10 minutes is all you need.

Think you need a lot of time to devote to science experiments with your kids? Think again.

With Jean Potter’s Science in Seconds With Toys, and Nature in a Nutshell for Kids, each book contains over 100 experiments you can do in 10 minutes or less.

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In the experiment titled Closed Cones of the Nature in A Nutshell for Kids, we took a look at what happens to pinecones when it rains.

Materials –
Two pinecones from a white pine or hemlock pine
Bowl of tap water

Method –

1. Place one of the pinecones in the bowl of water and leave the other one out.
2. Wait 10 minutes
3. Take the pinecone out of the water and observe.

What happens?

Pinecone on left had been soaked in water, pinecone on right had been left out.
Photobucket

After a few minutes in the water, the pinecone’s scales started to close. Because pinecones rely on the wind to blow their seeds to places they can grow, the seeds must be as light and dry as possible. During rainstorms, the pinecones close up to keep the seeds dry. When the pinecone dries, it opens again.

How exactly does this happen?

From this article from North County times (yeah, I know, strange place to get information on pinecones).

. The scales open when dry because their outer halves shrink more than their inner halves, and they pull away from the cone. When wet, the scales swell shut.

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