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WOW Science………..

April 19, 2009

Sometimes in life, your kids want to do something and you just cannot bring yourself to say yes to even though you know you really should just say yes. You know that they will grow from it, learn from it, enjoy it. But it requires adult participation. Oh bother. Such as it was with the school science fair.

Participation was voluntary (did you hear that – v.o.l.u.n.t.a.r.y.) – no grades given – no first place – no nothing. Just the love of a little science experiment. Oh yeah and you get a t-shirt. Bear and Flower had no interest whatsoever – so I am off the hook, right? Silly rabbit, that’s what I thought too. But there is Angel. With eyes full of wonder and a heart full of enthusiasm. And great hopes for a t-shirt.

Angel: Mom, can I sign up for the science fair?
Me: Honey, you realize you don’t HAVE to sign up, right?
Angel: Yeah, I know, I just WANT to.
Me: I am not sure there are any spots left (yes, I will tell my children a fib – sue me)
Angel: Then what is that table for over THERE?
Me: Flu shots.
Angel: NO it isn’t – it’s for the science fair
Me to myself: (damn, that’s right, she can read now)
Me to Angel: Yes, dear it is – but you realize you don’t HAVE to do it.
Angel: I know, I just WANT to.
Me: Fine.

So, we sign up about 6 weeks before the day of the science fair. Angel decides (with a little good old-fashioned coaxing) that she wants to do the Coke/Mentos experiment. Fine – that’s easy enough. So, little by little I buy 2 liter bottles of soda and mentos candies. We stock pile them in the kitchen. I had to go back and get extra mentos because apparently Bear and Flower “forgot” the candy was for the experiment. (Very supportive those two.)

We I get two of each kind of soda – I roll like that – even in my hesitation to agree to do the project, I must be prepared in case one of the sodas is flat. (Oh ye of little faith – it is highly probable here that a soda might be flat.) I delay her starting the project because I am trying to find Diet Coke in 2 liter bottles. Good luck with that. I am not sure why – but I could not find it. And, sadly, it works the best.

Everything sits in our kitchen. She is distracted by knitting practice, watching tv, fighting with her brother and sister, and that damn reading habit of hers –  you name it. She almost forgot about the science fair.

But, finally she remembers that she wants to participate. I think it was because she tripped over the big science fair poster board they gave her for her display. I know, rookie mistake – I should have hidden it better. Next year. But, you can be sure I am not begging her to get started. She needs to find that inner motivation – prove that she really wants to do it. Wouldn’t you know, she found it right there on the floor next to the poster.

Now, I will admit that after number one hubby disagreed over how to measure the explosion of soda and after we discussed whether the experiment should be done on the porch or in the park, we actually all had a lot of fun. (FYI, I was right on both counts – just for the record – yes that made the project more fun.) And no, we did not ask Angel how she thought we should measure the explosion – it was her project after all – we are perfectly capable of fighting over discussing a solution without her help. Thank. you. very. much. 😉

Here is our line up.


Coke went the highest.


Sprite was a dud. And, yes, we tried it twice. Remember, I was prepared with reinforcements.


Fanta looked pretty cool but also did not rise to the occasion.


Afterwards we went to the park. (Better late than never.) And we found out that if you try to drink the soda while it is exploding, it will most definitely go up your nose.


And we found out that it is fun to have a coke-that-has-exploded fight in the park.


We also found out that Angel is perfectly capable of standing alone with her project for 3 hours and discussing it with anyone. Adults, children, teachers. She had no fear whatsoever. In fact, she really enjoyed it. Yes, she made her own poster.


And she got this ribbon – and a certificate – and a t-shirt. WOW Science indeed.


If you want to melt into the landscape of India and enjoy it unnoticed, I suggest you not hang out with us. Exit stage left. Immediately. There is nothing like drawing attention to yourselves by using perfectly good soda and making it explode with perfectly good candy on the porch while in the land of “we waste nothing”. Yep, we did not go unnoticed today. I wonder what our Indian neighbors really thought about our experiment and ensuing soda fight in the park. They must think us strange birds indeed.

All in all, we have survived and quite thoroughly enjoyed the science fair. But I draw the line at Girl Scouts – I am pretty sure that is an American organization that is underrepresented here – at least that will be my story and I will distract her from any sign up tables.

