Please, Don’t Taste the Science

So sorry about the premature email about this post. That’s what I get for putting a placeholder in my WordPress phone app. I forgot to set it as a draft, so it published my three-word post. Meh.

(Hey, WordPress, the default for a new post should be Draft not Publish. Just saying…)

This weekend, Armadillo went to a science discovery party at a local children’s science museum. The hands-on exhibits (the water table to see how currents work was a crowd favorite) was in a small space, so kids could roam without getting too much out of moms’ sights.

But this post is about tasting science.

During the party room activities, a young man led the party guests in a few experiments. He had a rather thick accent, but the kids seemed to understand him pretty well. He asked them questions; they repeated the right answers.

For example, the first experiment was with round pans of milk. The kids took turns dropping food coloring in the center of the milk.

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So far, this one still looks edible…

Where it floated, unmoving. (Here’s the science part: Because of the dense molecules in milk, the food coloring won’t go anywhere.) Then he dropped one tiny drop of liquid dish soap on the food coloring. And swooosh!

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Maybe not so edible now…

No one was interested in tasting that science. I don’t know why. Milk is yummy and colored milk could be fun. OK, but not with soap in it.

The acidity test was next. He placed four large test tubes filled with a blue liquid made from grapefruit juice on the table. There were as many tubes as children.

After he explained the acidity chart (with very cool colors from base to acid), he said this:

“And now you are going to taste the different ones.”

Those may not be his exact words. All I heard was, “…you are going to taste…”


How were they going to taste something and compare it to the color chart? Something was not processing in my brain.

Armadillo’s got wide and she shrank into herself. I knew what she was thinking. “I have to taste something?”

A little boy said, “Is it going to make us sick?” I’m with you kid. This can’t be normal.

While half the kids shut down–terrified of tasting the science–a few of them lit up. Evidently, they’ll try anything if they think they’re safe.

Then the eyedroppers of orange juice were handed out. The birthday girl got to pour it into one test tube, which changed to a very pretty color. One little girl eyed that test tube and licked her lips.

Seriously? This can’t be happening.

The next item to be placed in a tube was borax soap. Soap, people!

Armadillo rested her chin on her hands on the table. She is not interested in the experiment at all.

I asked the birthday girl’s dad if he heard the same thing I had. Yep. Taste testing all around. But he agreed with me that the context was all wrong. Surely, he meant test not taste. What kid is going to taste the borax solution?

TEST the science, not taste the science. Sheesh.

After the soap, they used lemon juice.

The girl who eyed the orange juice, raised her hand. “I want to taste one.” (By the way, she didn’t salivate when the soap came out.)

The science guy said, “Oh, no we do not taste the science.”

There was a collective sigh of relief in the room that no one would be tasting anything except the birthday cake. The science guy was oblivious that his accent had the entire room (kids and parents) thinking that someone was going to taste one of the experiments.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy
Orange juice, borax, lemon juice, and antacids…not to be tasted, please.

Well, except for one little girl. She was crushed.The look on her face was priceless.

Have you ever misunderstood someone this badly before? What other things have kids (and adults) confused to comical proportions? I’d love to hear your stories!

Also, I would be remiss today if I didn’t say:

Happy Memorial Day!

I’m grateful to all those who have served to protect this country, including my much-loved grandfathers in WWII.

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