Friday, 4 March 2011

Crocus experiments

We recently bought a couple of new science experiment books for the children, one containing nature experiments and the other was just a general science experiment book, covering many different topics. As the sun was out today we thought we would venture out into the garden to perform one of the easy nature experiments but things did not go quite as planned! First we chose what we were going to do, gathered what the book said we needed and discussed what outcome we expected to achieve, all good so far.

The children had just chosen the perfect crocus for the experiment, then something extraordinary happened, the crocus had an encounter with our very grumpy cat who just strolled up and sat on it and then promptly tried to chase us out of the garden. So we were off to a bad start, that should have been a sign.

Another crocus was chosen and the book told us to cover the open flower with a shoe box, hence blocking out the sun and set a timer for 5 minutes, which we did. Unfortunately, the crocus did not understand the experiment and it just opened wider, so we repeated it with a different crocus and the same happened again.

As you can see in the above photograph it opened as much as it could, the book states that the flower should close, so we thought for a moment, discussed this conclusion and wondered whether the fact we had used a black shoe box had any effect. Black absorbs more heat, so we changed to a white box hoping it would now work but alas, still no joy. We had changed all variables that we could think of different flowers, different colour boxes all had the same result... the opposite to what the book said, by this time the children had got a little fed up and went off to explore the garden. The only thing left is the time, maybe 5 minutes just is not long enough to reach the desired result, so the next time the sun comes out we will test this theory out.

In the mean time the children checked the garden to see if our vegetables had started to grow, helped with some weeding and found a stash of snail shells by a rock. We assume this was left by a thrush, but it gave the children the opportunity to examine the empty shells more closely, especially the inside spirals.

So we had quite a busy day, my son was concerned that the experiment failed but it really didn't, experiments don't fail at all they give you opportunities to learn, to re-think your expectations, to test out many different theories and even if you don't get what you were expecting the journey has probably taught you a lot.


  1. A negative result is still a result :)

    My (black) cat came and peed on the veg patch I was re-digging today. The cats would dearly love to have the raised bed for themselves, so we've made chicken wire and bamboo barriers.

  2. yes, this is exactly what I was trying to get across to him :)

    so far our cat has not used the raised beds he just rolls in the flowers.

  3. That's what my gang love about science - it often goes 'wrong' and gives them chance to explore why... I agree when we fail it presents us with further opportunities and we actually learn a great deal!

    Love the outdoor photos in this post - spring is here :-)

  4. I agree, we love science too,thank-you for reading and your lovely comments :)

  5. Well, lessons learned none the less.

    #1- Cats come first
    #2- Don't take everything you read/are told (except by parents, of course) as law
    #3- There is always something else to do.


    Instilling a sense of curiousity and wonder will take them far :) Lovely post as always!

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head there...LOL.

    Curiosity and wonder are some of the biggest gifts I hope to inspire the children with, something I hope never leaves them :)

  7. Sorry for the double post :( Just wanted to let you know I've added you to my 'blogroll' :-)