Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grossology ... so gross

A big thanks to our wonderful teen volunteers. After I disgusted my listeners with such important scientific facts as that rate at which mucus flies from your nose after a sneeze (a hundred miles an hour, congratulations to the smarty pants who had the answer), Mary was ready with her scar and bruise makeup, Cannon, Nathan and Ethan produced slime in their laboratory, and Sophie and Emily aided in autopsies of our new Squishy Human Bodies.

Speaking of Squishy Human Bodies, I know all of you already have your own, but if you'd like to borrow an extra one the library now has them available to check out.  There are advantages to ours, like it comes in a box and you can take it apart and put it back together again.  

Grossology -- The Science Kids Love Best

Grossology? Do we really need a program for this? It seems self taught by all self-respecting ten year olds. Max can produce a fart sound with three different methods. (Hmmm, must remember to add a FAKE farting contest.) But what better way to sneak a little science into the summer, and it certainly is a tie-in with many literary favorites on my shelf: The Day My Butt Went Psycho, by the late great Andy Griffiths, crime novelist Jo Nesbo's Fart Powder series...the list goes on and on.

20 Minute Introduction
2 Squishy Body Dissection Stations
3 Slime Stations
1 Scar and Bruise Station

Disgusting Facts

I've turned these facts into a Jeopardy Game Template but don't share it with my summer reading kids!

PROP Clear quart container of some suitably disgusting yellowish slimy looking liquid.
-Your body produces about a quart of mucus a day. Much more if you have a cold. Mucus keeps dust, dirt and other junk out of your lungs.
-Now what happens after your mucus drips up into a little hard nugget? It becomes a booger. And what's the medical term for booger? There isn't one. Believe it or not, it's as if doctors don't believe in boogers.
-Should you eat your boogers? Not unless you've just washed your hands, because you don't want to stick your dirty fingers up your nose.
-Gross fact: When you sneeze, the air and snot come out of your nose at 100 miles an hour. Your snot is faster than a cheetah.
-If you feel a sneeze coming on, when should you NOT sneeze? Never. you could end up with a bloody nose of a burst eardrum.
-Coughing. Your cough can travel at 60 miles an hour.
PROP: Three small clear bottles of sanitizer, dyed yellow, green and reddish brown, complete with glitter. Put some green on your hands, and tell the group that if they find green on them at the end of grossology, they've been exposed to grossology germs. Use the other colors if you can get volunteers. 
-Phlegm is what we call the mucus we might cough up. A little bit of nice white or clear phlegm is normal. Yellow, you'9re getting sick. Green, you've got something. Red or brown, see the doctor.
-Gross fact: In one year, you make about 8 pints of tears. Not from crying! For eye washing. At night, with your eyelids shut, the oils and stuff build up in the corner of your eye, your caruncle.
-Gross fact: The average person blinks about 10 times a minute. (Since I started talking that would be ---)
-There's nothing really gross about a scab. (box of bandaids) They're nature's bandaids. What's gross is that pus that sometimes comes oozing out underneath. Pus is made of dead white blood cells that died fighting off whatever infection snuck into your cut when you weren't looking.
PROP: 5 1 liter bottles of V-8 juice. 
-Gross Fact: 5 1 liter bottles of soda pop. That's how much blood the average adult has running through his or her veins. Some of these veins are tiny capillaries. If you ripped all the blood vessels out of your friend and put them end to end, they would stretch around Earth more than twice, but they would no longer be your friend! It takes only a minute or two for your blood to make it all around your body and back to your heart.

I admired the kids' skin, and then asked if any of them had ever gotten a hole in it or torn it. Surgical scar? Accident scar? Sunburn scar? Bite scar? They all had fun showing off their war wounds.

Cuts, Scabs and Bruises


When you cut yourself, a scab forms to stop the bleeding. When you bash yourself but don't break the skin, you may bleed inside, and that's when you give yourself a bruise. Bruises change color as the healing takes place. They start red, go to purplish black, yellow green, and then light brown. In a few minutes, we’ll practice giving ourselves some nice bruises and maybe a few small cuts and scabs.


Please keep them small! Don't scare the parents!

Add equal parts Gelatin Knox powder to hot water, stir, and slab on. Then build and color on top of that.

When I was through with the books, I held up a container of hand sanitizer with glitter added and started slathering it on my hands. "These are germs of the Red Death. The germs are on my hand, and if I touch you, I will spread to you the germs of the Red Death. That's how germs travel, from hand to hand." I picked two volunteers to be carriers of the Red Death with me and then went and smeared the gel on all the doorknobs.


Sylvia Branzei's Grossology website
Sylvia Branzei literally wrote the book on grossology. Her hands on experiments go waaaaay beyond what I can stomach -- but if edible poo is your thing...
Farting Balloon Paint Craft
This is an easy one: cardboard box, balloons and paint. The balloons bounce around the walls of the box, creating great artwork with escaping gas. If only.

Gross Me Out


So easy! So gross!

Alas, the wrinkles aren't fake.

Looking forward to next week!  Mad Science!

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