The other day, K came home from school with homework to do for science. They had been talking about the geology of this grand planet of ours and had a sheet of instructions for an experiment to do at home. On stratification.
Stratification is the layering of rocks. It takes millions of years. Archaeologists love geologic stratification because it can help them date the objects they find embedded in the strata and associate layers of objects in a given region with different periods of settlement or even different epochs of time. Because of stratification (among other things), we know for a certainty that dinosaurs and Homo sapiens sapiens most definitely did not coexist.
And here was my son, waving his homework assignment in the air like some sort of mad white flag, taunting me with stratification.
“We have to make layers, mom! And then I have to observe them!”
Observation is, of course, a central feature of scientific exploration everywhere.
Meanwhile, all I could think was how on earth are we going to layer rocks and let them sit long enough to form strata? By tomorrow? That thought was closely followed by please tell me this is a hands-on experiment and not a disguised drawing class!
I should have known better. The kids’ school has a kick-ass science program. It was most definitely a hands-on project — one engineered to really, really appeal to a certain age of kid, no less.
He stratified a sandwich. Here’s his photographic proof (and you can hover over the images to find out what is in each layer).
This delicious sandwich was carefully slid into a clear plastic bag and then covered with a brick.
Yes, a brick. Okay, half a brick in our case, since that’s all we could lay our hands on easily without digging one out of the garden path (and that was not an idea this Mama was willing to entertain for more than half a second. Truly.)
Doesn’t it look disgustingly wonderful? Yummy, even?
(Maybe if you are an ant. Or a cockroach. Which I am not. Truly.)
After several hours of stratification, the sandwich was carefully (slime-ily) removed from its brick-covered prison and sliced in two. Voila — strata!
I love it when science is so disgustingly appealing to kids. It’s positively… delicious.