Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, February 13, 2004 10:28 pm

Is this how it begins?

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 10:28 pm

Victoria completed the first science experiment of her life tonight.

A couple of weeks ago, we observed that some of our bread had gone moldy. (It was one of those weeks when I just did not get home for my usual turkey-sandwich lunch.) This coincided with the beginning of plans for her school’s science fair, so we decided to make mold the subject of her research.

Which piece of bread, I asked her, would get moldy faster: a dry one or a wet one?

Neither, she said. Because she had dunked her bread in milk for a long time and it had never gotten moldy.

So we decided to test that hypothesis, complete with careful notes and close-up photos taken with my Nikon. We got two slices of bread on plates, dampened one, bagged them both and stuck ’em in the cabinet over the refrigerator (warm and dark, good mold-growin’ conditions) and left ’em there for about a week.

Earlier tonight we pulled them out, and there in the middle of the dampened piece of bread was a small but unmistakable circle of mold. I took photos of the two slices side-by-side and photos of V. pointing to the mold and smiling.

So what have we learned? I asked.

Mold grows faster on the wet bread, she said.

Do you know why? Mommy asked.

This left her puzzled. I figured, hey, she’s only a kindergartner, I’ll give her a little help.

Would it help you to know, I asked, that mold is a plant?

Her eyes widened. She hadn’t known this.

But she still couldn’t figure out why the mold had grown on that slice and not the other. So I gave her one more nudge.

Remember when we went to the observatory and looked at Mars in the telescope and learned about the robot rovers on Mars? I asked.

She certainly did.

Do you remember what the rovers were looking for? I asked.

She nodded vigorously: “Water.”

And why was that? I asked.

Because, she said, if there was water there, then there might have been living things there.

Yes, I said. So why did the mold grow on the wet bread?

Because mold needs water to live, she said, as pleased with herself as if she had just driven a soccer ball long and deep into the net. Which, in a way, she had.

* * *

Speaking of soccer, her coach called earlier tonight. The Tigers are re-forming, and they’ll play their first game of the spring season March 6.

V. can’t wait. And you know what? I never thought I’d be saying this about anything related to soccer (sorry, Beau), but I can’t wait, either.

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