If you send a husband to the grocery...
You know that book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? I think I will write my own version of that. If You Send a Husband to the Grocery. The synopsis is, if you send a husband to the store, he will return with a really huge carrot. If a really huge carrot appears, the homeschooling mom is going to turn it into a school lesson. If it gets turned into a school lesson, a blog post is written. If a blog post is written, a mom will snack on carrot sticks. If a mom snacks on carrot sticks, she will run out and she will send her husband to the store.
So my husband really did go to the grocery (Meijer) and he returned with a ginormous carrot. I cannot describe it well enough to do it justice. I questioned if it was really a carrot and not another type of root vegetable. I didn't know they could grow to such a size. He was impressed by its size too and said that's why he picked it up from the bulk carrot bin. (Side note: Are bulk carrot bins really a thing? I have only seen carrots sold in bunches or bags). I couldn't fault him. I would have purchased it, too.
He also had brought home a bunch of rainbow carrots. Of course, nerd that I am, I pulled out the "normal" carrots we had and arranged all the carrots on the kitchen counter. Once I had all the carrots laid out, I knew I had a school lesson in front of me.
I quickly mocked up a data recording sheet to help guide the scientific observations. I thought about the attributes that were observable; color, length, width, and number. I also, threw in counting since I had a bunch set out. Each child chose one specimen or bunch to record. I helped the two year old with her form.
I had them record the color. Since most of the scientists in my kitchen are illiterate, I had them use a crayon to note the color. I also had them draw a representation of their carrot. Finally, I had them count their carrots. I helped the younger ones with the number formation.
My oldest is somewhat familiar with rulers, but since I had younger scientists, I chose to measure length and width with manipulatives. I offered pencil erasers, gemstones, acrylic crab counters, dominos, and cotton buds and let them choose a set each. The oldest measured with dominos and the middle boy chose gemstones. This lead to the middle boy having a larger number of units than the oldest. They were perplexed as to why the middle boy had more if the oldest boy's carrot was obviously much larger. I used this moment to explain that it is important to record the unit of measurement used and to use the same unit of measurements throughout the observation. The boys then traded manipulatives and measured their carrots again. This time they were able to compare the sizes in both units of measurement and saw that the oldest boy's carrot was indeed the largest.
To observe the carrots weights, we used a kitchen scale. I instructed them to turn the scale on, wait for it to tare (zero out) and then to place their carrot on the scale. Once the numbers stopped fluctuating, they recorded the measurement. I had them repeat this process until they had recorded the carrot's weight in pounds, grams, and ounces. This underlined the idea that noting the unit of measurement is very important.
Our last, oh so scientific observation was a taste test. We actually all hypothesized that the largest carrot would be bitter. I fully expected it to be used in baking or cooking. We were very wrong. It was sweet and juicy and made a generous amount of carrot sticks. My scientists were all very surprised to discover that the white and purple carrots tasted like the orange carrots.
Luckily, my children are all pretty open to raw veggies. If they weren't though, this would have been a very good activity to get them to explore new food and overcome any prejudices. As I said, my children were surprised to find out that the outward appearances didn't match with their assumed taste. My kiddos are now wanting to try purple and green cauliflower that they spied at the grocery. I'm hoping to use this experiment to coax them to try new foods when they seem hesitant. If nothing else, we had a morning full of entertainment and learning. All because of one silly purchase from the grocery.