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Activity: If you give a kid a meat thermometer

Ari went through this phase where he insisted on turning everything into a bar graph. It was pretty random, but pretty awesome. We graphed his weight over time, the size of his toy cars, the ages of everyone he knows, etc.

While in the midst of this phase he came to me one afternoon and said “Mom, I want to do some science and make a graph, with this!” He held up a meat thermometer.

I started off by handing him 2 cups of water. One that had been microwaved, the other straight from the tap. I told him to measure the two and see what their temperatures were. He did. Then he wanted to graph them. He then proceeded to measure the fridge, cupboard, yard, plant soil, etc. Each time coming back to me for help plotting it on his graph. He had to wait 2 minutes in between each “experiment” and had to let the thermometer sit for 2 minutes to “run the experiment”. This kept him busy for a good hour while I cooked dinner… which as you can tell from experiment #5 involved chicken. (Sorry, had I know I would be sharing this I would have written a little more legibly).

He felt like a real scientist. He was so giddy.

It also allowed us to discuss things like “why is the backyard warmer than the front yard”, “why is your mouth so warm”, “what temperature keeps things frozen” and other important ‘scientist’ topics. And you know what the big ahaa moment was for him? The van was colder than the refrigerator!! Oh. My. Heck.

We plan to take the meat thermometer on our next bike ride… I’m sure he’ll think of all sorts of things to measure, and we’ll have fun comparing the results to our inside graph.

Next time your child is pining at you for something to do while you cook dinner, hand them a meat thermometer.

3 Comments so far

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  1. That’s an awesome graph.

  2. Bonnie

    This is the best post! I work with numbers and graphs as a part of my job and believe that charts and graphs morph the theoretical into the practical. We don’t do enough graphing. Ari has a great start

    • Bonnie – Thanks! Graphs are great for the visual, so they work well for me, and apparently Ari. And their fun, it’s like sciences version of art…

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