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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.

Tea Dunking Experiment10/04/2020

Having a cup of tea with biscuits is one of our favourite things at Fun Science! But we all know how annoying it is when the biscuits go soggy when dunked in the tea (or any warm drink lovers out there). For that reason, we’ve come up with a tea dunking experiment for kids to try (and taste!).

Are you thinking of doing the dunking experiment? Click here to join in our fun science BIG experiment and share your results with children across the country. 

You will need:Tea Dunking Experiment equipment

  • A cup filled up with warm tap water. The water shouldn’t be boiling for safety.
  • A selection of different types of biscuits, we’d suggest at least four different types.

Method:

  • This experiment can be done alone or in pairs. If you are in pairs, have one child be the ‘dunker’ and the other the ‘counter’. They can swap roles every ten dunks or once the biscuit breaks away.
  • The dunker dips half of the biscuit in the warm water for one second, then removes it.
  • Repeat this step with the same biscuit until it becomes soggy and starts to crumble. Meanwhile, the counter should count how many times the biscuits has to be dunked before it deteriorates.
  • Why not write down the experiment –  the variables (things you changed) and the results on a piece of paper to make it extra-scientific?
  • Swap roles and do the same with a different type of biscuit. Do they take less time to crumble? Or have you found the Holy Grail of biscuits for your warm drinks thanks to our tea dunking experiment?

The science bit:

  • Have a look at your paper and see what you’ve observed for each type of biscuit!
  • What results did you get? Which variables have you found affected the dunkability of each biscuits? Was it their thickness? Shape? Texture? Composition? Did they have any icing or chocolate on top to hold the crumbs together?

Do you want to try another edible experiment? Why not give a try to our Curly Wurly challenge?

Draw Your Antibody30/03/2020

Do you know why you only get chickenpox once? Today we’re talking viruses and how the body does its job to keep us safe from them! This is a simple ‘draw your antibody’ activity for kids to understand how white blood cells operate to protect us against viruses.

You will need:draw your antibody equipment

  • Sheets of paper
  • Pens
  • Scissors (with adult supervision)

Method:

  • On a piece of paper draw a virus. You can make it round, or worm-like, with legs, antennas, five eyes, anything, you choose! What do you imagine viruses to be like?
  • Now cut a specific shape from your virus, like a rectangle or a triangle.
  • Using the part you’ve cut, colour it a different colour and assemble it back into the virus. You’ve drawn an antibody that matches your unique virus! You can draw viruses and cut out different shapes from them. Muddle the viruses and antibodies up more and then match them up again.

The science bit:draw your antibody

  • Our bodies have white blood cells, they’re a sort of patrol that travels in your blood and destroys what shouldn’t be there, like viruses or bacterias. To do that, they create specific antibodies that match specific viruses. This can take a few days.
  • Once the antibody has been created, you will start to feel better. The next time you catch this virus, your body will already know it and it will send for the right antibody, you might not even feel ill at all!

 

Now with this easy draw your antibody activity, you can explain to kids why everyone is talking about COVID-19. It is because it’s a new virus and, until recently, nobody had the antibody that matches it.

 

draw your antibody

Because of this cartoon I used to watch, viruses to me look like this bad guy in the middle.

Colour Changing Milk Experiment30/03/2020

We’ve nearly recreated The Starry Night with this colour changing milk experiment, what will your kids recreate? This is a fun and easy  experiment for children to understand how micelles work while turning their experiments into art pieces!

You will need:color changing milk equipment

  • Milk
  • Food colouring
  • Washing up liquid
  • A cotton bud or a toothpick
  • A container such as a small plate
  • A pipette

Method:

  • Pour a fine layer of milk into your container.
  • With the pipette, add some drops of different food colouring to the milk. Why not play around and create shapes?
  • Take your toothpick and add some washing up liquid to one of its ends.
  • Dip the end of the toothpick in the milk where the food colourings are. See how the colors are spreading out. You can now create some beautiful art in a Van Gogh style thanks to this colour changing milk experiment!

The science bit:

  • The washing up liquid is fat repelling, that’s why it’s a detergent and that’s how it cleans up grease.
  • Milk is made of fat, so that when you dip some washing up liquid into the milk, it will repel the fat in the milk and make it move away.
  • Since the food colouring is on the surface of the milk, it’s moving along with the milk away from the washing up liquid.

Colour Changing Slime Experiment20/03/2020

You must probably know about slime by now. However, we have come up with a colour changing slime experiment, to spice up your slime and makit it different to your typical slime making activities!

You will need: colour changing slime experiment equipment

Method:

  • Put your gloves on. Safety first! The paint can irritate skin.
  • Pour a bit of glue at the bottom of your cup. The amount you pour will determine the size of your slime. We went for approximately 1/4 of the cup.
  • Add a bit of paint to the glue, and stir them together with the spoon.
  • Once they’re well blended together, add a bit of activator until you get a slimy texture: not too sticky, not too liquidy.
  • Now, warm up your hands and knead the slime. Can you see how the colour changes? Or try holding the slime under warm water or on the ourside of the mug containing a hot drink.

The science bit: colour changing slime

  • Thermochromic paint pigments are made with thermochromic liquid crystals. These crystals move closer or away from each other depending on the temperature and the wavelengths of light they reflect changes depends on their proximity to each other. Different wavelengths of light give us different colours.
  • When we put the paint into our slime, it turned it into thermochromic colour changing slime which changes colour depending on temperature.

