Aug 12, 2007  •  In Education, Geek, Personal

Science Labs

I’ll be the first to admit that I was never good at math and science. I never possessed the analytical, logical mind to excel in the subject; I much rather preferred social and language studies. I’m one of the few Asians I know who actually did better in the verbal portion of the SAT’s.

Not surprisingly, I usually dreaded the few times a week we were required to attend science labs. Whether it was physics or biology, chemistry or life sciences, I never had the patience to clock the amount of time it took for water to boil, let alone follow intricate instructions meticulous enough to obtain expected results.

I would usually end up making one mistake, panic, then do something completely idiotic in order to make up for it. Like the time I accidentally spilled all the contents of a bottle of distilled water. And quickly tried to recover by grabbing the first bottle of clear liquid to replace it. Which ended up being hydrochloric acid.

But there were a few labs that I thoroughly enjoyed. There are two in particular that stand out in my mind, even to this day.

The first is my very first scientific lab, from way back in elementary school. Maybe it was the excitement of actually doing something hands-on for the first time. Maybe it’s because the problem placed before our young minds stumped us. Or maybe it’s just because I felt like a total idiot when I found out what the answer was.

The Problem:
You have a large bowl of water and a lump of clay in front of you. How can you make the clay float in the water?

Can you figure it out?

The second lab is the infamous egg drop. That’s right – when a raw egg gets dropped from the top of a building (usually 2-3 floors high). You must design a container/contraption/device which will keep the egg from cracking.

This activity has become a staple of the American public education system. If you attended middle school/high school in the states, there’s a good chance that you participated in an egg drop of some sort.

Most kids ended up designing parachute-like devices, which usually ended up failing miserably. I mean, just how much drag can you expect to get from 2-3 floors up?

Others would design crazy, complicated-looking contraptions which consisted of many parts forming a cube or a circle, with the egg suspended in the middle with elastic bands. These were usually the most admired, because to most kids’ eyes, the more complicated-looking something is, the more amazing it is.

I don’t remember exactly what I did; it was probably something boring like a tin box stuffed with cotton. The funny thing is, I didn’t have that much fun designing my own. I had a lot more fun the day of the egg drop, when weeks of planning, designing, and constructing either succeeded or failed.

Did you participate in an egg drop while growing up? What did you design?


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