Table of Contents
28. Musical Instruments (Straw Whistle)
32. Secret Circuits
33. Buoyancy (different objects)
34. Color of Sun (adding colors to give white)
35. Repulsion of Like Charges
36. Lemon Battery Experiment
37. Blow up a Balloon with baking soda and vinegar
38. Make your own light bulb
39. Black Magic (colors)
40. The stick-o-meter (sticking force)
41. 2 point discrimination test (bio)
42. Inside-out-Bag (Air pressure)
43. Spider Gliders
44. Cloud in a Bottle
45. The human vacuum cleaner (Air Pressure)
46. Making a Compass
47. Milky Magic
48. Making a Circuit
49. Where does a Magnet work?
50. Alka-Seltzer Rockets
51. Powerful Push-Up (air pressure)
52. Dancing Coin
53. Head Harp (sound)
54. Magnets through Air, Liquid and Solids
55. Airplane without wings
56. The fly ball game
57. Making Waves
58. Magnets and Metals
60. Jumping Rice (electrostatics)
This experiment is composed of three different experiments where each shows how to achieve different pitches. The first experiment is called “Good Vibrations”. It illustrates that object made longer vibrate slowly and makes a sound of a lower pitch. The second experiment is called “Pluck-A-Cup Strummer”. This challenges students to discover ranges of pitch that can be played by plucking a rubber band attached to a paper cup. The length of the rubber band affects the pitch. Holding the rubber band at different points along the length will produce lower pitched sounds with greater lengths and higher pitched sounds with shorter length. Length had a much greater impact on pitch than does degree of stretch. The third experiment is called “straw whistle symphony!” This illustrates the relationship between length of a vibrating object and its pitch. Students will see that a very small change in the length of the straw changes the pitch of the straw. Below are directions on how to complete each individual experiment.
The needed materials for “Good Vibrations!” are a flexible ruler and a table. The first step is to extend most of a ruler over the edge of a table, pressing the other end against the table with the palm of your hand. Lightly thump the extended end and listen carefully to the sound the vibrating ruler makes. The second step is to thump the end of the ruler lightly again, but this time watch the ruler to see how fast it is vibrating. The third step is to thumb the ruler harder. Will it vibrate faster or will the vibrations just be larger? Does the sound change? The fourth step is to thumb the ruler with only a small length extended over the edge of the table. The last step is to see how many sounds you can make with the ruler. Change the length of the ruler and the strength of the thumbs and see what happens?
The needed materials for “Straw Whistle Symphony!” are straws and scissors. The students should wash their hands before starting this experiment. Flatten one end of a straw by biting down on it and then pulling it between their closed teeth. Cut the flattened end into a point. Place the pointed end of the straw whistle in your mouth, press down gently with your lips, and blow. Practice will be needed to get the whistle to work. Next cut about ¼ of the straw from the unflattened end and play it. How does the whistle sound? Then make a new straw whistle. Have a partner cut the straw while one person it playing it. How does it sound? Now experiment and see what the students come up with their own experiments.
The materials need for “Pluck-A-Cup Strummer” are a disposable plastic or paper cup, long rubber bands, tape, and a sharpened pencil. The first step is to cut the rubber band to make it a single long rubber string. It should be at least 15 cm unstretched. If not you make need to tie two or more rubber bands together. The second step is to use a sharp pencil to poke a very small hole in the center of the bottom of the cup. Tie a knot in one end of your rubber string, then run the string through the hole in the bottom of the cup. Place a piece of tape across the knot inside the cup. Fourth is to hold the cup up to one ear and gently pluck the rubber string. The final step is to discover how many differently pitched sounds you can produce with the Pluck-A-Cup Strummer. Try holding the rubber band closer and farther from the cup to change the pitch. What else could be changed to make different pitches?
These three experiments will give the children their own chance to experiment by themselves. These experiments are inexpensive, fun, and easy to do. Enjoy!
Purpose: To determine if all materials conduct electricity.
·Spring type clothes pin
·1 D-cell battery
·Testing materials: rubber band, paper, penny, nickel, dime, quarter
·Cut a rectangle of aluminum foil, 24in. X 12in.
·Fold the aluminum piece in half lengthwise five times to form a thin strip 24in. long.
·Cut the aluminum strip in half to form two 12in. strips
·Tape one end of each of the metal strips to the ends of the battery.
·Wrap the free end of one of the metal strips around the base of the flash light bulb. Hold the strip in place
with the clothespin.
·Test the electrical conductivity of the materials collected by touching the metal tip on the bottom of the
flashlight bulb to one side of the material while touching the free end of the metal strip to the opposite side
of the same material.
Write down your observations of each testing material.
Results:The coins were the only materials that caused the bulb to glow.
Why? An electric circuit is the path through which electrons move. A switch is a material that acts as a
bridge or pathway for the electrons. When the switch is closed, the electrons move freely, but when it is
open, the electrons stop. The only materials tested that allowed electrons to flow through them were those
made of metal. Touching the paper clip to one side allowed the electrons to flow out of the negative part of
the battery through the aluminum tape (conductor) into the bulb. The electrons continue their path from the
bulb through the aluminum strip and back into the positive end of the battery. As long as there is no break in
the system, the electrons continue to flow and the bulb will continue to glow.
