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How to Make a Simple Paper Kite11/09/2020

We love flying kites but unfortunately the weather in the UK isn’t always ideal for it. However, this simple paper kite can be flown indoors or outdoors! Read on to find out how to make your own and the science behind why it flies.

You will need:

  • A4 paper
  • Extra piece of paper
  • Stapler
  • Holepunch
  • 50cm 5tring

Method:

  • Fold your A4 paper in half (like you are folding a card).

  • Take the top corner and place it on the opposite side, about 1/3rd of the way down.
  • Do the same on the other side.
  • Staple them in place.
  • We made a beak and some tail feathers for our kite! But you may want to do something different.
  •  Put a hole punch around 1-2cm from the staple.
  • Thread the string through the hole and tie in place.
  • Hold the end of the string and wave it around to fly your simple paper kite!finished simple paper kite

The Science Bit:

The shape of this simple paper kite makes it a great flier. The curved wings mean that the air has to travel faster to get over them, fast moving air has lower pressure. The air travelling underneath the kite, and the air going through the wing tunnels doesn’t have to travel as fast and so it has a higher pressure, which pushes the kite up. This is called Bernoulli’s principle!

Looking for more experiments to try at home but don’t have the equipment? Find lots of home kits, including our Big Box of Science, on our shop!

Simple Hydrogel Experiment09/09/2020

Have you heard of hydrogels? Would you like to try a hydrogel experiment? Hydrogels are polymer chains (lots of atoms linked together) that are ‘hydrophillic’ which means they love water! This makes them super absorbent. Some hydrogels are saturated which means they have already soaked up water – hair gel is an example of this. Other hydrogels are unsaturated which means they haven’t soaked up water but they can if they need to. An example of this is the material inside a baby’s nappy! In this simple hydrogel experiment we are going to be removing the water from a saturated hydrogel – hair gel!

To do this hydrogel experiment – you will need:

  • Hair gel – any brand will do.
  • Salt
  • Little pot or cup

equipment needed for this hydrogel experiment

The method:

1) Put some hair gel into a little pot. Just a little squirt will work fine.

gel ready for a hydrogel experiment

2) Sprinkle some salt on top of the hair gel

You should see the hydrogel start to turn from a gel into a liquid – this is the water coming out of the hydrogel structure.

The result of our hydrogel experiment

 

Why not try testing different hair gel brands or research some other household hydrogels and give them a try! Do you think the experiment would work with sugar instead of salt? Write a prediction and then give it a try.

The science:

So how did this hydrogel experiment work? Hair gel is a saturated hydrogel so it contains lots of water, held inside lots of chains of atoms stuck together. Water bonds to salt so when you put salt on top of your hair gel, the water came out of the hydrogel to try and stick to the salt. This made the hydrogel structure collapse. This is why when you have salty food, you feel thirsty – salt sucks water out of your cells in the same way that it sucked the water out of the hair gel. If you have too much salt, you get dehydrated.

Home ed online science sessions03/09/2020

Online science course for home educated childrenOur next course of online home ed science sessions starts on the 1st October 2020 and is aimed at home educated children aged 5-9. This course will be run via Zoom and you will need a computer to access the sessions. A webcam is desirable but not essential and your child does not have to be on camera. Just £4 per session and £1 for each additional sibling.

These 45 minute home ed science sessions are run by a highly trained scientist and provide children with an opportunity to socialise whilst learning. Sharing results is a key part of scientific research and these sessions will encourage collaboration.

All sessions will involve practical science experiments that use easily obtainable materials. Please see below for a list of sessions and the equipment that will be needed. You will need to source this equipment ahead of each session but you are likely to have most of it at home already. The majority of each session will be practical experiments with some time for watching a larger demo and sharing ideas with other children in the group.

Prices

The price for a block of four sessions is £16 per screen. Additional siblings are welcome to share a screen and work on the activities together and there is an additional total cost of £4 per additional sibling. All sessions will be recorded so that you can access the session even if you are unavailable one week. We are also on hand for help and support between sessions too.

This club will be strictly limited to 15 screens and 20 participants so that every child gets the most out of the club.

Click here to sign up

You may also be interested in our online coding course for children aged 7-12.

