DIY Science: Water Cycle in a Bag!

With all the rain we have been experiencing in the Triad lately, we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to have a lesson on the water cycle!

For this experiment you will need the following:

  • Plastic ziplock bag
  • Sharpie (to draw clouds and waves)
  • ¼ cup of water
  • Blue food coloring
  • Painter’s tape

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Begin your experiment by drawing clouds around the top and water around the bottom of your plastic bag. This will serve as a visual aid of the water cycle and how it works.

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Next, fill your plastic bag with ¼ cup of water, and add about 4 drops of food coloring.

Seal your bag shut, and hang it in a window (we recommend using painter’s tape since it is easy to remove once your experiment is over.)

Now it’s time to let nature run its course! Check on your bag periodically and notice how much condensation your baggie collects over time.

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What’s the science?

In nature, the sun’s heat causes water to evaporate from streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. As the water vapor rises, it condenses to form clouds when it reaches cooler air. When the clouds are full of water, or saturated, they release some of the water as rain. Then the cycle starts over again.

The same principle can be applied to your experiment. Over the next few days, you will see that the water has warmed in the sunlight and evaporated into vapor. As that vapor cooled it began changing back into liquid, just like a cloud. When enough water condensed, the air couldn’t hold it anymore and the water fell down in the form of precipitation.

Remember, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • Does the location (North facing, South facing, partial shade, full sun, etc)  of the window have any impact on the cycle? 
  • Does the amount of food coloring used have any impact?
  • How does the outside temperature impact the experiment?

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

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DIY Science: St. Patrick’s Day Slime!

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Today we are making some St. Patrick’s Day Slime! This is a great slime recipe to have on-hand, and make whenever. 

To get started you will need the following:

  • 1/2 Cup of clear or white glue {Elmer’s washable school glue works best}
  • 1/2 Cup of liquid starch
  • 1/2 Cup of warm water
  • Measuring cup
  • A large bowl and a sturdy mixing spoon
  • Food coloring, confetti, glitter {optional}

Start by diluting  1/2 cup of glue into 1/2 cup warm water,{ really mix to combine completely}. Wash out the measuring cup before using it for the liquid starch.

Add some color or glitter to you slime to make it festive! Remember when you add color to white glue, the color will be lighter. Use clear glue for jewel toned slime! Mix the glitter and color into the glue and water mixture.

Now pour in 1/2 cup of liquid starch and mix vigorously. You will see the slime immediately start to form.

You won’t be able to use a spoon for very long, so get ready to get your hands dirty! Switch to mixing with hands for a few minutes until you feel the majority of the liquid incorporated into the slime.

Place your slime in a clean, dry container or on a non-porous plate. Slime can be played with right away but it’s consistency changes a bit over the next 30 minutes to a smoother looking substance as opposed to the stringier slime you may originally see.

Note: Liquid starch slime gets better with time but can be used right away. Playing with it helps it set!

So what’s the science?

The glue is a liquid polymer, meaning that the tiny molecules in the glue are in strands like a chain. When you add liquid starch, the strands of the polymer glue hold together, this gives the slime it’s slimy feel. The liquid starch acts as a cross-linker that links all the polymer strands together.

Remember, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • How does the ratio of glue to starch change the slime?
  • Does the brand of glue make a difference in the final slime product?
  • How does the temperature of the water affect the slime?

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/liquid-starch- slime-easy- sensory-play- recipe/

 

 

DIY Science: Make Your Own Rainbow

Today we are going to teach you how to create your own rainbows – rain or shine, day or night!

To start this experiment all you need is:dsc_0421

  • A clear, smooth sided, drinking glass or glass vase, filled almost to the top with water
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • A source of light (this can be the sun, a bright flashlight, or other light source)
  • Scissors
  • A dark room

Begin by filling a drinking glass or vase full of water.
Next, you will need to cut a slat in your sheet of paper (you will want to cut a vertical, thin rectangular shape).dsc_0429

Secure your slatted piece of paper to the outside of the glass so that it is centered more closely to the top of the glass. 

