Okay, so I'm warning you right now. I wrote this earlier tonight, but I felt like it didn't read right. So I saved it and showered and came back to it. Then I realized what the problem is: it's a bit snotty, braggy parent-ish. But I didn't change it. So you've been warned...I got a bit braggy in this post.
I've been teased about being a scientist-parent. I might tell Case something like, "Oh, that toy won't fit inside that truck." Case rarely will take me (or somebody else) at their word - probably because most times when he voices disbelief I tell him, "Try it. See if it works." He will usually figure it out on his own. I suspect that a lot of parents do this so I didn't think much about these exchanges even after being called a scientist-parent.
Maybe those encouragements to figure things out though led to an event tonight.
While in the bath, Case was submerging his big, plastic, red cup into the water. You know where you put the cup upside-down into the water? He would force air into the cup and then cause bubbles to shoot up out of the bathwater. Much to his delight, some of these bubbles were huge. He was getting really good at it. I asked Case if the purple cup (identical except in color) would do the same thing. He tried it, and was excited when it worked at making bubbles, too. Then I asked him if the little cup (I pointed to the cup that has little holes in it) would make bubbles too. He tried it, but of course, it wouldn't since the air doesn't get trapped inside the cup. I asked him why he thought it didn't work.
He replied, "Because it's smaller."
I said, "Well, it has little holes in it. The air doesn't get trapped so you can't make bubbles." I knew that was probably too technical for him, but all was not lost.
Case says, "Let me try my little cup that doesn't have any holes."
I stopped in my tracks. He was testing a hypothesis! Was it the cup size or the presence of holes that determines if bubbles can form? Not to fear - Case was going to figure it out!
He found his little cup without holes and submerged it upside-down. He made bubbles! He was surprised and excited to discover something new.
I was surprised and excited that my little 3-year-old can figure out a way to test something. It warmed my heart.
I also made a mental note to reply next time I hear a college student complain that they can't figure out how to test a hypothesis with: "My 3-yr-old can test a hypothesis. I hope you can."