Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Science At Home

I like to use Epsom Salts in the bath when I have one. Apart from being good for your skin, you absorb the Magnesium and Sulphate through the skin. I seem to need more magnesium than I'm getting from my diet so it seems like a nice simple way to get it into my system. The sulphate is supposed to help with ridding the system of toxins. I'm no expert when it comes to this kind of thing but I figure anything that *might* help without a risk of being harmful is worth a go. I also tend to chuck it in the kids bath. They all suffer from dry skin (was excema when they were younger but has improved to the level of dry skin) and the Epsom Salts in the bath seems to really help with that.

I'd heard the cheapest place to buy Epsom Salts was a horse supply place so when I had the chance of being near one, we went in to ask about them. I thought I was doing the right thing asking for Magnesium Sulphate when I went in to this place that hardly looked like a shop at all (and was behind a scrap yard of all places!). All I got was a blank look from the guy behind the counter. Eventually he asked me if it was the same as Epsom Salts. LOL. Next time I'll just ask for Epsom Salts. Anyway, it cost me $2.50 kg. Last time I purchased a 1kg box from Woolworths it cost me $5.71 so it's quite a significant savings.

Are you wondering how all this relates to Science at Home yet? LOL. I'm getting there. On Sunday I had a bath using these Epsom Salts. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't keep painkillers down so I figured a soak in the tub might help - as well as help with not getting dehydrated. Because I had a 5kg bag of Epsom Salts I decanted some into a glass jar.

Yesterday when DS got home from school, he asked me what the white stuff in the jar was. Not expecting it to mean anything to him, I told him that it was Epsom Salts. Turns out he DOES know about Epsom Salts. I think this 9 year old knows a LOT of stuff that I have no idea he knows.

This term he's been involved in a program called "Challenge". It's designed for kids who find regular work reasonably easy and challenges them in other ways. So far I've been really impressed with the program (it has a fantastic teacher running it who has a gifted child of her own so she seems to really understand them). And DS seems to really love it.

Now he's quite excited to discover that we have Epsom Salts at home and wants to show me an experiment they did with an egg at school. You add Epsom Salts to the water and a fresh egg that sinks to the bottom, will float instead. I asked him if he knew why that was. He said it was to do with hard vs soft water. Adding the Epsom Salts to the water makes it harder and therefore stronger and able to hold the egg up. So there you have it - I learnt something new. My understanding of hard water is limited to how it affects how much washing powder you need to use! LOL. If you live in an area where there are a lot of minerals in the water, you need to use more washing powder to get the same results. If you use something like rainwater which is very low in minerals, you need to use less washing powder. So I guess with Magnesium being a mineral (I have no idea about the sulphate part), by adding it to rainwater, you do indeed make the water "harder". What I didn't know was that "hard" water means it is stronger.

It's nice to know he's having fun and learning some new things at school. Next he wants to show me how putting an egg into vinegar with make the shell go soft. Should be interesting.


Ali said...

science has always been my favourite subject and I loved getting a chemisrty set for my 12th birthday :)

that's great that your son is enjoying experimenting.

My daughter enjoyed science earlier this yr at school and one weekend mixed lots of different kitchen ingredients together ~ bicarb is fun to mix up with different things.

Anonymous said...

What a clever egg he is!
Madly Saving

lightening said...

Ali - can't say as I'm a huge fan of science myself which is a crack up as I did both Biology and Chemistry in year 12 and then started a Bachelor of Science (where I did first year Biology and Chemistry). Perhaps that's what put me off. LOL. I do like the simpler experiments though. DS hasn't been all that interested until now and I'm really pleased about it as it's broadening his interests a bit.

Madly Saving - you crack me up!!! LOL.

Kez said...

Cool - I'll have to remember that one!

Anonymous said...

SOunds fun for all. We soaked the egg in vinegar last holidays but sadly the egg is still raw inside so dont let the kids bounce it like a ball - well not inside the house anyway! We like experimenting with growing seeds in water, cotton wool etc,, in light, in dark etc adn they love experimenting with carb soda, cordial, juice, etc etc . Have you soaked the celery stalks in red food colouring yet and see how it draws up the red? Simple. There are some great science experiments books in our local library so you may find some too. Also some websites. LS

lightening said...

LS - haven't done that celery one with my own kids but I did do it with some kindy kids when I was studying Child Care. We have a couple of DK books which are great. It's the "roundtoit" that we seem to be missing. LOL.