…you lose some.

You remember that phrase, “You win some, you lose some?” Well, I will refer you back to the title of this post.

Science is usually where I fall short. Not that I don’t love it, and not that my curriculum isn’t awesome, but sometimes I just make mistakes and our experiments don’t go as planned. (This may have something to do with the fact that I have a tendency to gloss over instructions when I’m in a hurry and/or that I have a hard time measuring things precisely. I’m also a horrible cook for the same reasons.)

Lately we have been talking about floating and all the things that have to be just right for something to float. We’ve talked about mass, volume, density, weight, and just yesterday the volume of water displaced. The idea was to show that despite the weight of an object, if  the weight of the water displaced is heavier than the weight of the object, then that object will float. Therefore, shape does affect whether something will float or not.

We started by using the same amount of clay to make 4 different shapes – a ball and three others of the kid’s choosing. This showed that despite the change in shape, the mass was still the same. We had prepared a few cups of water, water line already marked, and then smooshed our clay back into balls and plopped them into the cups marking the new water line as well.


So far so good. A ball of now slimy smooshy clay does indeed displace water. Check!


The problem arose when we tried to make canoes and then rafts out of our slimy clay balls and watch them float on the water.

In short, they did not float.

Which kind of messed up the rest of the experiment.

And also kind of messed up my kitchen. Slimy polymer clay clumps are not easy to wash away.

The impact of the lesson was kind of lost at that point. And seeing as we now had clay to play with, the attention of the children went in that direction as well. Totally gone.

BUT we did make some awesome stuff out of clay. A rhamphorhynchus. A hoop snake. A piece of paper. An empty grocery sack. And my favorite (artistically speaking), an alligator, legs added after this photo was taken.


For good measure, every five minutes I repeated to the kids, “And you know, even though our boats didn’t float, if the weight of the water displaced is heavier…blah, blah, blah,” so maybe they got the point anyway. (Crossing my fingers… and maybe I’ll repeat that a few more times before our next science day just for good measure.)

In other disappointing yet unavoidable real life news, my preschooler made it 2 minutes into his first day of neighborhood preschool before he ran out the door screaming, “Mama! Mama! I’m scared! Scared!!!!” and ended up coming back home with me.

Well, we’ll try again next week. He’s a young preschooler, and a kind of needy one at that, so I don’t mind him being nervous and slowly easing into it. He was traumatized (although joyful to be at home) for the rest of the day and wouldn’t let me leave his sight for very long. And then, of course, I played out the debate inside my head, “Am I babying him by catering to his sensitivities and insecurities and just enabling him and making things worse? Am I creating a weenie? Or am I being sensitive to his individuality and his needs, nurturing him and helping him cope with the world at his own pace, creating a sense of trust and security?”

If he is 12 and still a weenie, then we’ll have our answer. 😉

But boy, is he stinkin’ cute! (pre -meltdown first day of preschool photo)