You’ve heard the expression a million times: the “dog days of summer.” Do you know where it comes from?
Originally, the phrase had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.
To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the Sun, in late July, and lasted until about mid-August. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year. “
While that translation has for the most part been lost, we probably can all agree that the “dog days” are the hottest and often most grueling days of the waning summer. How about a tasty treat to help you keep cool? Something as simple as a root beer float offers a teachable moment and a memorable way to learn about states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. A scoop of ice cream (solid) with a little root beer poured over (liquid) creates some wonderful bubbly goo on top (gas). Dig in and enjoy!
Didn’t finish all the root beer? After eating your yummy science experiment, read the Quirkles Gilbert Gas and test to see if all the carbon dioxide has escaped from the remaining root beer. All it takes is a balloon, the remaining soda, and some salt.
Three Quirkles books feature activities that discuss states of matter. Gilbert Gas emphasizes gas as you might expect—but not just any gas—the very important carbon dioxide. Kitchen Chemistry Kal shows how a liquid can turn in to a solid as you make your own homemade ice cream. And Zany Science Zeke offers an interesting concoction (Zop) which changes back and forth from solid to liquid.
Enjoy our video which demonstrates the root beer float and Gilbert Gas activity. Also don’t forget this summer to integrate science into your daily activities. Stay cool and enjoy the Quirkles during these “dog days” of summer!