July 23, 2012

Summer Science Fun

While granddaughter was here we did a lot of fun science activities. Living out here where we do (ie, in the middle of nowhere), there are so many biology experiences: observing insects, mammals, birds, the food chain, birth and death, and more. The other sciences take a little more planning and work.

FIRST - We made a Diet Coke and Mentos fountain. This one worked great! I recommend using a two-liter bottle of warm Diet Coke (not another brand) and mint flavor Mentos, and of course do this outside! I made a cardboard tube that just fit the candies. Warning: when you drop the Mentos in, RUN FAST!

My son did the actual dropping-in, and ended up sprayed with Diet Coke, but it was all fun. Mythbusters checked this one out and had a geyser about 30 feet high; ours was at least 10-15 feet. Very impressive!

SECOND - Our next activity was to make a glow lantern out of Mountain Dew, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, this one was a fail.

THIRD - A sparkly explosion. I knew this would work since I use the baking soda/vinegar reaction to clean the drains. We gathered the ingredients (2-3 Tablespoons baking soda, 6-7 drops of food coloring, 1-2 teaspoons of glitter, and 1/2 cup vinegar). I only had a small amount of glitter on hand - much less than 1 teaspoon - so we just used it all.

We premixed everything except the vinegar in an old bottle we'd found in the woods. (I really think that before we moved here, while the property was unoccupied, teens used to sit on our hillside and party. I have quite a pile of glass bottles, some very old, and others that obviously contained liquor.)

We went outside and poured in the vinegar...

If I were to do this one again I'd use more glitter and more food coloring, and I'd do it before doing the Diet Coke fountain which was much more impressive, but it worked fine. I would also mix the glitter with the baking soda instead of just pouring it in a layer on top. A wider-bottomed bottle or vase might also work better - more surface area in contact with the vinegar.

FOURTH - Granddaughter spent a lot of time blowing bubbles. We started this on a visit several years ago: she'd sit down in the round pen with a bottle of bubble solution while I put the horses in their stalls to feed them. It kept her busy and safely out of the way, then when they were in their stalls she would help me feed. We've gone through a lot of bottles of bubbles over the years. This year we learned how to make bubble solution at home.
1 1/4 cups water with 1/4 cup light corn syrup and 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap. Directions: mix water and corn syrup then heat for about 2 minutes in the microwave. Stir then add the soap.

Granddaughter went home this weekend. I'm going to miss her company.

I hope you're having a great summer!


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