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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Science 101 - How To Make A Geyser

If you want an entertaining and educational activity to share with your child, teach her about geysers. This is a simple lesson that you can teach in just a few minutes. All you need is a bathtub full of water, an empty shampoo bottle that is soft enough to squeeze (lid removed), and a willing child.

For this activity, you should be willing to get wet, as you will likely be the victim of some misdirected splashing.

It is always best, when teaching such a lesson, that you start before you get near the water by explaining to your child what a geyser looks like. You can do this by way of a simple Internet search or by referring to one of the current popular children's' movies. Ice Age, The Meltdown actually has a scene in it where Manny runs through a series of exploding geysers. If you show this movie to your child, or just this section, and tell her that she gets to learn how to make one then you will have created instant interest.

Once you get to the water with the necessary supplies, I recommend that you also use this lesson to trick your child into taking a bath. This is especially useful for those parents who have a child that despises bath time. After all, this works much better if your child is already naked. That way you avoid soaked clothing and having to extract a squirmy child from super clingy, wet clothes.

After your child is submersed in the water, take the shampoo bottle and hold it in the water without submerging the opening of the bottle. Tell your child that you are going to submerge the bottle before you do. After the bottle is full of water, tell your child that you are going to create a geyser. Squeeze the sides of the bottle while still under water in a manner that will cause the water to shoot up out of the tub. Younger children will find this to be hilarious, while older kids will likely be intrigued and want more information.

Now that you have demonstrated the creation of a geyser, fill the bottle with water again and then hold it above the water so your child can see what you are doing. Explain to your child that pressure is what causes the water to be forced out of the shampoo bottle, creating a geyser. Then show your child how you create the pressure by slowly squeezing the shampoo bottle and making the water come out of the top of the bottle. After you have done this slowly the first time, explain that when pressure is harder, then the geyser goes higher. You will be required to demonstrate the higher geyser, as well.

When you have finished explaining and demonstrating how geysers are formed, your child is most likely going to want to produce a geyser or two million herself. Here is where that misdirected splashing comes to play. See, once your child masters the creation of the upward moving geyser, she is going to begin to experiment with pressure and force as it is applied to a full bottle of water. She will probably start by aiming the bottle at the bathtub wall. When that skill is mastered, she will begin to see you as a genuinely wonderful target for pressure exertion practice. You WILL get wet. Your child has far better aim than you could ever imagine, and a side-aimed geyser goes much farther than an upward-aimed geyser.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, this project is not for those with an inability to cope with the wild abandon of a child who has just been shown how to create the perfect weapon, ahem - I mean GEYSER.

2 comments:

Kristin.... said...

Thanks for stopping by! I will definitely work on the coffee/soda IV today. If I can get my kids to nap. So maybe not today.

Vickie Jo said...

Thanks so much for the comment. Your site is wonderful!