Sunday, March 30, 2014

Program: Mad Science Monday

For October's installment of Mad Science Monday, I wanted to do a Halloween edition. However, I decided this and promoted it before I had really come up with good experiments. So, I wasn't entirely thrilled with what we ended up doing. However, the kids loved the experiments so, really, everything worked out. Here's what we did.

Screaming balloons - an experiment I found from Steve Spangler, this is probably the ones that the kids were the least enthusiastic about. It's a very simple experiment, but the title is misleading, which is why I think the kids didn't love this one as much. You simply drop a hex nut in an deflated balloon and then carefully inflate and tie off the balloon (carefully because you don't want to inhale the nut!). Then you hold the balloon by the bottom and move it in a circular motion. Once you get the nut spinning properly, it sounds like the balloon is screaming. Well, not really. It sounds more like a high-pitched buzzing noise. I had the kids explain to me what was happening and they were spot-on with the science, so that was a very nice part of the program.

Fake blood - this was probably what I was least enthusiastic about because we have made fake blood many, many times in many kinds of programs. However, do kids ever really get sick of making fake blood? It is pretty cool, after all. They all made a baggie full to take home.

Ghost bubbles - yet another Steve Spangler experiment, this was definitely the highlight of the program. It almost didn't happen, though, as the grocery store I intended to purchase dry ice from was out of stock, leading to me frantically finding another place to buy it from. I did manage to acquire the dry ice, so the experiment was a go. This is another really simple experiment, but it's a little less exciting because the kids didn't get to try it hands-on. As dry ice is dangerous, they watched me perform the experiment. It involves putting a chunk of dry ice in a bowl half full of warm water. The dry ice begins to evaporate. Then, you take a long piece of rag (I used the hem of an old t-shirt) soaked in dish soap and stretch it across the width of the bowl. Drag the rag slowly across the rim of the bowl. This will create a soap film. The soap film traps the smoke from the evaporating dry ice, stretching and creating a giant smoke filled bubble on top of the bowl. The kids had a great time with this, counting how long before the bubble burst and seeing if they could predict when it would pop. I also let them all take turns popping a bubble, which they enjoyed.

And that was Mad Science Halloween! Any suggestions for next year?

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