesson in how to work a dig-site/crime scene AND teach her how to clean up.

I think I’ll go and eat some chocolate now.

Ingredient List

  • About 4 cups of flour (I used Self-Raising Flour because it was spilt over the floor at the time, but any flour will do. I don’t think the SR Flour will create zombie dinosaurs, but one can hope)
  • About 1/2 cup of oil
  • About teaspoon of powdered colouring
  • Small dinosaur toys to bury

Mix it together. Really well. That’s it.