Sessions

Session 1 – 11am – 1st October – Colours – In this first session, children will be exploring the science of colour and learning the different between the colours of light and the colours of ink. We will be conducting chromatography, making bubbles to trap rainbows and doing a colour changing reaction. You will need:

  • Kitchen roll/toilet paper x 3 sheets
  • Felt tip pens (a selection of colours)
  • Cup of water x 2
  • Spinner template (either printed our template or draw your own)
  • Cocktail stick/sharp pencil
  • Red cabbage (just a section or a few leaves is fine)
  • One or more acids (e.g. vinegar, citric acid, lemon juice)
  • One or more alkalis (e.g. bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, washing powder, toothpaste),
  • Washing up liquid
  • Straw (paper or plastic)

Session 2 – 11am – 8th October – Rockets and flight – This session is all about forces and children will be making a range of flying machines. You will need:

  • Straw (paper or plastic)
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips x 3
  • A4 paper x 4 sheets (can be scrap paper)
  • Sticky tape

Session 3 – 11am – 15th October – Chemical and physical reactions – Children will go away from this session with a passion for chemistry. They will also know the difference between a chemical and physical reaction! You will need:

  • Cup of water,
  • Small amount of vegetable oil (as much as you can spare)
  • Clear cup/glass x 3
  • Bicarbonate of soda/baking powder
  • Vinegar/lemon juice
  • Teaspoon
  • Empty bottle (any size)
  • Balloon

Session 4 – 11am – 22nd October – Magic science – Some experiments are so cool, they look like magic! This session includes lots of ‘tricks’ and best of all, children will learn how they are done! You will need:

  • String x 15 cm length (roughly)
  • Tray/washing up bowl
  • Sticky tape,
  • 2 x empty clear cups
  • Cup of water
  • A4 paper x 2 sheets (can be scrap)
  • Scissors
  • Pen (any colour). 

Click here to sign up 

 

Beginners Home Ed Coding Course03/09/2020

Is your child interested in learning to code? Would you rather they were designing video games rather than playing them? Home educating and don’t know where to start? Get to grips with the basics of coding with our online coding course specifically designed for home educated children aged 7-12.

All sessions will be run online via zoom so are suitable for children across the UK. Coding sessions will last for one hour per week and children will be working with the BBC Micro:bit and blockly coding. Children will be able to share their coding creations with one another and a scientist will be on hand to help with any tricky coding bugs!

This code club is designed for children with limited/no coding experience and is suitable for children aged 7-12. You will need a computer (mac or pc) with internet access and a USB port. A webcam is desirable but not essential and there is no requirement for your child to be on camera.

In order to take part, your child will also need a BBC Micro:bit microcomputer. We are able to sell these (plus all required accessories) for an exclusive price of £14 (rrp £18.99) for children signed up to the coding club – with free postage too! All children signed up to the Coding Club will also receive a printable certificate and free Ebook on completion of the club. This E-book contains additional projects and links to helpful videos.

Prices

The price for a block of four sessions is £24 per screen (without Micro:bit) or £38 (with Micro:bit). Siblings are welcome to share a screen and work on the activities together. All sessions will be recorded so that you can access the session even if you are unavailable one week. We are also on hand for help and support between sessions too.

This club will be strictly limited to 15 participants so that every child gets the most out of the club.

Click here to sign up (for participants who already have a BBC:Microbit)

Click here to sign up (for participants who would like to purchase a BBC:Microbit)

You may also be interested in our online science sessions for children aged 5 – 9.

Sessions

Session 1 – 11am – 29th September – Getting started and making an animation – In this session, children will be getting started with the online editor, coding their own words, phrases and animations and downloading them onto the Micro:bit.

Session 2 – 11am – 6th October – Making a compass and a step counter – This week we will be using the built in magnetic sensor and accelerometer to code a step counter and a compass.

Session 3 – 11am – 13th October – Coding simple games – Next up, we will be coding some simple games including a rock, paper scissors game. Children will be using ‘if _____ then______’ commands and setting countdown timers plus learning how to create a reset button for their game.

Session 4 – 11am – 20th October – Coding a more advanced game – In this session, children will be using loops, game commands and animations to code a more advanced game that is playable on the Micro:Bit.

Click here to sign up (for participants who already have a BBC:Microbit)

Click here to sign up (for participants who would like to purchase a BBC:Microbit)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Science Big Experiment01/06/2020

Fun Science big biscuit dunking experimentHave you ever carried out the biscuit dunking experiment? This experiment is perfect for introducing children to the scientific method – plus it’s great fun too! Here at Fun Science we want to find out once and for all which the best biscuit is for dunking into a nice cool glass of milk, and we need your help. We want children across the country to all take part in one GIANT biscuit dunking experiment and we will be collating the results.

All you will need for this experiment is three different types of biscuit (any brand), a glass/mug and some water.

Parents and teachers you can click here to download our free teachers/parents guide.

You can then download either our

KS1 Worksheet and table of results
KS2 Worksheet and table of results

Click here to access the Youtube video and dunk along with Chemical Cress!