How Do Germs Spread Fun Science Experiment16/03/2020

Do your kids or pupils understand how germs (viruses and bacteria) spread? Here is a visual disease spread experiment for them to really picture the process and understand why it’s important to follow preventative measures.

You will need:disease spread experiment equipment

  • One balloon
  • Some glitter
  • Mats, newspaper or something that will cover the floor and make it easier to clean afterwards (only do outside if you have biodegradeable glitter)
  • A chair or stool to stand on

Method:

  • Pour some glitter inside the balloon and blow it up, then tie it.
  • Place the mats on the floor and the chair in the center.
  • Stand on the chair and ask the kids to gather around you. You can tell them that the ballon is going to be a simulation for a sneeze.
  • Pop the balloon! It’s now raining glitter, that’s why we recommend you use something on the floor to help with the cleaning (however kids will carry them forever!)
  • Have the kids counting how many of them have glitter on and got ‘infected’. How far did the sneeze go during this disease spread experiment?

The science bit:

    • The balloon pop represents a sneeze and the glitters are all the germs that spread when somebody sneezes or coughs.
    • With the glitter, it is easy to see how far a fake sneeze can make germs travel and how many people can become infected if somebody sneezes around them without covering their face. This is one of the ways diseases spread around when preventatitive measure aren’t applied.

Sneeze in your arm or in a tissue, then wash your hands!

Curly Wurly Challenge24/02/2020

Did you know that the Guiness World Record for a Curly Wurly stretch is 4.26 meters? It was accomplished under three minutes by Tracy Sullivan in Frome in 2015. You can see her record here.

Now it is your turn to try the Curly Wurly challenge in three minutes! This challenge will help kids understand more about a material’s elasticity, while having fun and winning a treat at the end.

 

You will need: curly wurly challenge equipment

  • A Curly Wurly
  • A timer
  • A tape measure

Method:

  • Unpack your Curly Wurly. Why not try this experiment with a friend? You would have one Curly Wurly for the two of you. (Don’t forget to discuss your strategy!)
  • Set the timer for three minutes.
  • Start stretching! Stretching works best when the Curly Wurly is heated up, so try to warm it up with your hands at first. Remember to be gentle or it might snap!
  • After the three minutes, lay the Curly Wurly down on a flat surface and measure it. Or, have a third person measure it while still holding onto it. How long is it? Did you beat the record?

The science bit:

  • Some materials behave differently according to their temperature. The Curly Wurly stretches better when it’s warm because its molecules are spread wider apart, increasing the material’s elasticity. When the chocolate and toffee are cold, their molecules are bonded together tightly, keeping it from stretching.

Why not try this Curly Wurly challenge again with a frozen Curly? Or after it’s been in the microwave for ten seconds? Is it harder or easier to do?

Why not try it with a different treat? Will a Fudge bar stretch? How about stretching a strawberry lace?

Valentine’s Day Experiment10/02/2020

The day is coming! To celebrate, we’ve created a Valentine’s Day experiment for your kids or pupils to enjoy the day too, creating a scientific valentines themed lava lamp. They will also learn about how oil and water react to each other.

You will need: valentine's day experiment equipment

  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • A jar
  • Glitters
  • Red food colouring
  • Effervescent vitamin C or Alka seltzer tablets
  • A stick or a spoon, anything that can be used for stirring

Method:

  • Fill up 3/4 of your jar with the vegetable oil.
  • In a separate cup, pour some water and add in the food colouring. Then add the water to the jar and fill it up.
  • Add some glitters and stir the mixture to distribute the glitters.
  • Add in the vitamin C tablet. See how it fizzes!

The science bit:valentine's day experiment

  • Water and oil don’t mix together. Oil remains at the surface of the water in our jar.
  • This is because their molecules don’t attract each other (in fact they repel each other) and oil is less dense than water.
  • However, when you add in the tablets, the water rises up with gas bubbles and then sinks again, creating your lava lamp effect. This happens because the tablets contain citric acid and sodium carbonate, which create carbon dioxide when placed in water. The carbon dioxide gas is even less dense than the oil and goes to the surface, taking some water with it. Tada! This is your Valentine’s Day experiment!

If your kids like to try fizzy experiments, check out our vinegar volcano experiment!

Water On A String Experiment03/02/2020

Have you every made a cup and string telephone and heard sound travel down the string? You can now transfer water from one cup to another with this water on a string experiment! It’s a fun and simple way for children to understand water properties, especially adhesion and cohesion.

You will need: water on a string experiment

  • Two cups
  • A piece of string, roughly 15cm long
  • Tape
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Tray

Method:

  • Fill up one cup half way with water and drop in the piece of string, let it soak in the water for two minutes.
  • Take it out of the cup, strain it a bit and tape one end to the inside of one cup and the other end to the inside of the other cup.water on a string experiment
  • Add some food colouring to the leftover water.
  • Hold the cups as shown in the picture (do this above a tray) and start pouring the coloured water slowly down the string to the other cup. Hopefully the water will go down the string and not onto the table.

The science bit:

  • Water is cohesive which means it sticks to itself, i.e. water attracts water. This means that when the first water molecule flows down the string, the other water molecules start to follow it.
  • Water is adhesive which means it attracts to other substances, here the string. As long as you pour slowly enough, the adhesive power of the water sticking to the string will be stronger than the force of gravity so the water won’t fall off the string and will travel all the way down to the second cup.
  • Wht did you think of this water on a string experiment? Why don’t you try the experiment again with different liquids or a longer string? Does a more viscous liquid such as golden syrup work better or worse?