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Mind-Boggling Bubbles: 3-Dimensional Bubble Wand!04/06/2019

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:3D bubble wand kit

  • 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.

The Experiment:

  • 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!

3D bubble wands

  • 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.

 

Fun Science Frozen Yoghurt In A Bag Experiment30/07/2018

Make frozen yoghurt at home without an ice cream maker! A great fun science experiment to really get kids thinking about the food they enjoy with frozen yoghurt in a bagonly 3 ingredients!

You will need:

  • Yoghurt/mousse (chocolate mousse makes a particularly delicious chocolate frozen yoghurt)
  • Large food bag x 2
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt

Method:

  • Pour the entire carton of yoghurt/multiple cartons of yoghurt into a large food bag until it is around 1/3rd full and seal.
  • Fill the other bag 1/2 full with ice cubes and 2 cups of salt.
  • Place the bag of yoghurt into the bag of ice and seal the bag of ice
  • Wrap the bag in a teatowel or wear gloves for the next bit as it’s going to get chilly!
  • Shake, squeeze and have fun with the bag – you could even play catch with it! Keep doing this for around 5 minutes until the yoghurt has turned to frozen yoghurt!
  • Grab a spoon and dig in

The Science Bit:

How what why?! Just like in the winter when we put salt on the roads, salt lowers the temperature at which water can freeze. Adding the salt to the ice means that inside the bag, temperatures can reach -5 degrees Celsius. This is cold enough to cause yoghurt inside the inner bag to freeze. The constant squishing means that the ice-cream won’t freeze in a sheet and become crystallised and turns into delicious frozen yoghurt!

 

Make a tornado in a jar!10/05/2018

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:tornado experiment

1 x jar with a lid

Duct tape

Water

Washing up liquid

Glitter

 

Method:

  • 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.

Tornado in a bottle

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 Naked Egg13/04/2016

The Naked Egg is a fantastically fun and interesting experiment that is easy to do using household items from your kitchen cupboards!

The Naked Egg

Photo from Steve Spangler Science

You will need…

  • One egg
  • Bottle of white vinegar
  • Container big enough for your egg

 

Method:

  • Place your egg in your container and carefully pour in some of the white vinegar until the egg is covered.
  • Put the container somewhere safe and leave it alone for 48 hours.
  • Once the time is up, remove the egg carefully. What has happened?
The Naked Egg

Photo from Steve Spangler Science

The Science Bit:

Vinegar is acidic and the shell of the egg is made of calcium carbonate, when combined there is a chemical reaction in which the vinegar eats away at the eggshell, but leaves the membrane so you end up with a naked egg!

 

Experiment even more:

This experiment takes a bit of time, but there is lots you can do to keep you occupied.

For example, make a diary, take photos and keep a record of what happens to the egg from start to finish.

  • Did the egg change shape, size or colour?
  • What was the texture of the egg like after 24 hours?
  • What happens if you leave it for a whole week?
  • What did you notice about the shell when it was in the vinegar?
  • Shine a torch through the egg, what does it look like?

 

Floating Egg Science Experiment03/02/2016

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:Floating Egg Science Experiment

3 x Eggs

3 x Tall drinking glasses

1 x Jug of water

Table Salt

Measuring spoon

 

Method:

  • 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!!

DensitFloating Egg Science Experimenty 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?

Floating Egg Science Experiment

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 Test30/01/2016

Do the taste test with this fun and easy science experiment to find out which senses are important when tasting food.

Taste test

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!

Method:

  • 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!!

Experiment more…

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!

The Exploding Lunchbag!30/01/2016

The Exploding Lunchbag is a super simple and super fun experiment to do with lots of fizzing and popping! Things can get messy so this is one for outdoors, but if that’s not possible the kitchen sink or bath will do.

You will need:The Exploding Lunchbag

1 x Zip up lunch or freezer bag

1/2 Cup of vinegar

1/4 Cup of warm water

1 x Tissue

3 teaspoons of baking powder

 

 

The Exploding Lunchbag

 Method:

  •  Scoop 3tsp of baking powder onto the centre of the tissue and then fold   the tissue over to make a small parcel.
  • Pour all the vinegar and all the warm water into the lunch bag. Then zip the bag up leaving a big enough gap to fit the tissue in.
  • Put the tissue into the mixture, quickly zip the bag up and let the fizzing begin!
  • Stand back and wait for the POP!

