I am always inspired by the many events going on during the school day. This week the Jr. High Science Fair had me thinking about how useful our library is to the students when they have less literary assignments. I decided to pretend I was entering a science fair and see what I came up with.
The first stop is to choose an experiment. I already know the library is chalk full of experiment books. Here are a few…
Hmmmmm, I am hungry I think I will explore the book Try it With Food from Scholastic Books. There are many different types of experiments in this book but the one that catches my eye is Gelatin Optics (pun intended). “Get ‘jiggly’ with it in this experiment and make some colorful gelatin ‘glasses.’ Try them on to demonstrate the principles of magnification and refraction.”
It is a simple experiment that asks you to make various sizes of gelatin glasses using an assortment of small containers such as measuring cups, spoons and saucers. Once the gelatin has hardened you take it out of its molds and use the gelatin as lenses to look at objects, pictures, and the pages of books. I soon discover that the size of the lens affects the magnification. Who knew JELLO could be used as a magnifying lens. Pretty cool. But I still don’t understand how it works. The book explains a bit, defining words like concave, convex and refract. But I want to dig deeper.
Does our library offer books to help me better understand these terms? It sure does!!!!!! Using our computer catalogue I searcher these key words: lenses, light, magnification, and refract. I found this book.
Manipulating Light: Reflection, Refraction and Absorption by Darlene R. Stille. is part of the Exploring Science series. This series takes a quick look at everything from contemporary issues, such as the greenhouse effect and genetics, to core curriculum themes, such as atoms, molecules and plant cells.
OK, but did I, a decidedly unscientific person, learn anything?!
Well, YES!!!! I learned that the gelatin, in the shape of a curved surface, acts as a magnifying glass. A magnifying glass makes objects look larger than they are. This is because of refraction. A ray of light enters the curved surface and bends as it goes, spreading out, or refracting, on its way to your eye. If the light ray does not bend we would not see clear images. Instead everything would be blurry. Our eyes work the same way. They too, have lenses that refract light. This is why a magnifying glass helps make the image bigger.
PHEW!!!!!!!!! All this scientific thinking has me H U N G R Y. I think I will do a quick search using Destiny Quest Online to see what sort of yummy goodness I can make using gelatin!
Here is what I found!
Jello Cookies Recipe found at
I am off to bake!
This is really clever!
Everyone has seen the tired old science fair project, such as the volcano or the styrofoam solar system, which have been favorites of many parents for what feels like generations. These projects are relatively simple and easy from the parent’s point of view, but they are incredibly bad choices for the children involved. Why?These are the kind of projects that are so well-known that even the students know what is going to happen. And when that happens, the students are not learning anything, and their performance suffers during the presentation portion of science fairs because of it. Science fair judges have gotten bored with these types of projects, and that’s a big problem for students who endeavor to win prizes in their science fair. In the end, this kind of project is only really good for the parents, and surprisingly, these kinds of projects are not even particularly cheap!;