DNA Part Four – Extraction and Victory

(Continued from DNA Part Three – The Strawberries Await Anon)

Monday morning came far too early.

By 1 p.m. Monday, I had taught the piano lessons and put the dinner in the crockpot and cooked the lunch and helped the 12 year old with his homework and made sure the 14 year old was doing hers and had tidied at least half of the front room and taken a shower, and could really put off the experiment no longer.

Taking a deep breath, I began to collect the items on the materials list from around the house.  Every time I came upon an item and wondered which variety I should choose out of what I had available (table salt?  Pink Himalayan salt?  Salt shaker?  Salt dispenser?) I simply gathered all of them and dumped them on the table.  It was the only way to force myself to complete the task without dithering over details.

At last I was ready.  Here, for Scientific Purposes, is an image of my materials, duly labeled.

006labeled007As luck would have it, the 12 year old chose that moment to work on his Latin declension chart right next to me.  Within the first few seconds of the experiment, I had roped him in.  What 12 year old can resist squishing strawberries inside a bag?  This proved fortunate, since there were times in the course of the experiment that I needed two pairs of hands.

008Once we had our strawberries squished, I carefully mixed a concoction of soap, salt and water. then measured some of this mixture into the strawberries.

012

We squished some more and then strained the mixture through a coffee filter into a cup.

016We then carefully poured the chilled alcohol down the side of the cup, deciding that we would outdo the perky scientists from the video by following the directions exactly.

017

.

Sure enough, within a few seconds a white substance started to form on top of the strawberry liquid.

019We used a twig I had broken off our hydrangea bush (HAH!  Take that, mega-popsicle-stick-package makers!) and fished the white stuff out.  It hung from the twig like… well… like snot.  There really is no other way to describe it.

I pointed to it and said, dramatically, “THAT…. is DNA.”

The 12 year old looked at me.  I looked at him.  He looked back at me.

“Is that it?” he asked.  I looked at the instructions.  I looked back at him.  I looked at the clock.  The whole experiment had taken less than 10 minutes.

“I guess so,” I replied.  He looked at the snot on the twig.

“So what do we do with it?” he asked.

“Um… we admire it?” I replied.

He had a better idea.  He ran into the girls’ bedroom and said to the 14 year old, “Look, I just sneezed and I caught my snot on a stick!”

She was not impressed.

I then realized that I had to put away every last stinking item I gathered in my Material Frenzy.

But no, you know, science is fun.  It’s great.  I love science.  No, really.

–fin–

021Postscript: I found some anacharis at the local aquarium store, after asking for it two or three times, accenting different syllables each time and spelling it out for the non-native-English-speaking manager of the store.  It sits in a vase on my mantle awaiting Thursday.  And I can’t help but notice that it is not remotely purple.

I also looked up the word etymology and discovered two things. 1) I was pronouncing it correctly after all and 2) “ana” in Greek apparently means “up” not “without.”  So anacharis means upwardly graceful, which is much more fitting. All of which proves that my intuitive pronunciation skills are far more finely honed than my knowledge of Greek.

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Categories: Education, Family, Homeschooling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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