We continued with our CO2 lesson series this morning, as we made and used carbon dioxide to blow up a balloon.

Katie sets up the experiment in her lab notebook/field journal. We write in this notebook together, and she started us off by writing down the title of the experiment and the formula for the carbon dioxide compound.

Katie uses a funnel to fill an empty glass bottle (a glass Coca-Cola bottle left over from Eric’s birthday party) with vinegar. She managed the funnel very well, not spilling anything.

We then worked together to use the funnel to fill the balloon with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Once the balloon was filled with baking soda, we stretched the rim over the opening to the glass bottle. When Katie picked the balloon upright, all of the baking soda fell into the bottle, combining with the vinegar below. And then…

Whoosh! Carbon dioxide fizzies! The gas released from the bubbles immediately started filling our balloon!

It really filled quickly, and Katie hopped out of her chair, wondering if the balloon would explode. (It didn’t…but I think making it explode next time would be worthy ambition)! We are really starting to understand the power of CO2, and we cannot wait to make our miniature “volcano” at home! Volcanoes release CO2 as the magma comes to the Earth’s surface…

I should mention that we actually sat down to do this experiment twice. The first time, we were right on the heels of a little battle over picking something up in the play room, which resulted in a big loud fuss and a time out.  Even though we came downstairs afterwards and started our notebook, I could feel my own lingering tension and the threat of impatience rising in me. So I gathered up both kiddos and we headed out to the park (I felt better today…my throat was still sore, but less so, and no stuffiness or fever) for a breather. I have learned that part of successful schooling at home is to know when to keep going…and when to fold ’em. I made more lemon-ginger-honey tea, we put on the Vince Guaraldi Trio in the car, and then we played for about an hour. It was just what we needed to refocus and for all of us to work together at home with happy, clear hearts and minds. We had a great time with our lab after a strategic break.

Later in the afternoon, my dad came over with a game he had made when we were kids:

My dad has a vast working knowledge of making circuits…and all kinds of electronic devices. I think that circuitry will be our next science unit. With that in mind, my dad shared this game with us. He rigged up an old telephone bell, some wires, batteries, and a switch. The object of the game is to pass a circle of wire around another wire that is bent in a funny twisting shape—without touching the wires together and ringing the bell. I have long thought that my dad is one of the smartest people I know: he has a memory like a steel trap and he can invent and make anything, it seems. I cannot ever remember my dad encountering a problem he couldn’t solve. In fact, he is one of the best problem-solvers I’ve met. I thought this game was brilliant.

Finally, a flashback to the weekend. Rosa sent me this pic today:

I love this picture of Nolan and me. He is a special little guy to me, the son of my BFF. I cannot believe I have been friends with Rosa since 9th/10th grade, and now we are having our own sweet little people. What an amazing time of life we are in, and how lucky are we that we get to hold and celebrate each others’ babies.