Turn on your flashlight, and shine it down at an angle so that the light hits the top of the water in the glass and — find your rainbow! It depends upon where your light angle hits the water and reflects unto the surface below as to how far away your rainbow will appear. Try moving your flashlight closer and farther away as well as adjusting the angle to the water to see the best rainbow.

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What’s the science?

You probably noticed that this doesn’t look like your average outdoor rainbow. The flashlight’s ray contains different colors that create light (such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple). When you shine the light through the water, it bends, or refracts, and separates into the different colors. This is because the different colors (or wavelengths) of light behave slightly differently as they travel through our variables of water and glass. Notice the order of the colors is exactly the same as they are in a rainbow you see after a rain storm? This is because each color has a different wavelength with red having the longest wavelength, and violet the shortest. This is why red is at the top of the arch and violet is at the bottom.

Remember, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • How does the placement of the paper affect the outcome?
  • Do different light angles change the size of the rainbow?
  • Does the size or shape of the glass affect the size or shape of the rainbow?

 

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

 

DIY Science: Secret Valentine Messages

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re making secret messages with invisible ink for you to send to that special someone!

For this experiment you will need:

  • Grape juice concentrate (thawed)
  • Paint brush or sponge
  • Cotton swabs
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Cup
  • Paper

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To get started with this experiment, mix together  1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup  of water. Not all the baking soda will dissolve, this is OK. This mixture will be your invisible ink.

Using a cotton swab or brush, write your secret message on a piece of paper with your invisible ink. Dip your cotton swab into the baking soda and water mixture frequently as you write.

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Let the message dry completely.

To read the secret message, paint a thin layer of grape juice concentrate across the paper with a paint brush or a sponge. You just need a light amount of juice, don’t soak the paper. Remember – grape juice stains, so make sure you wear an apron or old clothes!

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So, What’s the Science?

Grape juice concentrate is an acid, which as some of you might remember from past experiments reacts with baking soda, which is a base. When you paint the grape juice concentrate over the hidden message, it reacts with the baking soda, changing the color of the “invisible” ink! If you can easily see your message before going over it with the juice, the paper may have acid in it. Acid in paper can react with whatever is placed on the paper. This is why some craft and specialty papers are labeled “acid-free.”

As always, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • How do different fruit juices affect the outcome of the experiment?
  • Do different types of paper react differently?

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

 

DIY Science: Lava in A Cup

Today at the GSC we are making our own lava! Well, sort of… this lava won’t burn or harm, but it sure looks cool!!

Materials:

* A clear drinking glass

* 1/4 cup vegetable oil

* 1 teaspoon salt

* Water

* Food coloring (optional)

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Procedure:

  1. Fill your glass about ¾ full of tap water, and add your food coloring.
  2. Slowly pour ¼ cup of vegetable oil into your glass. You should notice that the oil floats on top of the water.
  3. Now for the cool part: Sprinkle salt on top of the vegetable oil. You should see the oil start to move up and down in the glass!

What did I just watch?

Oil is less dense than water, therefore, it floats on top of water. Since salt is heavier than oil and water, it sinks down to the bottom of the cup. Some oil sticks to the salt as the salt sinks. But, as the salt dissolves in the water, the oil makes its way back to the surface!

As always, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • Do different types of food oil respond differently to salt being added?
  • Does the size of the glass effect the outcome?
  • Does the amount of oil change the bubbling effect?
  • Does the type of salt change how the oil sticks to it?

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

 

DIY Science: Growing Ice

This week we are channeling our inner “Elsa” and growing our own ice!

For today’s experiment, you will need the following household materials:

  • Room temperature bottled waters in a plastic bottles, freeze as many bottles as you want! (distilled or purified works best; do NOT use a glass bottle)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Wide-mouth cups
  • Ice cubes
  • Tray with sides (like a baking sheet) or large shallow dish

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If you choose to add one or two (2) drops of food coloring to your water, now is the time to do so.

