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Raising EaglesScience at Home

Science at Home

By March 24, 2020 No Comments

Milky Fireworks

The Science Behind It!

Surface tension is the property of water and other liquids which describes how its molecules interact on the surface of the liquid. Surface tension is what allows some bugs to walk on the surface of water! Milk is mostly water, so it has a high surface tension. However, soap is a surfactant, which means it reduces surface tension. When the soap touches the milk, the surface tension is reduced and the liquid can flow more freely.

Materials:

  • high fat milk
  • shallow dish, such as a pie plate
  • food coloring
  • liquid dish soap
  • cotton swabs

Step by Step:

  1. Fill shallow dish with enough milk to create a shallow layer and cover the whole surface.
  2. Use food coloring to make droplets of different colors on the milk, in whatever pattern you’d like.
  3. Coat a few cotton swabs with liquid dish soap.
  4. Watch closely, and dip the soap-covered swab into the milk, in the middle of the pattern of coloring drops. It will explode into a cool rainbow, like a firework!
  5. Do this as many times as you like until the colors are all “exploded.”
  6. This activity can be repeated multiple times- try using different color combinations, different patterns, or even adding glitter!


Fizzy Inflating Balloons

The Science Behind It!

Baking soda fizzes when combined with vinegar. This is a type of chemical reaction called an acid-base reaction. Vinegar acts as an acid, and baking soda acts as a base. When they react, they produce a water, another product called a salt (not like table salt!) and a gas, which is carbon dioxide, the same gas we create when we exhale. This is what fills the balloon.

Materials:

  • plastic bottle such as a soda bottle, water bottle, etc.
  • latex balloon
  • baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • funnel

Step by Step:

  1. Make sure that plastic bottle is clean and any labels have been removed.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the bottle. Use funnel if necessary, just make sure to clean it and dry before the next step.
  3. Stretch the balloon a few times to make it more elastic.
  4. Place mouth of balloon around the end of the funnel and use a spoon to fill the funnel with baking soda. It might be a good idea to have 1 person hold the balloon and funnel together, and have someone else fill the funnel.
  5. Fill the latex balloon about halfway with baking soda.
  6. Stretch the mouth of the balloon over the opening of the bottle.
    Do a countdown before holding the balloon upright and letting the baking soda fall in, causing the chemical reaction!
  7. As the reaction runs, the balloon should fill with gas and eventually stand up on its own!
    Bonus: use a rubber glove if you have them for extra fun- just make sure to secure it onto the bottle with a rubber band.


CD Hovercrafts

The Science Behind It!

Nowadays, everyone has old CDs that they don’t use anymore. Give those CDs new life by turning them into a hovercraft! This activity allows kids to learn about engineering and the concept of friction.
This experiment works the same way that an air hockey game would at an arcade. An air hockey game has air jets that turn on when the game starts. The air jets create a sort of cushion of air, which allows the puck to float freely, because the puck doesn’t experience friction anymore. Friction is the force that resists when you try to slide two objects together, like when you rub your hands together tightly and they create heat.

Materials:

  • old CDs
  • bottlecap with a hole in it, such as Gatorade bottle cap
  • hot glue gun or strong glue
  • latex balloons
  • strong tape
  • markers and paint to decorate hovercraft

Step By Step:

  1. ⇒Parents only: Do not let children touch hot glue or try to operate glue gun. If using bottle cap without a hole in it, use a hammer and nail to puncture a hole.
  2. Clean CD of any dust.
  3. Using a hot glue gun or other strong glue, attach bottle cap to the center hole of the CD, to create a “UFO” like shape. You could also use a good amount of tape to fix it to the CD.
  4. Allow glue to fully set and dry, following package instructions.
  5. Instruct kids to imagine what they want their hover crafts to look like, then set out markers, paint, glitter glue, etc. to decorate. Allow decorations to dry.
  6. Blow up a latex balloon and twist the neck several times (do not tie) to prevent air from escaping.
  7. Fix mouth of latex balloon over the bottle cap using tape to ensure it stays in place.
  8. Release the balloon and un-twist the neck to watch your hover craft fly!
  9. Make multiple hover crafts and have a hovercraft race!


Solar Oven

The Science Behind It!

Use the power of the sun in the hot Florida heat to melt marshmallows or make nachos! YUM! This experiment uses a few things you have around the house to make a neat demonstration on the power of the Sun and how convection works. The Sun is the nearest star to the Earth. It gives off massive amounts of energy in the form of heat and light, which help make our planet livable. The Earth’s heat is kept from leaving our planet by a layer of gasses. This is called the Greenhouse Effect, and the plastic wrap in our experiment will do the same thing for our oven!