What is a magnet?
A magnet is an object that is made up of materials that attract (pull toward) anything made of iron or steel. This type of magnet is permanent. It always works.
Show a permanent magnet.
What is an electromagnet?
An electromagnet is a temporary magnet that only works when there is current flowing through its coil. When the magnet loses its magnetic field it does not attract anymore.
Show an temporary magnet or electromagnet.
How does it work?
A magnetic field around a wire is circular and perpendicular to the wire. To make the wire’s magnetic field stronger and add to it, we can coil the wire. Like shown:
One loop's magnetic field
Now let’s try and make our own ELECTROMAGNETS !
Supplies needed for electromagnet:
1.5 v battery, long thin screw, electric tape and thin copper wire (insulated or not) (about 20 in. depending on how strong you want the electromagnet)
These can all be found at your local hardware store.
-Take the 20 in. wire and wrap it as tight as possible around the screw leaving about 2 in. strand on each side. Make sure the wire is coiled close together and is touching the screw.
-Tape one end of the wire to the bottom of the battery making sure that the wire goes right through the center of the bottom of the battery. Do the same with the other end of the wire to the top of the battery also making the wire go through the center of the top of the battery.
*Hold the battery where the label is and NOT where the wire was taped. The wire and screw can get very Hot.
*The more coils around the screw the stronger the magnet.
( More coils means more magnetic field which leads to a stronger magnet)
Now that everyone has made their magnets, See whose electromagnet is the strongest by letting the screw part of the electromagnet roll around in a pile of paper clips. Whoever has the most paperclips connected to the screw in one lift wins!
31. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Splitting Water ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Grade Level: 3 – 5
Teaching Strategy: Small groups
Objective: To illustrate for students that not only is electricity used to power machines, it can be used to produce chemical changes.
· Plastic cup
· 1 tsp. Salt
· Popsicle stick
· 2 pencils
· 3 x 5 card
· 9 Volt battery with electrical wires
Step 1. Obtain warm water from restroom filling plastic cup 2/3 full.
Step 2. Pour salt into water and mix with Popsicle stick, let stand.
Note: Electrolysis is the process in which electric current passes through a substance causing a chemical change, usually the gaining or losing of electrons. Can you predict what will occur when a current is introduced into a cup of water?________________________________________________________
Step 3. Using a pen, poke two holes about an inch apart in the center of the 3 x 5 card. Place the 2 sharpened pencils into these holes.
Step 4. Attach the 9 Volt battery to the holder and wires.
Step 5. Place the 3 x 5 card on top of the cup of water so that two pencil ends are submersed in the water.
Step 6. The pencil ends sticking up are acting as electrodes, touch one wire to each of the ends of the pencils. Observe what happens in the water.
What do you think is happening?___________________________________________
Hydrolysis is the chemical reaction in which water and another reactant exchange functional groups to form two products, hydrogen and oxygen.
Conclusion: We have used the chemical electricity of the battery to pass through and between the electrodes (the pencils) and split the water into hydrogen and oxygen, which collect as very tiny bubbles around each pencil tip.
32. Secret Circuits (4th grade and up)
I. Purpose: A circuit is a “loop” for electricity to travel through. In this activity, students will learn about circuits and how they work.
II. Materials needed:
1 D size Battery
1 flashlight bulb
18-26 gauge copper wire (sold at home depot)
1 15X26 cm piece of cardboard
8 brass fasteners
Pen or pencil
1 marker for labeling
*Before making your circuit board, decide whether you, the teacher, want to make the circuit board for your students ahead of time or if you want your students to make the board themselves. If your students make the board, have them trade their circuit board with other groups or students in the class so that circuits stay a secret. The students should not know where the wires are located.
MAKING YOUR SECRET CIRCUIT BOARD
1. Cut out a 15X26cm piece of cardboard.
2. With a pen or pencil, poke 8 holes through the cardboard and label each hole 1-8. (this is the front side of your board.)
3. Push the brass fasteners through the holes and open the leaves of the fasteners to secure them.
4. Cut 3 pieces of wire about 6 cm long and attach each wire on the back side of the circuit board to any two brass fasteners. Make sure to connect the wire to the fasteners on the backside of the cardboard so that when you flip it over to the front side, all you can see are the labeled, brass fasteners; not the wires.
MAKING YOUR CIRCUIT TESTER
1. Cut two 25 cm long pieces of copper wire.
2. Take one wire and wrap one end of it around the metal base of the bulb and twist the wire closed. Secure the wire with tape but do not cover the bottom tip of the bulb.
3. Connect the other end of the of the wire to the positive end of the battery and secure it with tape.
4. Take the other copper wire and secure one end to the negative side of the battery.
USING YOUR SECRET CIRCUIT TESTER
Students should now try to find where the 3 wires are hidden without flipping over the circuit board. In order to make a complete circuit and make the flashlight bulb light, the battery, wire, and bulb must make a complete circuit or loop, with at least one of the hidden wires.