Once you have completed the biscuit dunking experiment, click here to fill in our simple form and send us your results. We will be collating results on the 8th July 2020 so you have plenty of time to send yours in. We will then be releasing our results so that your children really feel that they are part of a real scientific experiment.

Looking for more experiments? Click here to visit our shop and find our home learning science kits for parents and teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adapting to Covid-1922/05/2020

All across the UK, children’s entertainers and activity providers are adapting to our current ‘new normal’. All our branch owners have a passion for sharing practical science with children and, whilst we are unable to meet with children face to face, they have adapted to bring practical science into the homes of children across the UK. We can’t wait to be back running science experiments at parties and after school clubs but until then, read on to find out what just some of our different branches have been up to.

Sheffield

Magnetic Milla from Fun Science Sheffield has been running WER robotics clubs online via Zoom. As well as working on coding and robotics, all of the children have been researching the pros and cons of increasing use of connected devices (e.g. smart heating, smart TV, smart doorbells, etc) and they have worked in teams for the last month (via email and online team meet-ups) to prepare a presentation of their findings. They’ll be giving their presentations in online sessions this week – learning lots of useful teamwork, communication and research skills!

You can find our more about World Educational Robotics sessions in Sheffield by clicking here.

Dorset

Kinetic Kate from Fun Science Dorset has been selling fortnightly Home Science Kits with everything parents need to complete experiments at home. Her home educated groups have also been working hard to complete the experiments and project work needed for the British Science Association CREST awards and they should be receiving certificates in the next few weeks. Some of these are for the CREST STAR award and others are for their Bronze and Silver Project Awards. As part of their award they have been doing investigations into the crispiness and healthiness of crisps. Kinetic Kate has also been posting elements of the day on Facebook and is trying to memorise all the elements of the periodic table – she’s just under halfway there!

Find out more about Kate’s Home Kits here

West Lancs and Bury/Rochdale

Wacky Jacky, owner of Fun Science West Lancs and Fun Science Bury/Rochdale is hoping to offer socially distant home visits in the near future. These educational visits will bring zero-contact home learning (and entertainment) directly to children’s front gardens whilst following all government guidelines and advice. Jacky hopes that this will re-ignite children’s passion for science and give them a much needed boost during lockdown. You can email westlancs@fun-science.org.uk if you are based in West Lancs, Bury, Rochdale or surrounding areas and interested in a home visit.

Wacky Jacky is also offering home science kits with everything parents need to do experiments at home. Find out more here.

Cheltenham

Fun Science Colours Home KitRun by Diatom Dave, Fun Science Cheltenham was due to launch just as lockdown began and Dave is itching to get going running parties, workshops and free assemblies across Cheltenham and Gloucestershire. Even though he is new to the area and new to the business, Dave hasn’t been simply waiting for lockdown to be over. Instead he has been busy behind the scenes and has created social media pages, jam packed with fun science posts, experiments and pictures (click here to sign up to Dave’s weekly roundup)

Diatom Dave is also offering home science kits for families across Gloucestershire so that they can conduct their own experiments at home. All kits come complete with everything you need to do a range of experiments plus links to video and written instructions. Click here to find out more.

Shropshire

Super Sonic Sue from Fun Science Shropshire has been selling home science kits for parents across Telford and surrounding areas. As well as providing a way for children to keep doing practical science at home, Sue says that packing the kits has given her a much needed activity to do each day! If you are based in Shropshire, what better way to support a local business than by having potions and experiments delivered to your door! Click here to find out more.

Exeter and Medway

Run by Energy Edd (Exeter) and Fluorescent Fiona (Medway), these are two of our newest branches. Whilst their launches may have been postponed for now, both branches are posting lots of fun science experiments on their pages and offering postal home science kits to children and families in their local area. Check them out at Fun Science Exeter and Fun Science Medway

Other branches

Across the UK we have also launched a coding club using the BBC Microbit. You can find out more about this and our home kits by visiting our shop. We have also launched a science hat competition and have been overwhelmed by the amazing hats that we have been receiving from children across the country. The competition is completely free to enter and the prize is 5 different science kits delivered directly to your door.

We have also released a free ebook, started an informative Youtube channel, and continue to release free experiments that parents can do at home.

We can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best and running parties, workshops and clubs for primary school children. But until then, we will continue to support parents and children virtually instead.

A Fun Science Gender Reveal!01/05/2020

Here at Fun Science we use science in lots of different ways – helping Scouts and Guides get their badges, supporting a topic in school, helping a child celebrate their birthday, entertaining parents and children at festivals, and much more. But we have never used science for a baby gender reveal…until now!