 

The Exploding Lunchbag

 

The science bit…

So, what causes all that fizzing and popping? Mixing the vinegar, the baking powder and the warm water together creates a chemical reaction (fizzzzz) which produces a gas called carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide takes up a lot of space and the bag begins to expand almost like a balloon being filled with air. If the bag is not big enough? Well, that is your pop!!

 

Experiment even more…

You may find that on your first go you get a whole lot of fizzing and not a lot of popping. If this is the case try changing the amount of vinegar, water and baking soda. By altering these ingredients you are likely to see a different result. What happens if you use more tissue or no tissue at all? Record all your findings to see if you can work out what creates more of a fizz and more of a pop.

 

 

Top 5 Festive Science Experiments08/12/2015

It’s that time of year again! To help you keep the kids occupied in the exciting run up to christmas, we have compiled our top 5 festive science experiments!

1 – Peppermint Creams

Make a delicious treat whilst exploring changing state from solid to liquid and back again!

You will need:

    • 225g Icing sugar
    • 115g Condensed milk
    • Peppermint extract
    • 55g plain chocolate
peppermint creams festive science experiment

Picture from Science Sparks

Method:

  • Mix the icing sugar, condensed milk and a few drops of peppermint extract until smooth. You can use a spoon, but it is more fun to knead it with your hands!
  • Roll out the ‘dough’ , it can be as thick or thin as you want, and use biscuit cutters to shape your peppermint creams.
  • Leave for a few hours until hard.
  • Melt the chocolate (an adult may need to assist with this) and drizzle over the peppermint creams, watch how the chocolate hardens!

The Science Bit:

When you heat the chocolate, it provides the particles with energy and makes them vibrate and then break apart, which is why the chocolate changes from a solid to a liquid when melted. When it begins to cool, the bonds between the particles reform and it becomes a solid again.

 

The reason this happens is because when you provide heat the particles that make up the solid are given energy which cause them to vibrate and then break the bonds holding them together. As they cool they lose this energy and so forms bonds again but not in the same shape…this is why we can mould chocolate and other substances!

Thanks to Science Sparks for this tasty experiment!

2- Snow Storm in a Glass

Make your own mini snow storm with this fun, simple experiment that you can do over and over again!

You will need:

  • A glass or jar
snow storm jar

Photo from Growing a Jewelled Rose

  • Oil
  • White paint
  • Glitter
  • Alka Seltzer or effervescent vitamin tablets.

Method:

  • Fill the glass 3/4 full with oil.
  • In a jug, mix warm water and white paint until the water is white.
  • Pour the water/paint mix into the glass with the oil until the glass is almost full.
  • Sprinkle in some glitter!
  • Wait for the water and glitter to settle at the bottom.
  • Break one of the tablets into pieces.
  • Drop a piece of tablet into the jar and watch!
  • Repeat as many times as you want!

The Science Bit:

Because water is more dense than oil, they don’t mix and that is also why the water sinks to the bottom, underneath the oil. When the tablet comes into contact with the water a chemical reaction occurs which makes carbon dioxide, which is why it makes bubbles. These bubbles and trying to escape which is why they move upwards, taking some of the water, paint and glitter with it!

Thanks to Growing a Jewelled Rose for this experiment!

3- Crystal Snowflakes

If you loved the snow storm in a jar, why not delve even deeper and make your own snowflake! These make great tree decorations, whilst learning about how snowflakes form!

You will need:

crystal snowflake

Photo from Blissfully Domestic

  • A jar
  • Pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Pencil
  • Sugar

Method:

  • Make a simple snowflake using the pipe cleaners, leaving one ‘branch’ slightly longer.
  • Make a loop using the string and bend the end of the longer pipe cleaner through the loop.
  • Put the pencil through the loop and suspend the snowflake in the jar, with the pencil resting on top, this ensures the snowflake doesn’t touch the bottom or side of the jar.
crystal snowflake

Photo from Blissfully Domestic

  • Make a mark on the jar so you know how much solution you will need to add to the jar to cover the snowflake.
  • *Adult needed* Add 3 cups of boiling water to a jug and add 3 tablespoons of sugar for each cup of water, stirring between each tablespoon.
  • Remove the snowflake, add the solution to the jar, then reinsert the snowflake.
  • Leave the jar for a few days.
  •  Remove the Snowflake from the jar and leave it to try on a paper towel.

The Science Bit:

The crystals form by something called ‘nucleation’ , the sugar molecules stick to the pipe cleaners and, as more molecules stick, crystals start to form.