To find the hidden wires, touch the free end of the wire from the battery to any brass fastener on the top of their circuit board. Then, touch the bottom tip of the bulb to any other fastener. If the bulb lights, then there must be one or more wire connecting the two brass fasteners. Have the students test their board until they are able to guess where all 3 wires are hidden.
Have the students draw their circuit board to record results.
V. Source: The Best of Wonder Science
Grade Level: 3
Purpose: To be made aware of the principles of buoyancy and
how we see or experience it in our every day lives.
Supplies: medium plastic containers, golf balls, ping-pong balls or empty plastic Easter egg shells, clay, pennies or hard candy pieces (Skittles), paper for flags, toothpicks or masts.
Instruction (optional): The teacher can tell the students about divers and what
they have to do to either stay afloat or dive. The following website, www.uncwil.edu/nurc/aquarius/lessons/buoyancy, gives good information about the Aquarius Sea Lab, scientific divers, and information for supportive instruction on buoyancy.
Conclusion: Students have had interactive activities that help them gain a better understanding of what buoyancy is. Archimedes Principle can be mentioned and be introduced to “displacement of water vs. an objects buoyant force.” Students have learned that weight and mass affect an objects ability to sink or float through the construction of their own clay boats.
Purpose: To show that the sun has all the colors of the spectrum
Materials: Compass (or handout), crayons, scissors, glue and string.
1. Draw two six inch diameter circles.
2. Bisect the circles into six equal parts
3. Color each section a different color using red, green, yellow, blue, purple and orange.
4. Cut both circles out.
5. Glue both non colored sides together.
6. Punch two holes near the center of the circle.
7. Use a string or rubber band, and place it in one hole and out the other and tie the two ends of the
8. Place your index finger through the string on both sides, twist back and forth to see white light.
35. Repulsion of Like Charges
Objective: To understand the concept behind "static" electricity and positive and negative charges.
Materials: String, cheerio cereal, comb, balloon, paper plate, salt and pepper, a piece of wool or felt.
Procedure: Review positive and negative signs and remind the kids that electrons move. Tie the string to a piece of cheerio cereal and have someone hold the string in the air or attach it to something so that it is free standing. Take the comb through your hair to gain an electric charge. Bring the comb toward the cheerio and watch it attract to the comb and then bounce off. (The cheerio is neutral and therefore attracted to the negatively charged comb. When they touch, the cheerio receives the negative charge and then repels the comb because they have the same charge.) Next, sprinkle some salt and pepper onto a paper plate. Stir it up. Ask someone to separate the salt and pepper for you. After a minute or so of trying offer some assistance. Blow up a balloon, rub wool or felt on the balloon. Bring the balloon one inch above the plate and watch the pepper jump from the plate onto the balloon.
Follow up: Discuss why the pepper is attracted to the balloon. (The balloon has a negative charge and the negative electrons in the pepper repel by going to the end of the pepper that is opposite that of the balloon leaving the positive protons to be on one the side of the pepper closest to the balloon.) Next you could let them do the experiment on their own.
36. Lemon Battery Experiment Valerie Walker
For today’s science experiment, it’s possible to make your own simple battery out of materials you find around the house. You will need:
In this case, the zinc coating on the nail is the negative electrode and the copper wire is the positive electrode. The lemon juice, which is slightly acid, acts as the electrolyte. You have just created a battery cell!
You can use a voltmeter to measure the voltage of your cell. Touch the negative lead on the voltmeter to the nail and the positive lead to the wire. It should read nearly a half a volt. If you take the nail out and replace it with a paperclip you will see the reading on the voltmeter decrease. You can also connect several lemon batteries to measure the increasing voltage.
37. BLOW UP A BALLOON
WITHOUT WASTING A SINGLE BREATH
Material: plastic (1liter) bottle
tissue paper(different colors)
1/2 C vinegar
1 T baking soda
Directions: Place a tablespoon of baking soda onto the tissue. Roll the tissue into a tube around the baking soda and twist closed the ends like a rolling pin. (2) Pour the vinegar into the bottle - drop the baking soda into the bottle. (3) Moving quickly, slip the neck of the balloon over the opening of the bottle and hold it in place.
Objective: Action, reaction, result - when the tissue paper tears and the baking soda and vinegar melt, a reaction takes place, carbon dioxide, a gas is produced. The gas expands out of the bottle and into the balloon - Blowing it up.
Key words for students: Expand: to increase in size or volume.
Gas: a state of matter, such as air, that has no difinite shape, but takes the shape
of the container it is in.
38. Make Your Own Light Bulb!
- 3 Fresh flashlight batteries (D cells, 1.5 volts)
- Metric ruler
- 2 insulated copper wires (25 cm long)
- 1 wire twist tie (from a plastic bag)
- Modeling clay
- Small glass jar (baby food jar)
1. Lay three batteries end-to-end. The positive ends of the batteries should all point in the same direction. You and your partner should tape the batteries together.