When a close friend of one of our Fun Scientists, Magnetic Maggie, said she wanted to have a gender reveal party, Maggie had the perfect idea – why not use a colour changing experiment? It was great success so we thought we would share the idea with you – a Fun Science gender reveal! Perfect for a gender reveal party with a twist.

*Due to COVID-19 the gender reveal had to be done via video link, and it still worked a treat!*

fun science gender reveal

You will need:

  • Red Cabbage
  • For a girl – an acid such as vinegar or citric acid
  • For a boy – an alkali such as bicarbonate of soda
  • A bowl
  • A spoon or something to stir it with.

fun science gender reveal

Method:

  • Chop up some red cabbage, you don’t need loads, about 1/8th will do.
  • Boil it in some water for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Let the water cool.
  • Strain out the cabbage – but keep the water!
  • Pour the purple water into a clear container – we used a fish bowl.
  • Get the mystery gender reveal chemical ready – 2 tablespoons should be enough.
  • When you’re ready, pour in the ‘mystery chemical’ (either acid or alkali).
  • Give it a stir and watch the colour reveal!

 

The science behind this Fun Science gender reveal is really simple – red cabbage water is a pH indicator, which means it changes colour depending on if something is acidic or alkaline. If it acidic it will turn pink/red, if it is alkaline it will turn blue/green! Perfect for a baby gender reveal.

 

 

Science Hat Competition30/04/2020

In May 2020 we ran a competition where children made their own science themed hats. We were overwhelmed with entries and it was so difficult to choose a winner!

Congratulations to George age 8 who made this fantastic light up hat, made completely out of lemons! Lemons aren’t actually electric but can be made into a circuit through an electro-chemical reaction. The citric acid in the lemon acts as an electrolyte, a solution that conducts electricity. You then need to put something zinc (like a nail) into one side of the lemon. The zinc reacts with the citric acid to make a negative charge. In the other side of the lemon should be something copper (like a penny). The copper reacts with the citric acid to make a positive charge. Electrons will always flow from a negative charge to a positive charge so if you put something electric (e.g. a light) between the copper penny and the zinc nail, it may light up!

 

Out competition may be over but you can still make your own science hat. Your hat can be made of paper, a bucket, a basket, a bowl or even – a hat! Just decorate your hat with a scientific concept, idea or picture.

Home science kits can also be purchased through our online shop.

Fun Science Teeth Experiment01/02/2020

Demonstrate to children how different drinks affect our teeth, and the importance of brushing with this fun science teeth experiment. Learn about tooth enamel, the effect of acid on our teeth, and have fun with this egg-speriment!

teeth experimentYou will need:

  • 5 boiled eggs
  • Cola
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Orange juice
  • Water
  • 5 pint glasses or similar container

Method:

  • Place each of the eggs in a container.
  • teeth experiment

    Cover each egg with a different liquid.

  • Leave the eggs over night, keeping an eye on any changes!
  • In the morning, take the eggs out and compare them, careful, they might have changed a bit!
  • Discuss how different drinks effect your teeth in different ways and that’s why it is important to brush your teeth.

The science bit:

The egg shell is very similar to the enamel on our teeth. It can easily stain from drinks we consume. If we don’t brush our teeth at night and in the morning, the food and drink we have during the day is left to coat the tooth and can stain them permanently or lead to tooth decay!

Why not try?:

  • Brushing the eggs with an old toothbrush and toothpaste. Does it help to clean the shell?
  • Can you think of any other liquids you could use? Why not try milkshake or squash?
  • Enjoy this teeth experiment? Why not try another egg-speriment here?

Hidden Object Experiment19/11/2019

Water beads are great fun to play with, but did you know they can also be great for science experiments? Use water beads to make a hidden object reappear, and learn about refraction in this fun hidden object experiment!

hidden object experiment You will need:

  • Clear water beads
  • Clear container
  • Object such as a small toy
  • Jug

Method:

  • Cover your water beads in water and leave them overnight to grow.
  • Drain any remaining water.
  • hidden object experiment

    Put enough water beads in your clear container to cover the bottom.

  • Place your object on top of the water beads and cover it with the remaining balls.
  • Fill your jug with water.
  • Pour water into the container until you can see your object!

The science bit:

  • Even though the beads are clear, their round shape refracts light in lots of different directions so we can’t see through them! Making your object looked blurred.
  • Refraction is when light changes direction when passing through different things, such as glass and water.
  • When you add water, the water fills in the gaps between the water balls and means that the light now bends in just one direction so the object can be seen.

Did you enjoy our hidden object experiment? Try another light experiment from our blog here.