Materials:

  • cardboard box such as a cereal box or one piece shoe box
  • aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap
  • glue/tape
  • scissors/box cutter
  • a stick/#2 pencil

Step by Step:

  1. ⇒Parents only: use scissors or box cutter to cut a flap in top of box if using a cereal box. If using a shoe box, cut sides of box to make it more shallow.
  2. Use a glue stick or tape to cover the inside of box and lid with a layer of aluminum foil. Make sure the aluminum foil is smooth and reflective, as this will help make a better oven!
  3. Using a stick of any kind or a pencil, wedge it into a corner of the box to prop the lid open and fix it with tape if necessary.
  4. Assemble the food for your oven- anything that melts will work! Marshmallows for s’mores or cheese for nachos are a good pick.
  5. After placing the food in your oven, cover the opening with a double layer of plastic wrap to keep the heat in.
  6. Place your box outside on a sunny day, with the opening facing the sun.
  7. Depending on the day, you can have tasty hot food in 30-60 minutes!


Invisible Ink

The Science Behind It!

Use regular kitchen ingredients to write secret messages like a super spy! This activity will allow your kids to write secret messages, then use heat to reveal them. It’ll seem like magic, but the secret behind this trick is good old fashioned chemistry. Oxidation is a term for a type of chemical reaction that can happen when reactants are exposed to oxygen. This is what makes bananas and apples turn brown when they’re cut, and what makes metal rust over time. The lemon juice is absorbed into the paper, and when exposed to heat, its chemical bonds break down and are oxidized, which causes the color change.

Materials:

  • lemon or powdered lemon juice
  • small bowl
  • paint brushes or cotton swabs
  • thick paper such as construction paper or card stock
  • a safe heat source such as an incandescent light bulb or warm clothing iron with parental supervision

Step by Step:

  1. ⇒Parents only: do not let children handle hot objects, and provide supervision throughout activity.
  2. Squeeze cut lemon into a small bowl. Alternatively, pour powdered lemon juice and add enough water to liquify.
  3. Set up play area with sturdy paper, a bowl of lemon juice, and a paint brush or cotton swabs.
  4. Let kids paint whatever messages or images they want. For added espionage, write a different message in pencil!
  5. Let invisible ink dry fully.
  6. PARENTS ONLY Use clothes iron on low-high heat and run it over paper a few times to reveal secret messages! If using incandescent bulb, hold paper directly over bulb and run it back and forth for a few minutes until message appears.
  7. Extra fun idea: Have kids leave secret messages as part of a scavenger hunt or pretend game. Remember to use parental supervision when using heat!


Glass Bottom Xylophone

The Science Behind It!

Making music can be a great way to get creative, express yourself, and learn about sound waves all at the same time! This activity uses any kind of glass bottle you might have around the house and turns it into a xylophone. All sounds are composed of sound waves which hit our ear drums to produce vibrations, which our brain interprets as different sounds. Sound waves move faster through air than they do through water- think about how hard it is to hear underwater, for example. When you hit a glass with water in it, it produces vibrations as sound waves, but the different amounts of water slow down the waves, which helps make different pitches.

Materials:

  • 6 glass bottles/jars of the same kind- pasta jars, soda bottles, water glasses,etc.
  • water
  • food coloring
  • wooden chopsticks
  • measuring cups

Step by Step:

  1. ⇒Parents only: Use gentle instruments for producing sound- plastic spoon, chopstick, etc to avoid accidental breaking. Arrange your bottles or jars in a row. 
  2. Start at one end of the row and fill the bottle or jar. This will be your lowest “note” in your xylophone. Make note of how much water you used.
  3. In even intervals, add increasingly less water into each glass- for example, if your first jar held 8 ounces of water, add 7 ounces to the next one, etc. Repeat this until all jars are full.
  4. Use 2-3 drops of food coloring for each jar. You can make a rainbow, or do a pattern of colors!
  5. Your xylophone is ready! Kids can use a chopstick or plastic spoon to test how each jar or bottle produces a different note.
  6. You may pour out or add water as needed to create distinct, identifiable “tones”.
  7. Challenge your kids to recreate songs they know, such as the alphabet song or “Mary had a little lamb”.


Dry Erase Images

The Science Behind It!

We draw to capture art, whether its with a pencil or with paint. But what if I told you, that you can create real life images with just a dry erase marker! The way that this works is that the marker leaves behind mixture of pigments and alcohol, which is mixed together. The alcohol dissolves and the pigments are left behind as a solid. Glass is so smooth that the solid will slide right off when it gets wet. So cool!

Materials:

  • a glass plate, bowl, or picture frame
  • dry erase marker
  • water

Step by Step:

  1. Draw a simple picture on the glass. (You can start with a stick figure, you can also try different shapes or animals.)
  2. Pour water onto the plate or into the bowl slowly to lift up the drawing
  3. Swirl the water around to make the picture dance and move (You can do this with adding more water or using a utensil to move the water around the image.)

 


 

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