Archives for October 2009

Cool Science Experiments for Homeschool – or Just the Home

If you’re looking for a cooler science experiment for the science fair, try 24 Hour Science Projects!

We’re always on the lookout for cool science experiments! Today’s post is really cool to do, and is written by a real rocket scientist – and mom – named Aurora Lipper.

Cool Science Experiment Using Soda and Mentos

By Aurora Lipper

There are generally two types of changes: physical change and chemical change. The Seltzer Pressure Rocket experiment, whereby you pop a film-roll canister off its lid by adding an effervescent tablet to water, is a chemical reaction. When a firecracker bursts, there is a loud noise and a release of energy- again, a chemical reaction. However, the online homeschool experiment I will teach you is quite explosive, yet it is a physical change.

A physical change is one that does not involve any chemical combination, and no new substance is formed. A chemical change is actually a chemical combination of two or more substances to form an entirely different substance. For example, chopping a block of wood into pieces is a physical change whereas burning a piece of wood is a chemical change.

Today I am going to show you how to build a mento-soda geyser, an experiment that I have included in the online homeschool curriculum that I have designed. This is an experiment that has become one of my favorites, and I have performed innumerable times. Here It Is! Remember to gather some of your friends to enjoy the geyser effect.

The Mento-Soda Geyser: Take a two liter soda (preferably Diet Coke) bottle and spill out some coke to leave an empty space at the top. Drill a hole in the cap of the bottle. Now take a roll of mentos mints and make holes in the center of each (about 8 to 10 mints). Take the help of an adult to drill the holes. Tie a knot to one end of a sewing thread and pass the thread through all the mints.

Pass this thread under the bottle cap and tape the free end of the string to the top of the cap in such a way that when you screw the cap onto the bottle the mints remain suspended in the empty space of the bottle just above the level of the soda. Your apparatus is now ready. Stand it securely in an open lawn so that it does not tip over. The best thing about online homeschool is that you can perform all your activities in and around your home.

Now when you are ready for the spectacular geyser display, remove the tape and let the mints fall into the soda. What do you see? The soda will be thrown into the air up to 10 to 15 feet high like a geyser. This will go on for about 15 to 20 seconds till most of the soda is spewed out.

How does this happen? In order to get the bubbly soda you enjoy, carbon dioxide is pumped into the liquid under high pressure. This carbon dioxide gas remains trapped in the liquid suspension and the bubbles are released when you pour the drink into a glass or when you shake the bottle.

There is enough tension between the molecules of the liquid to hold the bubbles confined. When you add the mints, this tension is broken by the sugar and gelatin in the mints. Carbon dioxide bubbles are released and get deposited in the tiny pores on the surface of the mint. These bubbles grow in size and are released out of the liquid. As there are many mints, the bubbles are multiplied and the pressure of the gas in the bottle begins to increase to such an extent that it escapes from the hole in the cap, taking with it the soda.

This is a physical change as no new substance is formed. Search through your online homeschool curriculum for lessons and examples on physical change and chemical change.

Want some more exciting stuff? Your next step is to download a free copy of the “Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Teaching Science” which is filled with great science experiments and activities at the link below.

A great free resource for really cool science experiments and activities is the Homeschool Science Experiment Guide.

Another good homeschool resource for science ideas, experiments and activities, is the homeschool science blog (just click on the Blog link). Definitely worth bookmarking.

Have Fun!

About the Author – Aurora Lipper has been teaching science to kids for over 10 years. She is also a mechanical engineer, university instructor, pilot, astronomer, a real live rocket scientist (You should see the lab in her basement!) and a mom. She has inspired thousands of kids with the fun and magic of science.

P.S. If you’re looking for cool science experiments for the science fair, try 24 Hour Science Projects!

Science Fair Topics for Middle School Projects

science fair topics for middle school

We’re getting ready to roll out a whole new set of science project with science fair topics that are perfect for middle school! In fact, the projects are called Middle School Science Projects. We’ll be doing some cool experiments, and one demonstration. Here are the topics we have planned:

1. How do different hair products affect the strength of hair. Girls are especially interested in doing a science project about hair. In this project, we treat hair, then test its strength.

2. Does the amount of Vitamin C in Orange juice change over time? This is a slightly more advanced version of our popular Vitamin ‘C’itrus’ project.

3. What liquid is best for growing beans. This experiment involves pH and hydroponics, and you get to make your own litmus paper.

4. What makes yeast grow best? We have another project with yeast as the science fair topic, but its a demonstration. We’re releasing this because so many of our students have asked for a science experiment about yeast.

5. This one is a demonstration/model. We’ll be building a solar heater with cans and a window frame. I plan on using it in our upstairs bathroom, which currently is unheated!

I’m very excited about these projects!! Stay tuned for more information!

 

P.S. You don’t have to wait for the new package. Get a free science project guide here.

WANT 5 FAST AND EASY SCIENCE PROJECTS?! CLICK HERE!

Choosing a Science Project for Homeschools

science project for homeschoolLast week Shannon Shannon Stoltz invited me to be a guest blogger on her homeschooling blog. It was my first stint as a guest blogger, but since she wanted me to write about how to choose a science project, I jumped at the chance. Even though we have excellent public schools, I’m a huge fan of homeschooling, and often wished I could homeschool my boys.

