Calling all mad scientists | Column
By DARCY BRIXEY
Bothell Reporter Contributor
March 8, 2013 · Updated 3:23 PM
Recently my son brought home information about the school science fair. Inside the thick packet were astonishing lists of deadlines, directions, topic ideas and the rule that under no circumstances (ever) is anyone allowed to bring in a homemade volcano or anything that needs an open flame as an energy source.
Disappointed, we both agreed that our homemade nuclear reactor would most likely not be allowed under the roof of his elementary school.
The children’s department is busiest during science fair season, with budding scientists and their parents seeking the explanations behind things like surface tension or buoyancy. The science fair project books, located in the 507.8 section, disappear very quickly and families are often left scrambling to find the information they need. Luckily there are other places to find those experiments and the resources to explain the science behind them.
King County Library System subscribes to Science Online, a database filled with diagrams, conversion calculators, articles and experiments covering topics such as forensics, weather, chemistry, biology and more. The articles are from reputable sources like science encyclopedias and dictionaries.
When you search on a topic such as surface tension, tabs across the top arrange the information into categories such as news articles, experiments and activities, and topics, terms and principles. The experiments give a brief overview of the topic, a materials list and time requirements, a procedural guide and a data table.
Also included are questions your budding scientist should ask and answer. There are general safety guidelines for each experiment (Tie back your hair! No horseplay!). Parents may find themselves missing their old high school chemistry labs and teachers. I did.
This database is available anytime and anywhere. To access the information just visit the database page (kcls.org/databases), choose the science and technology link and click on Science Online. Then log on with your library card number and PIN.
After looking at many topic ideas, my son has decided to culture bacteria from the dog’s mouth. It’s not nearly as exciting as playing with fire, but with 24-hour access to Science Online, he has all the time in the world to build a volcano. He just can’t take it to school.
Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. Sheâd like to tell you she loves to read, but itâs an expectation of the job.