Note: If you don’t want to wait days for your snowflakes, you can use borax instead of sugar, however it is harder to buy (you will probably have to order it online) and should never be ingested. With borax the snowflakes will form in only a few hours.

Thanks to Blissfully Domestic for this experiment!

4- Chromatography Christmas Ornaments

Put some Fun Science in your christmas tree this year with these easy and scientific christmas chromotography!

You will need:

  • Filter paper (coffee filters work)
  • Scissors
  • Washable felt tips
  • Water
  • Glass/cup
  • Dropper (pipette or something similar)
chromatography ornaments

Photo from Inspiration Laboratories

  • String

Method:

  • Cut shapes out of the filter paper, be as christmassy as you want! simple circles are the easiest and make great baubles.
  • Draw a dot, or several dots, in the centre of the filter paper (colours are up to you, but black produces a good tie-dye pattern!)
  • Put the filter paper on top of the cup so that it is not touching a surface. Drop a few drops of water onto the middle of the paper and watch what happens!
  • Let the filter paper dry.
  • Turn your filter paper into ornaments by adding string, or ribbon etc.

The Science Bit:

The water moves through the paper by capillary action and when it meets the ink it dissolves it, the ink then travels with the water and separates into its different components, as colours inks are usually made of several different colours.

Thanks to Inspiration Laboratories for this experiment!

5 – Erupting Snow

We love getting messy and so do most kids! This erupting snow experiment is great to get stuck into whilst getting into the festive mood!

You will need:

  • 500g Bicarbonate of soda
    erupting snow

    Photo from Paging Fun Mums

  • Shaving foam
  • Glitter
  • White vinegar

Method:

  • Put the bicarb of soda into a big mixing bowl
  • Add the shaving foam until you have a good, snowy consistency.
  • Add some glitter and stir.
    erupting snow

    Photo from Paging Fun Mums

  • The next part is up to you, you can leave it as it is in the bowl, or you can have a play with it! Can you make a snowman?
  • When you are ready, pour some vinegar over your snow and watch it fizz and bubble! (you may want to do this outside or over a tray)

 

 

 

The Science Bit:

Bicarbonate of soda is an alkali, and vinegar is an acid. Acids and alkalis are opposites and when you mix them it causes a chemical reaction which creates carbon dioxide bubbles that all try to rush to the surface at once, which is why the ‘snow’ bubbles!

Thanks to Paging Fun Mums for this bubbly experiment!

Building a Mars Rover at @Bristol08/10/2013

There can’t be many people who can say that at work today they build a Mars rover! But that’s exactly what I was involved with when I volunteered for a morning at @Bristol science museum in Bristol. Admittedly the ‘rovers’ were remote controlled cars with velcro strips for attaching cameras, batteries and antennae (all plastic but all very good imitations!) but for the children they were aimed at they were perfect! 


Children first got the chance to choose what to attach to their rover. How many cameras would they need? Many initially went for one facing each way but then realized that they would need two pointing in each direction to get any kind of depth perception. Children also had to decide how to power their Rover. Nuclear generators create a lot of power but are expensive and would only last for two years, batteries can store energy but do not last long and too many would be very heavy whereas solar panels can receive energy from the sun but cannot store it. In the end most children decided upon all three! We also had to work out how to transmit any information we picked up back to Earth. Did we want to use a satellite which is very heavy but can transmit data directly to Earth or an antennae which is lighter but can only send information a short distance to a nearby satellite? There were lots of decisions to be made!

After the Rover was filled with numerous plastic models children were given the chance to build their own scoop out of Knex before driving their Rover over Mars! Ok, well it wasn’t quite Mars but a specially made cardboard surface with numerous rocks made a very good alternative. As the Rovers bumped into cones, rock samples were knocked off into the children’s scoops. It was all very clever!

The final step was to analyse the rocks. Were they smooth? If they were this could provide strong evidence that they had once been surrounded by water. Also, if they fizzed when nutrients was added to them we could determine that there may well be life forms within the rock. Children were able to complete all experiments themselves before deciding whether they thought there was life on Mars based on the evidence they had collected. The general consensus was that it is possible but further tests are needed. 

I had a brilliant time the day I went to @Bristol and I know lots of children did too! If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Mars Lab exhibit at @Bristol then make sure you get down there as soon as possible as the exhibit closes on the 14th October. Visit //www.at-bristol.org.uk/ to find out more.