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Magic Colors (Learn about Surface Tension)

What You Need:

  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Dish- wide rim

What To Do:

1) Pour milk into a wide rimmed dish, and let sit until it warms to room temperature
2) Place drops of different food coloring in the milk
3) Place two drops of liquid dish soap into the mixture

The Science: Surface tension

If you place a drop of water onto another surface, you will notice a sort of "skin" that holds the water into place. This is known as surface tension. In this experiment, the soap breaks the surface tension, but the surface tension remains strong for the rest of the dish. This explains why the liquid disperses to other areas of this dish – due to broken surface tension.

Grow Mold On Purpose (Learn about how mold grows)

What You Need:

  • Bread
  • An Eye Dropper
  • Sandwich Bags

NOTE: Some people are allergic to mold; ask your doctor or parents. If this is the case, do not conduct this experiment. Always wear gloves and cover your mouth, wash your hands, and don’t eat or drink while you are performing this study.

What To Do:

1) Place several bread slices on a clean surface. Fill a small glass with water.
2) Take the eye dropper and fill it with water. Place drops of water on each bread slice. Decide on three different moisture levels for the bread slices and make two of each moisture level.
3) Once you have each slice of bread moistened, place each piece of bread in a sandwich bag and seal it. Label each bag with a description of which sample it is. Place one of each of the samples in the light and one of each of the samples in the dark.
4) As the mold grows over time track the mold growth. Decide how long you want to continue recording results. Note the differences of growth in the mold on the bread in the light and the dark.

If you want to conduct this experiment again, try using different variables like using different kinds of bread, stale bread, fresh bread, or bread with food coloring. It is a great way to show how small differences can yield significantly different results.

The Science: Mold

Mold is something that we often take for granted, as something that makes us have to throw the bread away or the cheese smell bad. Mold is, in fact, a fascinating organism which has had many different uses over the years and our lives would not be the same without it.

Mold is another word for fungi whose bodies gather and congeal together to form cottony vegetative bodies. Not all mold is cottony, however. Types of slimy mold are more like amoeba than their cottony cousins and leave a moister, slicker mass on the molded surface. However when it comes to bread, you will most always see the drier, threadlike mold. Molds grow in varying conditions, at varying speeds, in every color you can think of.

Mold can be beneficial in many ways. One of the most common ways mold is used positively is to make antibiotics such as penicillin. In 1928, Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin when he found mold growing on a discarded Petri dish. Fleming discovered that the mold that had grown had killed the Staphylococcus Aureus, a nasty germ, that he'd been growing. The rest is history!

Baking Soda Volcano (Learn about eruptions)

What You Need:

  • Empty Soda Bottle
  • Clay or Play Doh (optional)
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Goggles

What To Do:

1) Make a volcano using the clay and the soda bottle. Use the soda bottle as the base of the volcano shaping the clay around it in the shape of a volcano. Make sure to leave the opening of the soda bottle free of clay and that no clay gets in the soda bottle. If you are not using clay, just make sure the bottle is empty and dry and proceed to step two.
2) Put your safety goggles on!
3) Add about two tablespoons of the baking soda to the bottle. Put three or four drops or red or orange food coloring in the vinegar.
4) Start pouring vinegar in the bottle. Step back and watch the lava flow!

The Science: How a Volcano Works

The reaction occurs because you are mixing the baking soda and vinegar. When these two substances are mixed they create carbon dioxide. When the pressure from the CO2 builds up in an actual volcano it forces the lava to flow from the volcano

Make a Battery From a Piece of Fruit

What You Need:

  • One Lemon, Lime, Orange or Grapefruit
  • One Two-Inch Copper Nail
  • One Two-Inch Galvanized Nail
  • One Two-Inch Christmas Tree Light Bulb
  • Electrical Tape

What To Do:

1) Roll the fruit around on the table to soften it up. This gets the juice flowing inside the fruit without breaking the skin of the fruit.
2) Once the fruit seems softened insert each of your nails in the fruit exactly two inches apart. Do not push your nails all the way through your fruit.
3) After you have placed your nails in your piece of fruit you will need to prepare the light bulb. Ask your parents for help. Remove about one inch of the light’s insulation from the bulb’s leads.
4) Take one of the leads and attach it to the galvanized nail and another lead and attach it to the copper nail. Once you attach the second lead the bulb will light up. You can secure the leads to the nails with the electrical tape.

The Science: Electricity

The acid in citrus fruits conducts electricity. You can use a multimeter if you have one to measure the current that the fruit battery is producing. You can also vary this experiment by trying different fruits and seeing which fruits produce more current.

