Fart jokes are funny. Admit it, you laugh too. We pretend, once we’re ladies and gentlemen of a certain age, that they’re not but deep down? We crack up as heartily as the kids do when occasion arises.
Farting and science? Well, that’s a formula for hilarious, engaged learning.
Oh, Ick! 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out by Joy Masoff (with Jessica Garrett and Ben Ligon) will provide you with no end of gigglingly applied nastiness.
The book is arranged by topic: Arachnids, Crimes, Dirt, Garbage, Zits, etc, making desired bits and bobs much easier to find. In our case, it also helped us avoid some of stuff about which my son, he-of-the-hair-trigger-gag-reflex, is a little more sensitive altogether. Each section starts with an academic, science-class intro directly related to the experiments that follow (“learn one, teach one, do one” of a sort). There’s also an outline of important safety precautions both as regards the general topic (which spiders to avoid, for example) and those which are directly related to someone not losing an eye while blowing stuff up in your kitchen (safety goggles, gloves, etc).
You all know by now how I feel about applied learning, especially as regards science. It’s really the best, most effective way for kids to absorb because it allows them to see theory in action instead of asking them to synthesize amorphous and weird scraps of data. Could you explain the molecular interactions that cause and acid/base response? Sure. But they’d end up staring at you blankly. Explain it while you pour vinegar into baking soda (pg. 13)? They’ll want to understand because, as Mythbusters has so effectively proven, explosions are rad. You could lecture them on the ways gut bacteria create gasses but having a stink race (pg. 81)? That’s disgusting, hilarious, and they’ll never forget it. Telling them to wash their hands is likely to meet complaint and resistance; showing them what lives on their skin if they don’t (pg. 22)? Monsters are great motivators.
Experiment time ranges from a few minutes to a few hours which makes this a great activity resource for the scientifically or gross-out inclined of all ages (there are a few, like the aforementioned bacteria culture that have to cure for a few days but that’s fun to check on periodically anyway). Unlike a lot of home-science books, the majority of the experiments in Oh, Ick! can be done with the contents of a well stocked pantry (definitely check ahead of time though. It would be a shame to discover you don’t have that last necessary for your pot of snot when it’s bubbling away (pg.228) and being a non-Newtonian fluid).
Expect to get messy, have a lot of fun, and do science!
Oh, Ick! 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out! by Joy Masoff (with Jessica Garrett and Ben Ligon) (Workman Publishing) is available now.