You might be a sci-mom if…know what a Honey Nut Cheerio looks like at the microscopic level.
Last Sunday I participated in the Lower Hudson Valley Engineering Expo 2013 (check out www.BeAnEngineer.org for more info) as a rep from my company. It was a lot of fun, and I got to talk to a lot of kids about bioengineering.
To engage the kids, I brought one of our light microscopes as well as some sections of mouse intestines and some of the engineered mini-guts that we grow in the lab (hence, bioengineering).
It was fun watching as the kids looked through the scope, asking them what they saw, helping them describe what they were seeing, and then telling them a bit about my research and what bioengineering is.
One of the perks of spending my entire Sunday at this fair, was that I got to bring home a microscope from the lab so I’d have it for the fair.
Since I had it home with me, I thought I’d let Mabel have a go at it. So, Saturday afternoon, we set it up on the kitchen table.
We started out looking at my slides of mouse guts, but quickly moved on to other stuff.
We looked at: cheek cells (from my cheek), ear wax (from Nemo’s ear), table salt, pepper, flower petals, pollen grains for different flowers, a Honey Nut Cheerio, and strands of hair (one of mine, one of Mabel’s).
Mabel kept calling it a ‘telescope’ and we went over that a telescope is for seeing things that are really far away and a microscope is for seeing things that are really small.
We also went over lab safety as she repeatedly tried to eat the Cheerio.
It kept her occupied for at least half an hour! I’m definitely going to keep this in mind if I have the chance to do outreach stuff with little kids in the future. With some unused slides, you can pretty much plop anything under the scope and take a look.