And by the way, Angel wore her t-shirt to school. Priceless.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. some body permalink
    June 27, 2009 2:32 pm

    great experiment idea. loved the pictures. please record my vote for fanta being the coolest too. did you not try out local brands (other than limca)? you really ought to help the local economy ;-). i bet mirinda would’ve looked as cool as fanta. i wonder if drinks with real fruit juice content would react as well (maaza, for instance).

    – s.b.

  2. Jasmeet permalink
    April 21, 2009 12:13 pm

    I guess if you live in one those posh suburbs with a substantial expat population, you won’t be “those” people. The sight of a blonde girl playing in the park may not be that abnormal in places like Shanti Niketan/Jor Bagh etc etc. It would those cheaper suburbs in Delhi, I guess, where such a sight might raise eyebrows or even attract staring that may not be normal in those areas . But I’m happy to see you and your children are enjoying it here.

    If I may ask – which part of the US are you from?

  3. April 20, 2009 10:47 pm

    Jurate – it was fun

    Jasmeet – I think you are right – we are now “those” people
    M – welcome and thanks for commenting – but shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 😉 THERE ARE NO GIRL SCOUTS HERE – OR THEIR EQUIVALENT

    Baba – shhhhhhhhhhh

    Girslmom – it was very cool

    Rhonda – even half way around the world I am doing projects

    Tottsmom – there is actually a lot of fun stuff you can do – it was nice that there was no “critique” because that gave us a lot of flexibility – if you could see her whole poster, you might notice that there is not even a hypothesis on the whole project. 😎

    Lola – I draw the line at dinos – hee hee

    Pam – look for it in the glen this summer
    Naomi – Not sure why you didn’t go thru right away this time – but yes it was a blast and you are going to lose one of your first Delhi friends if you suggest “she” head up anything. Maybe I will wait and we can join your troop. hee hee

  4. pam permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:35 pm

    I LOVE IT!!!

  5. naomihattaway permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:24 pm

    I have several things to say:

    #1 – GREAT job capturing the flying soda! Fanta DID look the coolest!

    #2 – Yay mama for taking the time to gather the supplies. They will NEVER forget that, I guarantee you that!

    #3 – the land of “we waste nothing” ? The fun had during the pop/mentos experiment seems to rival that of Holi Day, no?

    #4 – we are SO doing this little project before we leave! Let the soda fly!

    #5 – If there is no Girl Scouts, maybe you’re JUST the mama to start it?


  6. April 20, 2009 5:20 pm

    Cool! I like the Fanta best. The science fair was last year for us. We made lava lamps. Pretty easy. Last week the dinosaur project was due. What a nightmare trying to make a dino that stands on his two hind legs was!! I’ll take the science fair any day.

  7. Tottsmom permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:08 pm

    Great JOB! In anticipation of having to do science fair stuff, I bought a used book when my oldest was still a baby about different projects. It still sits on the shelf for the day when one of my children, not sure which it will be, announces the desire to do a science project. mmmmm, maybe I’ll just go take a peek and see if that mentos one is in there. It could be a fun summer activity right before we turn on the hose for the trampoline.

  8. April 20, 2009 5:01 pm

    I would have gone halfway around the world to avoid those science fair projects since I had a child that was never going to be a scientist and they take it so seriously around here. Glad you managed to make it fun!

  9. Girlsmom permalink
    April 20, 2009 12:18 pm

    Going to look up that one for future science projects. .

  10. April 20, 2009 10:25 am

    I think they might have girl scouts there too.

  11. April 20, 2009 9:24 am

    First time comment…been reading for a while. Indian by birth, live in the US now 🙂

    Just wanted to warn you – girl scouts may be relatively unknown, but girl guides (the original version?) were going strong, last time I checked! 🙂 I was one, back in the dark ages, and earned multiple badges, sewed them onto the sleeves of my GG uniform, went camping and learnt first aid (how to bandage a burn victim) and surely irritated my poor mother no end 🙂
    Have kept my kids carefully away from the org. here – once in a lifetime is enough IMO 😀


  12. Jasmeet permalink
    April 20, 2009 6:50 am


  13. Jasmeet permalink
    April 20, 2009 6:50 am

    Jesus Holy Chirst!!!!! Oh! I know what the neighbours were saying… (in a yankee accent) “Oh! Buncha crazy Americans, ah! well…”

  14. April 20, 2009 2:00 am

    How fun! I also want 🙂

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