2. Mold some clay into a patty a little bigger around than the mouth of the jar. This will be the base of your light bulb. Poke your two wires up through the modeling clay base. The wires should stick out about 5 cm and be about 3 cm apart.
3. Peel off the paper or plastic from the twist tie so that only the bare wire remains. Wind the wire around the nail so that your wire is coiled like a spring. Leave a little bit of the wire straight at both ends. Take the wire off the nail. The wire is the filament for your light bulb.
4. Twist the ends of the copper wire around the ends of the filament to attach the filament to the wires. Do not let the coils of the filament touch each other. Turn the glass jar upside down over the wires and filament. Press the jar down into the clay. You light bulb is now ready to light!
5. Darken the room. Touch the ends of the wires to ends of your battery. One wire on one end of the battery and the other wire on the other end of the battery. Hold them on tightly. Watch the filament. What happens? The electrical energy in the batteries is converted into what other kind of energy?
6. Experiment to make a better light bulb. You might change the length, thickness, or kind of metal used for the filament or for the connecting wires, or change the strength or number of batteries. What kind of changes do you think will make the light bulb burn more brightly?
Be sure that:
1. You get off ALL the paper or plastic from your twist tie, it will smoke and burn when you light your light bulb.
2. The jar is in place before connecting the wires to the batteries.
3. The wires are disconnected before removing the jar.
4. Not to touch the wires after burning your light bulb, they are very hot.
39. Black Magic
What do I need?
· White coffee filters
· Black marker (not permanent)
· Coffee cup or sometime of cup
What do I do?
1-fold coffee filter in half and then in half again creating somewhat of a triangle.
a. b. c.
2-Fill cup with water.
3-Draw a black line about one inch from the point and draw designs about it on both sides of the coffee filter.
4-Put the pointed side of the coffee filter in the water. You just need to put the tip in the water. Let the water soak all the way up the coffee filter.
5-Observe what is happening.
What’s Going On?
Most nonpermanent markers use inks that are made of colored pigments and water. On a coffee filter, the water in the ink carries the pigment onto the paper. When the ink dries, the pigment remains on the paper.
In this experiment, you're using a technique called chromatography. The name comes from the Greek words chroma and graph for "color writing." The technique was developed in 1910 by Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet. He used it for separating the pigments that made up plant dyes.
There are many different types of chromatography. In all of them, a gas or liquid (like the water in your experiment) flows through a stationary substance (like your coffee filter). Since different ingredients in a mixture are carried along at different rates, they end up in different places. By examining where all the ingredients ended up, scientists can figure out what was combined to make the mixture.
Why does mixing many colors of ink make black?
Ink and paint get their colors by absorbing some of the colors in white light and reflecting others. Green ink looks green because it reflects the green part of white light and absorbs all the other colors. Red ink looks red because it reflects red light and absorbs all the other colors. When you mix green, red, blue, and yellow ink, each ink that you add absorbs more light. That leaves less light to reflect to your eye. Since the mixture absorbs light of many colors and reflects very little, you end up with black.
6-Open up your coffee filter and allow it to dry. After it is dry take your clothespin and make it into a butterfly but gathering the middle and putting the clothespin around it.
40. The Stick-O-Meter
This is a fun activity to do with kids from first to about forth grade. Have the students work in partners for this activity. Kids know that their daily peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are sticky but how sticky are they??? And how should they be kept to preserve that stickiness?? Create a Stick-O-Meter to find out.
1 Large plastic or foam cup (32 oz.) Ruler
5 Foam cups (8 oz.) String
Peanut Butter Jelly
Aluminum Foil Pennies
Plastic Wrap Tape
4 Small Paper Plates Honey
41. Science Report
“2-Point Discrimination Test”
For students to find out what areas of their bodies are most sensitive to touch? (ex. Hands, feet, thigh, forearm, etc.) To explore the difference in the degree of sensitivity the skin holds on different body parts.
To find out what areas of the skin are more sensitive, have the students perform a 2-point discrimination exam of a friend. Give each pair of student’s two toothpicks. Make sure the tips of the toothpicks are not too sharp, if so press the points against a hard surface to create a more blunt end on the pick.
Have the pairs of students begin taking turns testing different areas on each other.
While one student is performing the test, the other student should be closing their eyes so they cannot see where the toothpicks are. Make sure the students don’t press too hard! The student performing the test on a body part will begin by touching the toothpick tips on the skin several inches apart and slowly work the picks closer together. Make sure both tips touch the skin at the same time while moving them together. Have the student ask their partner if he or she felt 1 or 2 pressure points every time the picks move. If the student reported 1 point, spread the tips of the pick a bit further apart, and touch the previous point again. If the student reports 2 points have the partner open their eyes and see where their 2-Point Discrimination is on that body part. Then have the students measure the distance at which the subject reports "I feel 2 points". They will do this for all the body parts tested. After one student has performed the test, have the students switch roles.
