Last summer, my daughter’s Chemistry curriculum introduced us to the idea that YouTube could be part of our homeshool science curriculum. Everyone would gather around the computer to watch the explosive reactions of alkaline metals hitting water and beg to watch it again.
Since then, we’ve periodically used Google’s Video search to find other free online videos that demonstrated a concept or inspired our own experiments.
As with anything, there’s a lot of junk out there we don’t want in our kids’ heads, but there is also some wonderful experiments and demonstrations that we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. We use these videos as springboards of conversation – not just on the topic, but also on safety and appropraiteness of the content.
This week my 9-year-old ran across this video on how to make a simple “bb gun” from a toilet paper tube, a balloon, a penny. From this, we discussed velocity, force, safety, when it is okay to replicate the experiment and when it is not, and what we could change to test how it work under different conditions (different type of tube, different balloon sizes, a different type of projectile, etc.)
Over time I’ll share more of our favorite videos with you. But for now, here’s my 9-year-old’s find for the week:
Safety Alert! I’m a big believer in over emphasizing safety. When watching any science videos or demonstrations, it’s always wise, especially with active, indepenent-thinking, creative children, to explicitly discuss when it is okay to replicate an experiment and under what conditions…and be sure to explain why or ask what would happen if they don’t follow the safety instructions.