The special tool you use to make bubbles is called a “Bubble Wand”. Bubble Wands come in all shapes and sizes but no matter what 2-dimensional shape you make your wand, the bubbles will come out round like a ball (sphere). But what if we make a 3-dimensional bubble wand? Can we make a bubble that is a different shape? Time to find out!
You will need:
- A washing up bowl
- Measuring jug
- Washing up liquid (any brand)
- At least 4 metres of medium thickness aluminium wire (can be found in most craft or DIY stores – Hobbycraft, Wilkos etc.)
- Pliers for cutting/bending the wire (adult supervision may be required)
- Glycerin for bubble mixture (optional)
Method – Bubble Mixture:
- Fill your washing up bowl with water (most washing up bowls hold around 5 litres of liquid)
- For every 1 litre of water, add 70ml of washing up liquid.
- Mix gently, try not to let lots of bubbles form on the surface of the mixture.
- Optional – Once the washing up liquid has been mixed in, add 15ml of Glycerin for every litre of water (Results are best if the Glycerin-bubble mixture is left overnight)
Method – Bubble Wands:
- Get your grown up to cut the wire into the appropriate length using the pliers
- Bend one piece of wire into a 3-dimensional triangle (tetrahedron)
- Bend the other piece of wire into a 3-dimensional square (cube)
- Fun Science Tip! – Make sure your 3-dimensional bubble wands are small enough to be fully submerged in the bubble mix.
- If you have leftover wire, try making other 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional bubbles wands.
- Submerge your tetrahedron bubble wand into the bubble mix and then take it out. You will see the bubble mixture meets in the centre of the wand, creating a strange geometric shape!
- Now try with your cube bubble wand… The bubble mixture meets in the centre of the wand just like before, but this time there is a flat square in the middle!
- You can try blowing a bubble into the centre of your cube bubble wand to create a smaller cube!
The Science Bit:
The bubble mixture wants to pull together tight and get as small as possible, scientists call this Surface Tension. When you blow a bubble, the bubble mixture pulls together around the air inside the bubble and the smallest shape it can pull itself into is a sphere. That’s why all 2-dimensional bubble wands make bubbles that are spheres.
When we use a 3-dimensional bubble wand and don’t let any air inside the bubble, the surface tension of the bubble mixture pulls tight into a different shape because a sphere is not the smallest shape possible.
Make your own snow globe! This is a great activity to do at Christmas. You end up with either a pretty, homemade decoration, or a homemade gift for someone special. Either make your own figurine or use one you already have. All the things you need are easily found and you probably have a lot of it at home already.
You will need:
- A glass jar
- Glycerin (available from the chemists)
- Plasticine / plastic figurine.
- Glue gun or double sided sticky tape
- Optional – small polystyrene balls if you have any lying around (the make great fake snow)!
- Make your figurine using plasticine, or any small plastic figure.
- Using the glue gun or double sided tape , stick it to the inside of the jar lid.
- Fill the jar 2/3 of the way full with either water or glycerine and add the glitter (and polystyrene balls if applicable)
- Put the lid on tightly, you may want to glue it or sellotape it.
- Turn it upside down and your snow globe is done!
Why not try?
- Replacing the glycerine with baby oil, what happens? Does the glitter move differently?
- Try using water and adding an effervescent tablet, what happens?
The science bit:
- Glycerine is a viscous liquid that more dense than water, this means that it behaves a little differently to water! You will notice that the polystyrene balls and glitter move a lot slower than they do in water – like a slow motion winter scene! You can make your own snow globe and learn about science at the same time.
Make a tornado in a jar – That’s right, get in a spin and create your own mini natural disaster using some household items and a bit of glitter.
You will need:
1 x jar with a lid
Washing up liquid
- Fill the jar 3/4 full with water.
- Add in a few drops of washing up liquid and a couple of pinches of glitter.
- Put the lid on tightly and carefully turn the jar upside down over the sink to make sure it does not leak. Use duct tape to secure the cap if required.
