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We have enjoyed watching the bluegill grow from fry into adults. Zev learned about stippling as we observed them. We found a bullfrog hiding in some reeds along the far bank.

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Tanoak trees have little clusters of catkins that fall into the lake and float on the surface of the water, when the wind blows in the summer.

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There’s a tiny island in the center of the lake, that you can only reach by boat, that my family calls Lizard Island. It’s inhabited by tiny brown lizards sunning on rocks and scurrying around around tree stumps. After sketching one, Zev created fictional characters for a number of them in rainbow colors. These Western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) are aptly named, because they are frequently found napping on top of the fence posts.

overview small copy.jpgOn Summer days, my family likes to go boating at Loch Lomond Reservoir in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Titrations and Lab Safety

cover.jpgWith Zev’s questions about: What are titrations, and How do you do them? We set-up a backyard acid-base titration with cabbage juice as an indicator dye.


After we finished our acid-base titration we began talking about lab safety and safety equipment. We looked at pictures of kids of lab safety equipment such as; lab coats, safety goggles, close-toed shoes, gloves, fume hoods, emergency showers and eye wash stations.

Zev particularly loved the concept of emergency eye wash stations because he (being three years old) loves anything sprays water in the summer, and here was a novel water sprayer in a chemistry lab.

He built his own emergency eye wash station:IMG_20170802_175248665.jpg

And demonstrated how to use it:



Felt Board Chemistry Lab


For the last three weeks, to my son, everything has been a Bunsen burner. He loved the concept of flame tests. We somehow moved straight from rocket engines to lab burners. Here, Zev has flipped a drawing of a rocket ship that we did together upside down and is now pretending it’s a Bunsen burner.IMG_20170725_165044958.jpg

This lead to questions about what are different types of Bunsen burners? Which led us to a conversation about Meker burners and into a discussion of different kinds of labware. Zev started with a Lego Laboratory set where he was pretending to do fuels research in his “Laboratory.” After adding a few of his own designs for different Bunsen burners:DFJz-ANVYAAPjqj.jpg_large.jpg

We made a felt board together with some of the chemistry lab equipment that he was interested in. This conversation led us from Bunsen burners into: What is a burette? And, how do you do a titration?

MBARI Open House 2017

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My family visited MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) in Moss Landing, California. The same way my son loves the Mars rovers, he loves these aquatic robots. They come in a wide array of shapes and sizes and zip all over the ocean collecting data used in oceanography research.