The preparation for this experiment will take a little longer than some of our recent experiments. Begin by placing the water bottles in the freezer on their sides for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes (depending on your freezer – it may take more or less time). The purpose of putting the bottles in the freezer is to get the water to an extremely cold temperature, which makes the ice formation possible.

If your bottles start to freeze, just take them out, let them return to room temperature and start again and keep them in the freezer for 15 minutes less.

If ice doesn’t start to grow when you begin pouring your water over the ice in the cup, your water is not cold enough, and you will need to return the bottles to the freezer for another 15 minutes or so. We did have to try our experiment a few times to get the water to just the right temperature.

When your water has been sitting long enough, and is free of any ice, carefully remove it from the freezer. Be careful not to bump, bang, or drop the water bottle or the whole bottle may freeze into a solid block of ice instantly!  Place a couple of  ice cubes into a wide-mouth cup, like the one pictured here.

Begin slowly and carefully pouring the cold water over the ice.

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Notice anything different about your seemingly average cup of ice? You should notice a mound of slushy ice forming on top of the ice cubes in your cup!

So what’s the science?

Ice crystals, like snow, need to stick to something to start forming. This is called nucleation. The purified water in the bottles does not have any impurities to start the nucleation process. This is why the water in the bottle is actually below freezing, or, supercooled. If you drop or bang the water bottle, the nucleation process will jumpstart and all of your water will snap freeze. Pouring the supercooled water onto the ice cubes gives the water something to cling onto and form ice crystals. As water freezes, it releases any latent heat (heat energy required for a phase change to occur, such as an element going from a solid to a liquid, or vice versa) into the ice causing the temperature to warm up just above freezing. This leaves you with the slushy consistency that you noticed at the end of the experiment, making it perfect to build ice towers!

As always, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these ideas to get you started:

  • If placed in the freezer at the same time, do different types (brands) of bottled water form a different slush consistency?
  • How does food coloring impact the slush compared to just plain purified bottled water?

Try it and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page using the hashtag #gscscience!

DIY Science: Color Symphony

We are totally milking it for this week’s DIY Science experiment! With just three household items, you can recreate this experiment in your own home!

You will need:

  • Baking sheet with an edge
  • Food coloring
  • Whole Milk
  • Liquid dish soap

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To start this experiment, you will need to pour the whole milk into the baking pan. Allow the milk to sit  for a little bit in order to settle.

 

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Add 6-10 drops of food coloring in the colors of your choosing. Notice that the food coloring doesn’t really spread too far.

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Next, add a few drops of dish soap to the food color drops and watch what happens!

What just happened?

Milk is mostly made up of water, along with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and tiny droplets of fat suspended in solution.

The secret of the bursting colors is in the chemistry of that tiny drop of dish soap. Like other oils, milk fat is a non-polar molecule, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water. However, when you add dish soap, the non-polar (hydrophobic) portion of micelles (molecular soap structures in solution) break up and collect the non-polar fat molecules.Then the polar surface of the micelle (hydrophilic) connects to a polar water molecule with the fat held inside the soap micelle. Thanks to the soap connection, the non-polar fat can be carried by the polar water. This is when the fun begins.

The molecules of fat bend and twist in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with fat molecules. While this is taking place, the food coloring molecules are moving around, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, you will see that the action slows down and eventually stops.

For this reason milk with a higher fat content produces a better explosion of color—there’s simply more fat to combine with all of those soap molecules!

Give it a try!

It is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these ideas to get you started:

  • What changes do you notice when you use a different type of milk (such as skim, 1%, 2%, Almond, etc)
  • How do different brands of dish liquid react in the milk/food coloring?

Try it and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page using the hashtag #gscscience!

This experiment was recreated from stevespanglerscience.com