F is for Frankenstein OR The Girl who invented sci-fi

F is for Frankenstein. In honor of the girl who invented sci-fi and her famous doctor, we build working hearts.

F is for Frankenstein OR The Girl who who Invented Sci-fi

This post contains affiliate links that will earn me a small commission at no cost to you. Teach your kids about that bad b Mary Shelley and support this website at the same time! 

F is for Frankenstein's Laboratory or the girl who invented sci-fi

The Girl who who Invented Sci-fi

We were in the library a few days ago when I was writing up the post on campfire stories. Since this post was still days away I hadn’t started thinking about it yet, but one of the books I spotted in their Halloween section changed that right quick. 

You can get this gorgeous picture book here or check it out at your local library.

Stick around for a printable mask of Frankenstein’s monster, but the real star of today’s post is Mary Shelley – the girl who invented sci-fi. 

Invented? 

It’s a big claim, sure, and one that is hotly debated. What’s not really debatable is that the genre today would be unrecognizable without the influences of Frankenstein. 

In the end, who exactly was first is irrelevant and entirely dependent on your exact definition. What’s really important is that we all remember that girls have always been right there in geekdom. From the very beginning.

My own hot take is that science fiction and fantasy are forever linked, but that sci-fi itself needs a certain amount of scientific basis. If, like me, you consider Star Trek to be sci-fi but Star Wars and similar space operas to be more accurately described as fantasy (possibly science fantasy), then you would never consider the epic of Gilgamesh the first sci-fi work. And most would agree, at the least, that Mary Shelley was the girl who invented sci-fi novels, even if short works were around before Frankenstein. (fun fact: she also wrote the first post-apocalyptic novel.)

Plenty others have written about Mary Shelley’s history, her romance with Percy, and how Frankenstein came about, so instead of that, let’s build a bleeding, pumping heart as an homage. 

It’s what Dr. Frankenstein would’ve done, and it’s definitely what Mary Shelley would have wanted. 

How to build a model of a heart

There’s a bunch of tutorials out there, but they would all require I actually leave my house to buy some materials. Plus, ever since I used the words “science experiment” to MGF on day 2, she’s been itching to use her chemistry set. If it’s something you don’t already have, this one by Learning Resources is the one she has. We picked it because it has a microscope and a bunch of age-appropriate experiments that come with it. They also make a scaled down version with no microscope which will save you some decent bucks. (I will receive a commission if you buy it, etc…) So I mostly used bits from that in this project. As such. I’ll try to be pretty generic with my instructions. 

Ingredients

  • Two containers (those really cheap eco-friendly low-plastic water bottles that can barely hold themselves together would be great.) 
  • A piece of rubber tubing or 2 bendy straws taped together by the short ends
  • A stopper, lid, or other covering for each container
  • A rubber balloon 
  • Tape
  • Red food coloring for maximum gore
  • A nasal aspirator or similar rubber bulb, if your bottles are non flexible 
  • A drill if you use a hard lid as a top and need to make holes
  • Cornstarch (optional)

Directions

  1. Stopper the first bottle after filling it with water. 
  2. Cut a long portion of the neck off the balloon and fix it over one end of the tubing/straw, fixing with tape if needed. 
  3. Thread the other stopper through the un-ballooned end of tubing. 
  4. Place the second stopper in the second bottle, with the balloon inside. Both ends of tubing should be near the bottom
  5. Affix the bulb to the air hole on the second stopper. 
  6. Make sure any other holes are closed up. 
  7. Begin squeezing your pump – and watch the water move from one end to the other. 
  8. Once you have it working, add food coloring and a bit of cornstarch to thicken. That’ll make it extra gory! 

(I know it needs pics – just stay tuned or check out the tutorial below) 

If you wanna get really detailed with it you gotta give the Pakistan Science Club some love (Get it? Heart? Love?) because their model looks amazing!

Frankenstein’s Monster

Here’s a mask printable of today’s little monster. It’s about 6 inches by default so resize as necessary. You can modify it on Canva to ensure a proper pupil-to-pupil distance for your little monster!

Advice? 

All of the tutorials I saw used a balloon for a heart valve, including this one, but that’s something a lot of folks won’t have lying around. What else could we use instead? Any suggestions? 

All that Nerdish

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