Finger, lip, cheek, nose, palm, forehead, foot, belly, forearm, upper arm, back, shoulder, thigh, calf
After the activity is finished you can have the students look at their data and determine what parts of the body are most sensitive? In other words, where on the body can 2 points be detected with the smallest tip separation?
The students will discover that the receptors in our skin are not distributed evenly on our bodies. Some places, like our fingers and lips, have more touch receptors than other parts of our body, like our backs. That is why we feel so much better with our fingers, than with our back.
*I found this activity on-line at
Neuroscience for Kids
42. Inside Out Bag
1 plastic bag, 1-quart or smaller
1. Open up a plastic bag and stick it into a jar. Smoosh the bag against the sides of the jar, taking up as much
room as possible between the bag and the jar.
2. Fold the plastic bag outside over the lip of the jar and secure it with a rubber band.
3. Now, grab the center of the plastic bag and lift. The bag will not come out of the jar, at least not without a lot
Assuming you fastened the rubber band nice and tight, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for air to travel from
the outside the jar to the space between the plastic and the jar. As you pull on the bag, you create more
space. This means there are fewer air molecules per unit of space in the area between the bag and the jar.
There is a conflict between the air molecules outside the jar pushing in on the bag, and the air molecules
between the bag and jar pushing out. The more you pull the bag out, the less push there is from the air between
he bag and the jar. At some point, even your strongest pull can't overcome the difference in air pressure
between the two sides of the bag. Your bag is stuck.
Cool Business Card
1 bucket of water
2 business cards
1 old crayon
1. Light the candle and ask the class what will happen when you hold a business card over the flame. If
someone thinks the card won't burn, keep a close watch on that kid for the rest of the year.
2. Hold a business card just above the flame. It should catch fire within a few seconds.
3. Place your pile of crayon shavings on top of a second card. Ask the kids what will happen when you hold
this card over the flame.
4. Hold the card over the flame so the crayon shavings are directly above the flame. In a short time, the
shavings will melt. The business card won't even be scorched. This might be a good time to caution the kids
against trying this without adult supervision. No sense ruining your day with a burned-down house and a lawsuit
In order for paper to burn, it has to reach a temperature of 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Crayon melts at a lower
temperature than that. In this demo, heat from the candle transfers to the paper, and heart from the paper
transfers to the crayon. As the crayon melts, it absorbs heat from the paper just as fast as the paper absorbs
heat from the flame. The paper never absorbs enough hear to reach 451 degrees, so it doesn't burn.
43. Spider Gliders
The teacher could then discuss force with the class. Force is an action, not a thing. Force by one surface on another is called friction. An object exerts a force on another object whenever the first object causes the second to accelerate. Our second experience with the scientific method would be with this information and spider gliders that we are going to make. We would show the students the spider glider that we made and ask the students to hypothesize about what will happen if the string that is through the straw exerts a force on the straw that is attached to the spider, what will happen?
Question: What will happen to the spider if the string that is through the straw on the spider exerts a force on the straw that is attached to the spider?
Hypothesis: The spider will move.
Observation: The students have to make the spider to see that this is true.
Conclusion: Our observations proved our hypothesis true.
Materials for Spider Gliders: construction paper, scissors, 5 yards of string per spider, masking tape, 1 straw per spider, 4 pipe cleaners per spider, crayons or markers.
Directions for Spider Gliders: Fold paper in half, draw half of each segment of body of spider (remember we learned a spider only has 2 body parts- the head and abdomen,) cut out body, unfold, decorate, cut straw in half to fit in the abdomen area, tape the straw to the back of the spider, bend pipe cleaner for legs, tape legs to body of spider, cut leftover straw in half, pull the string through the straw on the glider (so two ends are at bottom of spider and loop is at the head of the spider,) tape small straw pieces to ends of string, tape middle loop of string high on a wall or in a doorway, now test it- pull the two ends of the string apart and watch it climb.
· 1 Clear plastic 2-liter soda bottle (remove label)
· 1 Sheet black construction paper
· Hot water
· Matches (Be sure to have adult supervision)
· Pour 2 inches of very hot tap water into the 2-liter bottle
· Place your mouth over the opening and blow into it to ensure the bottle is fully expanded. Immediately seal the bottle tightly.
· Shake the bottle vigorously for one minute. This will distribute water molecules in the air.
· With adult supervision, light a match. Let it burn for two seconds, then drop it into the bottle. Quickly recap the bottle.
· Lay the bottle on its side with the black paper behind it. Press hard on the bottle for ten seconds. The bottle is strong, so don’t be afraid to really push hard. Release, observe, and repeat until cloud forms.
· When the cloud has formed, quickly unscrew the cap. You should see the cloud escape from the bottle. If not, give the bottle a light squeeze.
By following the steps, you have created the conditions necessary for cloud formation: water vapor in the air, smoke particles for water to collect on, and cooling of the air by lowering the air pressure within the bottle. Voila! Instant cloud formation. Clouds form when condensation collects dust particles, which you provided with the smoke from the match.