- Keeping the jar upside down start to spin it in a circular motion. After a few spins stop and take a look…. You should be able to see your mini tornado begin to form but if not, don’t worry as it can take a couple of tries!
The Science Bit…
By spinning your jar in a circular motion you are creating a centripetal force which causes a mini vortex to form – This is your tornado.
Round and round…
This is the part where you can go and find out some fun facts about vortexes to impress your friends and family.
Photo from en.wikipedia.org
Tornados are natural disasters which are air vortexes. In the USA there is an area nicknamed “Tornado Alley” due to the amount of tornados that pass through the area.
Can you find out how big the biggest recorded tornado was? You will be amazed!
Other than tornados, where else can vortexes be found in nature? Do a quick search on the internet, you may find some cool pictures, facts and videos!!
FunScience Hint: Search ‘Fire Whirl’ on google.
The floating egg science experiment is simple and easy to do. Find out how to make an egg float using items hanging around in the kitchen cupboards.
You will need:
3 x Eggs
3 x Tall drinking glasses
1 x Jug of water
- Half fill each glass with water.
- Leave the first glass of water as it is. Put 2 tablespoons of salt in the second glass and 4tbsp in the third glass.
- Give the salty water a good stir.
- Carefully lower each egg into each glass. What has happened to each egg?
The Science Bit…
That’s right! Whilst the egg in the glass of water containing no salt sinks to the bottom, the ones with salt in float! Infact, the one with more salt in is likely to be at the top of the glass, whilst the one with slightly less salt is floating about midway. But how? Density, that’s how! What exactly is density I hear you ask? Great question!!
Density refers to the amount of molecules that are taking up a specific area. Imagine two rooms, one has 20 people in, whereas the other has none and is empty. This means that one room has a higher density than the other.
But what if we now put 40 people now into the empty room? The empty room has now become more dense than the room with 20 people as there are more bodies (or molecules) filling that space!
This explains our experiment, the water without salt in is the empty room and the egg is the full room. By adding salt into the water we are increasing the molecules in that area. If we add enough salt we have made the water denser than the egg and so the egg floats!!!
Cool stuff right?
Photo from edugeography.com
Did you know…
Near Israel there is a lake called the Dead Sea which is contains so much salt that people travel from all over to float around in it. Do a quick search on google and see if there are anymore salt lakes in the world that are similar.
Experiment even more…
Now you have learnt all about density the fun really begins.
- Put the egg in the water without salt first, then slowly poor salt into the cup and watch the egg rise!
- Alter the volume of water, the amount of salt and use different objects.
- Test what objects float without using any salt at all – Don’t forget to check with an adult first before putting household objects in water.
Do the taste test with this fun and easy science experiment to find out which senses are important when tasting food.
Photo from news.com.au
You will need:
2 x Cubes of potato
2 x Cubes of apple
1 x Blindfold
Make sure that the apple and the potato are the same shape and size, this is very important and you will see why!
- Eat the potato and then the apple. Make a note of how they both taste, do they taste different?
- Place your blindfold on and mix up the two reminaing pieces of apple and potato so you do not know which one is which – You may need a helper with this.
- Pinch your nose so that you are unable to smell, just as if you were about to jump into a pool!
- Eat one piece and then the other. Now how do they taste?
The Science Bit…
Did you know that your nose and mouth are connected? When you eat your taste buds are busy detecting tastes that are sour, salty, bitter and sweet, and your nose has the important job of finding other tastes through your sense of smell. By pinching your nose you are taking away your sense of smell which means that both the apple and the potato are harded to tell apart. Using a blindfold takes away your sense of sight which makes it harder again!!
Get your partner to give you different foods, keep your nose pinched and your blindfold on to see if you can work out what the food is. When you are guessing, consider what other senses might help you get your answer.
Or…Test your sense of smell even further by keeping your blindfold on to see if you can tell what things are just from smelling them!
Well, Christmas seems to have crept up on me yet again! Here at Fun Science, preparations are well underway for science themed Christmas Parties and our Christmas holiday sessions. Read the rest of this entry »