Lockdown can be frustrating, boring and repetitive, especially if you’re a scientist. Here’s some of our favourite simple science experiments to do at home!
1. The Tremendous Tea rocket
Time: 10 minutes
Grown-ups like to say that they enjoy tea because it “tastes nice” or “wakes them up”. I’m now able to exclusively reveal that this is not true. The real reason that grown-ups enjoy tea is because every tea bag is actually a tiny space rocket!
For the first of our simple science experiments to do at home, you’ll need a parent to supervise you, not just because it’s do with the tea, but because there are scissors and fire involved. You’re going to need four things:
- A plate
- A tea bag, one of the posh ones with a little label
- Some scissors
- Some matches or a lighter
This is super fun and super quick. Snip off the top of the tea bag, then, carefully empty the contents out into a bin or container. Put that aside.
Stand the now empty tea bag upright, so it’s in a cylinder shape with a hole at each end, like a pipe.
Then, light either side of the tea bag at the top. The fire will trickle down the sides, and then the tea bag will be propelled into the air!
The science behind this one is satisfyingly simple. The air inside the tea bag is heated up by the fire. When air molecules are heated, they become less dense and begin to rise up. As the air inside the tea bag rises up above the air outside of it, the teabag goes with it, like a burnt parachute.
2. The Brilliant Bin Bag Balloon
Time: 25 minutes
Rockets not your flying vehicle of choice? Hot air balloons more your thing? Then dash into the kitchen and fetch:
- A bin bag
- 8 paper clips
- Hair dryer
Prepare your bin bag – you may want to use a plain one, or you could draw on it or add decorations . Tie the bottom of it (the end that that isn’t “open”) with some string, and turn it so that the string is facing upwards. Then, attach the paperclips at equal intervals around the edge of the opening of the bag (now facing downwards) to weigh it down. Get someone to hold the end with some string, and blast air from your hair dryer under the opening of the bag. Your bag will float into the air!
3. The Incredible Invisible Ink
Time: 25 minutes
Spies in films spend huge amounts of money on complicated equipment and complex procedures. This is a little unnecessary, really, because all you need to complete spy work is one of these simple science experiments to do at home. Grab these:
- A lemon
- A knife *adult assistance needed*
- A bowl
- Cotton buds
- An iron *adult assistance needed*
These are the ingredients for invisible ink, so have a secret message ready!
To make your concoction, cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Take a cotton bud and dip one end into the bowl of lemon juice. Dip the cotton bud in the lemon juice, and write the message on the paper. Let it dry for fifteen minutes. Then, with an adult’s help, iron over the message. It will become visible!
This simple science experiment has, once again, fairly simply science. Lemon juice contains the chemical element carbon. When heated, the carbon bonds break, and the carbon is released. Carbon turns a different colour when it reacts with the air. Hence, your message.
4. The Outstanding Orange Observation
Time: Five minutes
If combustible rocket ships and spy-talk seems all a bit much, why don’t we do an experiment that’s a little calmer. Let’s explore an orange’s buoyancy in water.
This one is the simplest of our experiments. All you need is:
- An orange
- A deep bowl or container
- Some water
Pour the water into your bowl and plop the orange in. Have a look at what it does.
Now try peeling the orange. What happens then?
Assuming your unpeeled orange floated, and your peeled orange doesn’t, you’ve just observed the effect of air pockets. There are many tiny air pockets contained in the peel of an orange. This means it has a lower density than the water, and floats above it – this is also how pool floats work. When you peel an orange, you’ve taken away its air pockets, so its density becomes much greater than that of water. Thus, it drops!
5. The BIG Fun Science biscuit dunking experiment!
Of all our simple science experiments to do at home, this might be the one we’re most excited about; it’s the perfect introduction to the scientific method and gives the perfect opportunity to eat lots of biscuits. The Fun Science BIG experiment launched on the 1st of June, and the only things you need are:
- A glass
- Some water
- Three brands of biscuit
Then, check out our worksheets here to conduct your very own observation and test the strength of your favourite biscuits. Children from all across the country will be contributing their results to this – nobody should miss out on the biggest collaborative science project since the moon landing!