Information on Air pressure:
Air pressure is the force exerted on you by the weight of tiny particles of air molecules. Although air molecules are invisible, they still have weight and take up space. Since there’s a lot of “empty” space between air molecules, air can be compressed to fit in a smaller volume.
How to measure weather:
Weather forecasters measure air pressure with a barometer. Barometers are used to measure the current air pressure at a particular location in “inches of mercury” or in “millibars” (mb). A measurement of 29.92 inches of mercury is equivalent to 1013.25 millibars.
45. The Human Vacuum Cleaner
Grade Level: 7-12
Subject: Atmospheric Pressure
- Shop Vac or any vac with a hose for suction (keep the vac under 5 horse power)
- 39 gallon or larger plastic garbage bags
NOTE: As the bag collapses around the student, it canb e very revealing, so do not do this standing up. Rather, have the pressure create a ball of the student.
- As the bag collapses, having part of the air inside the bag removed, the student will start to experience atmospheric pressure pushing in on them.
- The ideas that the atmosphere has mass and applies pressure is very difficult for younger students to understand. By removing a portion of this pressure, a student can experience a little of atmospheric pressure first hand. A fun extension of upper level classes would be to have students actually calculate the force being applied by the vac.
46. MAKING A COMPASS
Area of Science: Earth Science
Grade Level: Grade 4-6 (age 8-10), but 1st -3rd grade can also do this experiment
This activity allows the children to construct a simple compass in order to locate magnetic north, or south, depending on where we live.
Explanation of Activity:
The earth produces a magnetic field. The compass aligns with the magnetic pole-north or south giving you a sense of where you are. In this experiment, we will actually construct a compass out of a needle and a cork. It is very important to have the cork and needle float and rotate freely. This allows the needle and cork to find the earth’s magnetic field and this is what a real compass does.
Website Found: http://www.madsci.org/experiments/archive/860218908.Es.html
47. Student Report: Milky Magic
By: Carrie Visscher
1 cup whole homogenized milk
Blue food coloring (or any color you wish to use)
1 tablespoon liquid Palmolive soap
Pour the milk into the pie plate. It should be about ½ inch deep.
Add drops of food coloring to several places on the surface of the milk.
Add the dish soap to the center of the milk.
Wait a few moments, and then watch what happens.
The soap causes the milk and food coloring to mix, creating swirls of colors in the milk. This continues for a couple of minutes.
The milk that was used in homogenized, meaning that the fat in it has been made very fine and spread evenly throughout the milk. When the food coloring is added, at first nothing happens. The food coloring just stays where you put it. But, when you add the soap, the soap spreads out. Soap particles are polar molecules. One end of the particle has a negative charge and the other end has a positive charge. Since opposite charges attract, the positive end of the soap particle is attracted to negatively charged parts of the fat particles in the milk. The soap particles link to the fat particles in the milk and spread the fat particles around. As the fat particles move, they move the food coloring also. This movement causes the food coloring to mix with the white milk, resulting in swirls of color.
Magic Science By: Jim Wiese
Myrna Ingelmo (1)
48. Making a Circuit
What is a Circuit?
In order to flow, electricity has to have someplace to go. When we set up a
situation so that the electricity can flow around in a circle, we call that circle of
wire a "circuit." When a bulb is put into a complete circuit, the electricity will light
up the bulb.
Make a Circuit
*size D battery
*wire or rolled strips of aluminum foil
Arrange battery, rolled strips of aluminum, or wire, and bulb. The light bulb
should be on the top of the positive side of the battery. The rolled strips of
aluminum, or wire, should be touching the center of the bottom, the negative
side, of the battery. The other side of the strip should be touching the tiny bulb.
The bulb will then light. If you have trouble getting the bulb to light up, check to
make sure that the wire is touching the electrodes on the bulb.
Try this arrangement
Place the battery in an upward position. Place the rolled strip of aluminum foil, or
wire, on the top center of the positive side of the battery. On the side of the
middle of the battery place the bulb and on top of the bulb place the other side of
the rolled strip of aluminum foil, or wire. The bulb won't light up with this
arrangement because the wire and the battery are not in contact with the
electrodes on the bulb. There is no way for the electricity to flow through the
Caution: Never make a circuit without a bulb in it. When there is nothing in a circuit to slow
down the current, it gets going too fast and heats up the wire. This is called a "short circuit."
Disconnect any wire if it feels hot. Water can also cause current to flow too fast. Keep water
away from your batteries and circuits.
Myrna Ingelmo (2)
49. Where Does a Magnet Work?
*Items to be tested (paper, plastic, cup of water, aluminum foil, tabletop).
Do you think that the force of magnetism can go through something
Could a magnetic force go through some materials and not others?
Make your predictions first. Do you think magnets will work...
through paper? Yes___ No___
through wood? Yes___ No___
through glass? Yes___ No___
through metal? Yes___ No___
through plastic? Yes___ No___
through water? Yes___ No___
Test Your Predictions
Hold your magnet on one side of a piece of paper. Lay a paper clip on the other
side. Does the magnet attract the clip through the paper?