There are a lot of advantages homeschoolers have when doing a science project – especially in the middle school years. If they want, the family can spend the entire day doing an experiment, without worrying about the bell ringing, being late to lunch, or missing PE. Reading, math, and even social studies can be centered around science. The experiment can be attended round the clock, if necessary.

Shannon’s family does a lot of science, but they’ve never entered a science fair. Since we have entered more times than we can count, Shannon asked me to give her some advice. Whether you homeschool or not, take minute and read my post Seven Steps to a Successful Science Project. You’ll find advice that will help you as you choose your science project.

While you’re there, make sure you get your copy of The Non-Scientific Parent’s Guide to a Science Project. Download it and save it; science project time is fast approaching!

 

P.S. Did I mention that The Non-Scientific Parent’s Guide to a Science Project is FREE?!

Yeast Science Project – A Page and a Blog to ‘Catch

Yeast Science Project: science project about yeastIf you don’t know it already (which means you haven’t done The Yeast Beast project), yeast is in the air. If you set out a mixture of flour and water and a touch of sugar, this wild yeast will start to eat your flour mixture and ferment it. You’ll know when this happens when froth starts on top of the dough.

This is all explained very nicely in a boingboing blog post called Yeast? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Yeast. And – a warning – there’s not so nice pictures of fermenting yeast! To learn even more about it read this page on Exploratorium.

Yeast is just fascinating on a lot of levels. And a yeast science project is almost too easy to do. You can usually get anything you need at the supermarket and results are almost instantaneous. The fermentation of yeast is a chemical change, and there are tons of different demonstrations and experiments that you can use for your science fair.

Our “The Yeast Beast” project, for example, is advertised as a demonstration, but it can also be done as a science experiment, and instructions for doing it that way are in the guide.

Elementary Science Projects

elementary science ProjectsElementary School teachers almost always require students to do at least one science project before they finish the fifth grade. Elementary science projects are easy to find, but finding the right project for your child can be a challenge. Here are five hints to help you find the best project for your grade school child.

1. Find out what type of project your science teacher requires. There are many types of projects, and most elementary schools give a range of choices. Does your teacher want an experiment, a demonstration, a collection, a report, or a model? Knowing what kind of project you need will narrow down your choices considerably.

2. Make a list of things that interest your child. What subjects catch your child’s eye on television or in books – space, animals, buildings, computers, explosions? Does your child need instant gratification? Consider a chemistry experiment with dramatic results, such as “Which Fruit has the Most Vitamin C?” Is your child concerned about the environment? Find out which toilet tissue is most biodegradable, or which type of insulation works best.

3. Set your budget for money – and time. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, and if your time is limited, there is no need to look at anything that requires special metals to be imported from the Far East. Decide on how much cash you’re willing to spend, and create a generous time line for getting supplies. Keep in mind that you have to actually do the project after the supplies arrive.

4. Keep in mind that this is a science project for elementary school. Don’t choose a project with complicated instructions. You want your child to do the project with your help – and not the other way around.

5. Provide four or five science project choices. Ever notice how it takes longer to decide on an ice cream flavor when there are 31 flavors? Give your elementary school child a limited list of science project choices, and you’ll both be happier.

Parents, get a free guide to science projects– including how to find experiments with step by step instructions – at 24 Hour Science Projects.

Our project guides are easy and fast, and will help you submit an outstanding – and maybe winning – science project for elementary school.

Elementary Science Projects

elementary science ProjectsElementary School teachers almost always require students to do at least one science project before they finish the fifth grade. Elementary science projects are easy to find, but finding the right project for your child can be a challenge. Here are five hints to help you find the best project for your grade school child.

1. Find out what type of project your science teacher requires. There are many types of projects, and most elementary schools give a range of choices. Does your teacher want an experiment, a demonstration, a collection, a report, or a model? Knowing what kind of project you need will narrow down your choices considerably.

2. Make a list of things that interest your child. What subjects catch your child’s eye on television or in books – space, animals, buildings, computers, explosions? Does your child need instant gratification? Consider a chemistry experiment with dramatic results, such as “Which Fruit has the Most Vitamin C?” Is your child concerned about the environment? Find out which toilet tissue is most biodegradable, or which type of insulation works best.

3. Set your budget for money – and time. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, and if your time is limited, there is no need to look at anything that requires special metals to be imported from the Far East. Decide on how much cash you’re willing to spend, and create a generous time line for getting supplies. Keep in mind that you have to actually do the project after the supplies arrive.

4. Keep in mind that this is a science project for elementary school. Don’t choose a project with complicated instructions. You want your child to do the project with your help – and not the other way around.

5. Provide four or five science project choices. Ever notice how it takes longer to decide on an ice cream flavor when there are 31 flavors? Give your elementary school child a limited list of science project choices, and you’ll both be happier.

Parents, get a free guide to science projects– including how to find experiments with step by step instructions – at Elementary Science Projects.

Our project guides are easy and fast, and will help you submit an outstanding – and maybe winning – science project for elementary school.

SO, CLICK HERE TO GET ACCESS TO 24 HOUR SCIENCE PROJECTS!