Science for Monkeys: A Balloon Getting Bigger

Science is pretty stupid when you are trying to teach it to 7 year olds. Or at least, it is at our school. Or at least, it was today.  In theory, it was a good experiment. In theory.
 
The booklet that comes with the science boxes is both retarded and hilarious. What it isn’t, unfortunately for the art majors (ahem!), is helpful.
 
Purpose of the experiment:
 
The goal of the experiment is for children to observe what happens when the push and pull on the plunger of a syringe with a balloon in it. Children are not expected to understand the relationship between pressure and the size of the balloon, but children should be able to observe little differences when they push and pull on the plunger.
 
In other words, don’t explain what is going on. Just tell them that it is "magic". They understand that.
 
Necissary equipment:
 
syringe
balloon
 
Tip: Know the name of each material.
 
Thanks, Captain Tips.
 
Further down the page under the section "Hint", were these handy tibits of information:
 
1. The teacher should first collect all needles that are inside the package before distibuting them to children.
2. These syringes are for medical use, and they have never been used, which is why they contain needles. So, the teacher should collect them and discard them properly before experiment.
 
Yikes! Fortunately, our syringes didn’t come with needles. But the idea that maybe they used to send these science boxes out with FREAKING NEEDLES in them for use by seven year olds makes me feel a little harfy.
 
Let’s think about it:
 
1. What happens to the balloon when you push the plunge?  It gets smaller.
2. What happens to the balloon when you pull the plunge?  It gets smaller.
3. Think of other fun things to do.
 
Even I, with my university degree in retardology, realized that something different should happen when you push or pull the plunger.  As for number 3, "other fun things" turned out to be "playtime" where the kids screwed around with their syringes and balloons.
 
Results:
 
I won’t type all of it out, but here was the best part:
 
…this is due to high and low air pressure, which may be too difficult for children to understand.
 
Ummmm… yes. You think so?  Ridiculously enough, this was a pretty decent science, as far as science goes. And no one cried, so I consider it a successful science as well.
 
The best thing about today’s science is it reminded me that a good portion of my job is entertainment. By the time I had blown up and tied the last balloon, I felt like I had my "Clown-at-a-birthday-party" routine down pat. The kids thought I was a riot. At least this means they will forgive me for the solid hour and a half of book work that we did that morning.
 
The other thing that was a result of today’s science: it reminded me that I have been semi-delayed my entire life. Here’s a story that even my moms won’t believe that I remember.  It has to do with balloons. And that sometimes your favourite things will let you down.
 
When I was young, my favourite colour was green. Correction: until my third or fourth birthday (that part I don’t remember), my favourite colour was green. I know that I was more than two, because my brother Brian was born. And I was less than five, because we were still living in Delta. And I know that it was my birthday, because there were balloons involved. I’m sure my moms will remember the balloon happy face on the fake-wood-panelling wall (it was the 70’s still people!). Anyhoo, my brother and I didn’t want to wait until the party the next day to have a balloon, so we were allowed to have one balloon each a day early.  I was asked what colour I wanted. I, of course, picked green (being my favourite).  And the balloon was blown-up to it’s full balloony-goodness. My brother then picked blue. And when his balloon was blown up… it was TWICE the size of mine!  I was SO pissed off! And I wasn’t allowed to have another balloon (with good reason, the next day I would get ALL the birthday balloons)… so I pitched a hissy fit. And since that day… I haven’t felt the same about the colour green. I don’t hate it anymore, per se, but I don’t favour it. That’s for sure.  Told ya… delayed.
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