How exactly do you build an atom? And more importantly, why?
The why is easy enough. Julia's 6th grade science teacher told her students to create an atom by this past Friday. The assignment was given on Monday. Monday night I asked Julia what atom she was attempting to recreate and what was she going to recreate it with? The guidelines stated that the atom must be 3 dimensional and it must be edible. We discussed the fact that electrons are actually smaller than protons and neutrons and that this needed to be represented in the creation.
So now to the how:
When Trace was in 7th grade and we lived in Tulsa,Oklahoma, he had to do a photo essay on a nearby city. We drove to the city and we stopped to take some photos all the while I was saying "Make sure you get this" and "be sure that you don't get that."
Finally Trace stopped, looked at me and started laughing. "Mom this isn't your project; its mine. I'm a big boy. I can do this."
Was I that obvious?
I won't even bring up Ross' Alamo diorama project which had Ross and I up until 11:00 the night before hot gluing moss to twigs to make trees that I insisted had to look real enough. Or the time Trace made the solar system for the science fair and I wanted to make the planets' sizes and distances proportional to real life. Did I mention he was in 2nd grade?
Yeah. All righty then. But I'm changing my ways.
The atom project was Julia's so I let her come up with the list of items we would use for the elements for the atom Fluorine. Of course if she thought of one I didn't think would work I made sure to let her know. The final list included Gummy Bears for the protons, marshmallows for the neutrons and partially crushed Reese cereal for electrons. The elements would be held together by toothpicks.
The Gummy bears were hard to get the toothpicks through so Julia needed help with that. That was the kiss of death right there. Once I get my hands on something the child can kiss it goodbye.
Oh, but look, she's actually touching a marshmallow, so I have proof that she did something.
As we were placing the 9 electons around the nucleus I lamented that it couldn't be truly 3 dimensional since we couldn't put an electron on the bottom.
"If only we had some type of stand to hang it from then we could put electons on all the sides."
Julia started laughing. "I told Mrs. Hodge today that you were an over achiever."
"Yeah, I told her that you wouldn't let me make all the elements the same size and that the electrons had to be smaller. You're totally an over achiever."
How was I to answer that?
"Well, I still wish we had a stand, we could hang it with fishing line..."
Julia with the finished project. I hope we get an A.