We live with a tiny chemist

E’s interest in chemistry started before Christmas (2017). No, I’m wrong… before her 5th birthday… no wait… maybe when she was born…

E. is a child with extreme interest in sciences: maths, astronomy, biology, geography and now chemistry.

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Her interest in chemistry started with the Periodic Table song by ASAP Science. She watched it so much (in MArch-April 2017) that she almost learnt it by heart. It was at that time when we found a 6-year old girl’s performance at a talent show. Julia Baker could sing the periodic table song’s slowed down version. before E.’s 5th birthday E. could sing it at its original speed. She never let me record it, though. I’m sure she’ll regret it when she’s older.

She kept writing the atomic symbols everywhere.

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In 2017 springtime we did some experiments that E. enjoyed a lot:

  • naked bouncy egg (We placed a raw chicken egg into vinegar and waited – almost 24 hours – until the shell was dissolved. The acetic acid – vinegar – reacts with the calcium carbonate – eggshell – and releases carbon dioxide gas – bubbles in the picture. The egg’s fine membrane under the shell keeps the egg together. We could bounce the egg over a tray until the membrane broke.)
  • soap cloud (We placed a bar of soap into the micro for few minutes. When the soap is heated, the soap’s molecules of air move quickly and they move far away from each other. This causes the soap to puff up and expand to an enormous size. The brand BABA didn’t prove very airy inside. Ivory soap is suggested online but it’s not available in Hungary. Still, E. had fun playing with the soap cloud.

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  • lava lamp (Add coloured water in a tall glass, add the same amount of oil on top and drop an Aspirin effervescent tablet in it and watch your home-made lava lamp. Water and oil do not mix because the molecules in water are packed densely and in oil they don’t. Another reason is intermolecular polarity but I really do not want go into it in more detail. When the fizzy tablet sinks down to the water level and starts to create gas, the gas bubbles take some coloured water with them to the surface.)

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After these experiments her fascination faded away and we thought she was not interested in experiments or chemistry any more. We were wrong.

Not much before Christmas 2017 she rediscovered the periodic table song and this fantastic periodic table visual, which represents the use of each element. (On the link you’ll find the interactive online version of it, but you can print your own copy).

Sometimes she was just lying on the floor examining the printed sheet and singing the periodic table song to herself. Then she was walking around our flat “collecting elements” like kitchen foil (aluminium), toothpaste (fluorine) or batteries (lithium) to mention a few.

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For Christmas she got all the elements on separate cards (you can find many different versions of the periodic table on the link).

She stated that the best Christmas present was the element cards. She checked out all the presents then sat down to put the element cards as they follow each other in the periodic table.

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Another Christmas presents were Java and Babylon builders. And what did E. build from them? Molecules. What else? Her favourite was the methane. (I can’t believe I didn’t take a proper photo…)

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2018 January – the craze was still on. We had to borrow a book from my Mum that E. found at her place while we were celebrating grandma’s birthday.
A tudomány csodái: Az Anyag (Ralph E. Lapp)

The first part of this book contains the pictures and description of the chemical elements.

Chemistry was so much in focus that she made a memory game with some elements on it, and drew atoms all the time. The shocking thing was that she also drew the right number of electrons on the right electron shells.

2018 february – Carnival time came and E. wanted to dress up as something that is chemistry/element related. As we were browsing the net for ideas, she saw some ladies dressed in yellow with the radioactive sign on their top. That was it! She decided to dress up as plutonium, which wasn’t too difficult to make. I bought a yellow top and leggings in her size and had plutonium from the periodic table printed in the front and the radioactive sign onto the back. She made a radioactive mask for herself. “And… then we’re….. done.”

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Since the carnival her fascination with elements and chemistry has faded away, but it is absolutely sure it’ll come back sooner or later.

To finish this long post I’d like to recommend 2 books on chemistry for kids:

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Baby Loves Quarks is a simple board book but it has all the basics a kid needs to know about quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons. The illustrations a really cute – atoms have a smiley face. E. loved it.

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This lift the flap Periodic Table book by Usborne is fascinating. There are many interesting facts and so much information about the periodic table and the elements in a fun way.

 

 

 

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