Grow your own Crystals (Learn about Minerals)

What You Need:

  • Epsom Salt
  • Water
  • Pie Pan
  • Measuring Cups
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sponges
  • Food Coloring

What To Do:

1) Have a parent help you boil water. While the water is boiling, cut sponges in small pieces or shapes. Place your sponge pieces in pie dish with a small separation between each piece of sponge.
2) Once the water is boiled mix one fourth cup of Epsom salt with one half cup of water in a separate mixing bowl. When the Epsom salt and water are mixed the add your choice of food coloring to the mixture. Make sure to only add a drop so you don't throw off the balance between the water and the Epsom salt.
3) Pour the mixture evenly over each sponge piece. Carefully place the pie dish on the windowsill or in another sunny location. The crystals will form as the water dissolves from the mixture. This will take several days.

The Science: Growing Crystals

A crystal is a substance that has a highly ordered internal structure. Crystals can be composed of atoms, molecules, or ions. Common crystals in everyday life are salt, sugar, and snowflakes. Different conditions will create different kinds of crystals. You can recreate this experiment by changing up the substances you use to make the outcomes different. This can be done by using different shapes of sponge, or different bases like Alum, or sugar. You can also take the sponge out of the equation and just fill the bottom of the pan with water.

The Physics of Popping Popcorn

What You Need:

  • Microwave
  • Several Bowls of Popcorn
  • A Fridge & Freezer
  • Three Bowls

What To Do:

1) Place the popcorn bags in various places like the freezer, fridge, and cupboard. The next day you’ll be able to start the experiment.
2) Put the bags of popcorn into the microwave one at a time for the amount of time suggested on the bag. You should have three separate bowls for the three bags of popcorn. Be sure to mark the bowls so you know which is which.
3) When each bag has popped and been poured into the bowls you can eat the popcorn (it may be helpful to have some friends or family over to help you with this task) and then record how many kernels are left in each bowl.

The Science: How Temperature Effects Results

Does the temperature at which you store popcorn affect the amount of kernels that are popped? At what temperature did the most kernels pop? What temperature should Fisher store his popcorn kernels at for the popcorn gun to work quickly?

Resting On Water (Learn about buoyancy and water density)

What You Need:

  • 1 Glass
  • Egg
  • Table Salt

What To Do:

1) Take a glass, place an egg in it, and fill it about three-quarters full with water.
2) Start by adding one teaspoon of salt, and be sure to record your results after each teaspoon. Continue adding salt one teaspoon at a time until the egg begins to float.

The Science:

The more salt in water the more buoyant an object becomes. Salt makes the water more dense. Check out the Dead Sea for more information. Items sink if their own density is greater than the density of whatever they are trying to float in. Items float to the top if their density is less than the density of what they are floating in, and items hang in the middle if the densities are the same. Adding in the salt gives the water a greater density than the water did had before, so the item that didn’t float in freshwater now does.

Bending water (Learn About Static Electricity)

What You Need:

  • A Hard Rubber or Plastic Comb, or a Balloon
  • A Sink and Water Faucet

What to do:

1) Turn on the faucet so that the water runs out in a small, steady stream, about 1/8 inch thick.
2) Charge the comb by running it through long, dry hair several times or rub it vigorously on a sweater.
3) Slowly bring the comb near the water and watch the water "bend."
This project can also be done using a balloon instead of the comb.

The Science:

The neutral water was attracted to the charged comb, and moved towards it.

Sky in a jar (Learn About Light Dispersal)

What you need:

  • A Clear, Straight-sided Drinking Glass, or Clear Plastic or Glass Jar
  • Water, Milk, Measuring Spoons, Flashlight
  • A Darkened Room

What to do:

1) Fill the glass or jar about 2/3 full of water. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon milk and stir.
Take the glass and flashlight into a darkened room.
2) Hold the flashlight above the surface of the water and observe the water in the glass from the side. It should have a slight bluish tint.
3) Now, hold the flashlight to the side of the glass and look through the water directly at the light. The water should have a slightly reddish tint. Put the flashlight under the glass and look down into the water from the top. It should have a deeper reddish tint.

The Science: How Light Reflects Colors

The small particles of milk suspended in the water scattered the light from the flashlight, like the dust particles and molecules in the air scatter sunlight. When the light shines in the top of the glass, the water looks blue because you see blue light scattered to the side. When you look through the water directly at the light, it appears red because some of the blue was removed by scattering.