Follow the same steps with the rest of the materials: Did the magnet work
paper Yes___ No___
wood Yes___ No___
glass Yes___ No___
metal Yes___ No___
plastic Yes___ No___
water Yes___ No___
Does the thickness of the material matter?
What are your conclusions?
50. Alka-Seltzer Rockets
***number 1 hint*** don’t pass out alka-seltzer tablets until you are completely done explaining your lesson
This is extremely fun, loud, and an entertaining lab!! Your 4th – 6th graders will love this. (Be careful, because the film canister pops off into the air and comes back down - there is the chance of getting hit in the head.)
1. Film canisters where the lids fit inside the canister shaft.
2. Warm water is best, but works with all temperature ranges.
3. Alka-seltzer tablets. (broken into 4th’s)
1. Go outside with all necessary elements.
2. Fill the film canister half full with warm water.
3. Place a 4th of the tablet into water.
4. Put lid on.
5. Quickly, turn upside down.
6. Back away. (water will shoot out & the canister pops up)
Relation to Science:
At each point of the experiment, the teacher can talk about the different forms of energy that are being used. (Gravitational, Kinetic, Thermal, Elastic, Electric, Radiant, Chemical, and Nuclear) Now only some of these will be used, but it is important to have the kids try and guess what it is that is occurring during their rocket launches.
Beyond the energy aspect, it is important to tell your students about the chemical reaction that is taking place as well.
Have fun!!!! Hope you all enjoy this experiment!!!
51. Powerful Push-Up
First, fill the cup with water. Make sure the cup is somewhat overflowing. Next, place the postcard on top of the cup. When the postcard is secure, tip the cup upside down. The postcard should remain in place, and keep the water from coming out of the cup.
Conclusions & Connections:
Prior to this experiment, the students should be introduced to the concept of air pressure. It should be made clear that air pushes in all directions. This is what’s occurring in the experiment. Air can push upwards from the Earth as well as downward. In this particular experiment, the air pushing upward from the ground is pushing the postcard tightly against the cup. The pressure exerted by the air is much stronger than the pressure of the water attempting to push itself out of the cup. This is why the water is unable to break the force of the postcard.
First, wet the rim of the quarter, as well as the rim, or opening, of the glass bottle. Then, place the quarter on top of the opening of the bottle. Next, with both hands, grip the body of the bottle tightly. After waiting a minute or so, the quarter should lightly lift/dance.
Conclusions & Connections:
Prior to this experiment, the students should be informed of issues regarding the heating and cooling of air particles. The experiment is intended to show the effects of the heating of air. By placing your hands around the bottle, you are heating the air that is present within the bottle. If the students are aware that when air is heated it expands, then they will understand that the heated air within the bottle is expanding or attempting to get out. In its efforts to do so, the quarter is being lifted to let some of the expanding air out. This experiment can work with a plastic bottle as well, but as most of us know, glass is a better conductor of heat.
First, tie a knot in the string around the top loop of the wire hanger. Be sure that there is a relatively even amount of string on each side of the knot. Have the students wrap several loops of one side of the string to one of their index fingers. Have them do the same with the other side of the string and the other index finger. Allow the students swing the hanger into a wall or the leg of a chair or table. Make sure that they are clearly observing the sound the hanger makes when this occurs. Next, have the students cover their ears with their hands, keeping the string looped around their index fingers. Have the students lean over and again swing the hanger into a wall or leg of a chair or table. Have them closely observe this sound. The sound should be much deeper and more harmonious when listening with their hands over their ears.
Conclusions & Connections:
The students should be lectured on the travel of sound prior to this experiment. The different ways of sound travel should be compared and contrasted in order to establish an understanding of which ways of travel are most beneficial. The experiment is intended to show two ways of sound travel. The first time the students bang the hanger against the wall they are observing a very bland sound. This is because the sound has to travel from the string, through the air, and then to the ears. This route makes the sound more difficult to hear in full. When the students hear the sound of the hanger with their hands over their ears, they are hearing a much different sound due to the direct route of sound. In this instance, the sound is traveling straight from the string, through the hands, and then to the ears. The change in sound is intended to show how sound travels more efficiently through solids as opposed to air.
54. MAGNETS THROUGH AIR, WATER AND SOLIDS
MATERIALS: MAGNETS, METAL PAPER CLIPS, WATER, PAPER AND STRING.
MEGNETS CAN ATTRACT MAGNETIC MATERIAL EVEN WHEN THERE ARE CERTAIN GLASES, LIQUIDS, AND SOLIDS BETWEEN THE MAGNET AND THE MATERIAL.
MADNETISM THROUGH GLASS
MAGNETISM THROUGH LIQUID
MAGNETISM THROUGH A SOLID
Aerodynamics is the science that studies what happens when air or any gas is moving. The name aerodynamics comes from two Greek words meaning “air” and “power”.
Make an airplane without wings.
1) Cut an index card the long way into three equal strips.
2) Put a piece of tape on the end of one strip. Curl the paper into a little hoop and tape the ends together.
