Why 5 year olds are not scientists

Abigail loves science, so when she got a science experiment kit for her birthday she could not wait to get started.  The first experiment she did was mixing citric acid and baking soda in a cup of water.  The little “interruption” (eruption) it made was cool.  She was pretty excited about it and of course wanted to do more of the experiments.  So Chris asked her if she wanted to see what would happen if they did the same thing, but used double the citric acid and baking soda.  She was more than willing to give this a try and could not wait to see what would happen.

Just as Chris was about to add the citric acid Abigail added, “I hope it does not kill us!”

Chris asked her if she thought it would to which she replied “I hope not”.

He explained that a scientist has to have some kind of idea what will happen so that no one gets hurt. (Yes my 5 year old now understands what a hypothesis is.)  Being only 5, Abigail was not sure what would happen.  When they did it the first time it “exploded”.  She understands that adding more will make the “explosion” bigger.  But does not know how much bigger.

After giving her some time to think about it Chris asked her if she thought it would kill them.  She answered, I don’t know, then braced for the worst as he added the chemicals.


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