Another month, another 4-H meeting. I enjoy these kids, I truly do, and I have wonderful co-leaders, but perhaps I am getting just the teensiest tinesiest bit burned out. Or maybe I just have too many other things on my plate at the moment to muster the requisite energy and enthusiasm at a sustainable level.
Yesterday's job: come up with an activity for today's meeting. Sometimes we have them planned out months in advance (i.e., every meeting so far this year, until this month) and sometimes we are scrambling at the last minute (i.e., it's only a matter of time until we run out of steam).
One of my co-leaders had suggested, a while back, the experiment with carnations and food dye, as a good way to teach/demonstrate/reinforce the principles of capillary action and transpiration in plants. We have kids ranging in age from 4th through 11th grade so activities that can be appreciated on several levels work best. If we tied into that most national of holidays, Super Bowl, by offering different color food dyes so the kids could vote for their winning team via colored flower, then it seemed close enough.
Of course, no white carnations for my last-minute-planning rear end. I had to drop back and punt with white mums but luckily they were in keeping with the theme.
By starting the project at the beginning of the meeting instead of our traditional activity time nearer the end, we could watch the colors as the developed throughout the meeting and talk about whether the length of stem and color made a difference. For the record: yes (shorter was predictably much faster) and yes (blue was the quickest, yellow the slowest).
Looks like we will be rooting for the Patriots tonight, though that blue-green in the front does strongly suggest Seahawks blue-green. Not at all what my Patriots-loving youngest son intended, but it seems we also proved the vagaries of Mother Nature.