3) Put the other two strips end to end, so they overlap a little. Tape them together to make one long strip, and put another piece of tape on one end. Curl the strip into a hoop and tape the ends together.
4) Put one end of a straw onto the middle of a strip of tape. Put the big hoop on top of the straw and fold the tape up the sides of the hoop.
5) Put another strip of tape at the other end of the straw. Press the small hoop very gently onto the tape. Move it around until it lines up with the big hoop, then press the tape down firmly.
6) Hold the glider in the middle of the straw, with the little hoop in front. Throw it out like a spear.
The air passes through the hoops and creates a lift that allows the glider to glide through the air. The air travels faster above the circular wing and has less pressure in the above. The air moves slower inside the hoops and has more pressure.
56. The Fly Ball Game
1) put a ball inside one cup and blow air through the top of the cup as if your trying
make music from a coke bottle.
2) practice for a few minutes and try to make the ball fly outward.
3) set up three cups aside from the one you are blowing on.
4) set them up in a straight line, one in front of the other.
5) tape the three cups onto the table.
6) make sure that your blowing cup is one cup space away from the three cups.
7) label the first cup 10pts, the second cup 20 pts, and the third cup 30pts.
8) now with three tries, try to make the most points to win.
As you blow fast air through the top of the cup the pressure changes into low pressure.
The ball gets caught in the low pressure and pops out of the cup.
57. Making Waves
To show how waves move and change.
- Clear plastic soda bottle with cap (2 liter is preferable, but 1 liter works)
- Food coloring (Blue or green, although any color works)
- colorless vegetable oil
- a small funnel
- glitter, metal confetti, or small trinkets (optional)
1. Take a clean, clear two liter bottle and fill it half-way with water. Add about four drops of food coloring. The more you add, the darker the water will be. Confetti or glitter can be added a pinch at a time.
2. Use the funnel to fill the bottle the rest of the way to the top with vegetable oil. *WARNING* Be careful filling the bottle as vegetable oil is very difficult to clean up.
3. Once bottle is filled, screw the lid back on. For a permanent seal, use a little glue on the threads before closing.
4. Turn the bottle on its side and start “Making Waves”!
*Note: If the line between the water and oil is fuzzy or cloudy, allow the bottle to sit for a few minutes to let the oil to settle.
Source: Soupy Science <http://www.ktca.org/donnasday/creative/activ21.html>
This activity consists of using different metals and magnets to show that not all metals attract magnets.
Coins-penny, nickel, dime, quarter
Aluminum foil ball
Rings-gold, platinum, silver
Don’t Attract: Rings-gold, platinum, silver
Coins-penny, nickel, dime, quarter
Aluminum foil ball
This activity consists of two parts: 1) balancing pennies on a metric ruler in order to find the changing center of gravity by placing pennies on the ruler and moving your finger accordingly. 2) keeping the center of gravity directly over your finger by moving different numbers of pennies along the ruler.
Metric ruler (wood or stiff plastic)
1. Make a chart consisting of two columns (number of pennies and finger position) and seven rows (0-6).
2. Find the place where your finger needs to be so that the ruler is perfectly balanced. Record that number in your chart under 0 pennies.
3. Work with a partner to place one penny exactly on the 1cm mark of the ruler.
4. Move your finger so that the ruler is balanced again. Look to see exactly where your finger is on the ruler. Record that number in your chart under 1.
5. Place another penny on top of the first and find the spot where your finger perfectly balances the ruler. Record this number in your chart under 2.
6. Have students predict where their finger needs to be positioned to balance the ruler using 3, 4, 5, and 6 pennies. Have students try 3, 4, 5, and 6 pennies and record their findings in the chart.
1. Make a chart with two columns (number of pennies and position of penny stack) and seven rows (1-7).
2. Do step 2 in Activity 1.
3. Work with a partner to place one penny exactly on the 1cm mark on the ruler. This is your “balance penny”. You will not move this penny or your finger for the rest of the activity. Place another penny on the opposite end of the ruler from the balance penny. Move this penny until the ruler is perfectly balanced. Record the position of the penny in the chart under 1.
4. Have students continue to place 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 pennies on top of the first penny to find the position of the penny stack that balances the ruler. Record positions of penny stack with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 pennies in the chart.
Students can make graphs of their findings for Activity 1 and 2.
Marlene Portillo (1)
60. JUMPING RICE
Grade levels appropriate for K-1
Key science topic: attractive and repulsive forces, static electricity
Key process skills: observing and investigating
Time required: setup- 15 minutes
performance- 15 minutes
cleanup- 5 minutes
Materials: (per student or learning center)
Paper plate, balloon, and small cup of oven toasted rice cereal (rice krispies)
Procedure: Have the students first experiment with charging their balloons by rubbing the balloon on their heads or on wool cloth. Let the students observe the attractive and repulsive forces. Second, have the students empty the cup of rice krispies onto their paper plates and ask them to charge their balloons so they can attract the rice krispies to their balloons. Let the students observe the jumping rice and explain to them that they are witnessing static electricity.