Monday, May 27, 2013

The good and bad of science intervention; and the taste and smell senses

This week we learned about nuclear power plants and GMO. I am one paranoid person after a week like that.

We learned about nuclear power plants, because I felt the Chernobyl meltdown was an important part of modern history for my children to learn. I learned some things too.  Like how there's nuclear waste in the UK that will take 250,000 years before it will be safe.  250,000 years?!? What the freak! Or how the whole town of Pripyat is a no-go area for the next 20,000 years.  Hmmm. SCARY!

Anyway, we learned how nuclear waste can cause mutations, and made our own mutated creations like birds with three eyes or whatever. The boys just liked the play dough.  I don't give them it often (messy.)

We then learned about GMO. I have a sister-in-law who has very much educated her family about GMO and is trying to live a GMO-free life. Those cousins have already taught my kids a bit, so this was not new.  "oh yah, it's where seed's DNA is mixed with pig DNA to create something really bad for you." Maxwell said at the beginning of our GMO learning journey.

I tried to show why scientists do it by a demonstration.  I showed what corn normally looks like.  Bugs are eating it, there are weeds, and there's not that much food grown.

Then we changed the DNA of this corn. We made it bug resistant. We made it herbicide resistant. And we made it create more food which also meant thicker stacks.

Then we talked about the risks of the unknown and the actual history.  AHHH! I need to say that again. AAAAHHHHHHH! GMO scares the begeebees out of me!!!!  But really, when I think about trying to go GMO free in a country where they don't even label GMO, I get exhausted. My sister-in-law thinks there are only about ten crops she has to avoid (soy, corn, sugar, etc) and I don't have the heart to tell her that she's dreaming. I think her kids would hate me if I told her "no, actually. You're missing tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, apples, etc."

I'm so glad that GMO is being brought to light. I have some Kellogg's corn flakes I bought from the states, and you can tell they are getting defensive.  On the back, it says how it's made from only four pure ingredients, and all their corn come from the fields of Nebraska and Kansas. They're trying so hard to sound pure...humph.

Serendipitously, there was a big world wide GMO march against Monsanto yesterday. Too bad I didn't find out about it until today :( It would have been perfect for our homeschool experience.

Anyway, moving on to science. We learned about smell and taste. What a yummy science day ;) These were some highlights: We had some food samples, and blindfolded ourselves and smelled them. We then blindfolded and plugged our noses and ate them.

We "mapped" taste buds by putting solutions of sugar, salt, lemon, and baking cocoa on our tongue where your taste buds of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter are.

And we also talked about how vision effects taste and ate some really green eggs.  Fun fun.

1 comment:

  1. I am super impressed with your science and history lessons! SUPER impressed! You may have all ready told me, but do you piece together your unit studies or do you have a "spine" to help you? And how do you come up with the activities you do? I'm! :) And about Monsanto -- I'm PRAYING that the company bites the dust! What a nightmare (when I allow myself to think about what they are doing to these poor farmers, I just want to SCREAM!). It just makes me angry. I wonder what I can do to help get rid of the company and the only thing I can think to do is buy as much locally grown stuff as I can. I don't buy a lot of name brand stuff anyway (or food products you can buy with a coupon), but I'm not sure that really matters. I just have a hard time thinking about what they are doing to our digestive systems with their modified "food". Ack!

    Enough about that. :)