Friday, January 2, 2009

Fun Experiments that do not require many things, and will make your kids laugh.

These are the experiments planned for February, only a few, but fun little things that we will be doing on the week-ends, or on evenings. We will also be making bath bomb fizzies with Auna, and Xavier, if he feels like helping.

The Copper Nail Experiment:
You will need:
-1/4 cup white vinegar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-20 copper pennies
-An iron nail
-Baking Soda
Pour vinegar and salt in a jar, stir well. Put pennies in for 3 minutes. Clean nail with baking soda and sponge. Rinse well. Drop clean nail in solution, wait fifteen minutes.
The pennies should be bright and shiny, and the nail should be coated with copper.
-Why? The acetate in the vinegar (acetic acid) combines with the copper on the pennies to form copper acetate, which then adheres to the iron nail. (Great for studying the properties of copper and iron).

Electric Lemons
You will need:
-Wire cutters
-5 stiff copper wires, 16 inches long, 14 grade
-4 galvanized nails
-4 lemons
-Bulb holder
-1.2 volt flashlight bulb
With the wire cutters strip 1 inch of insulation off both ends of each wire. Wrap 1 end of 4 wires to its own nail. Squeeze the lemons to loosen the pulp and juices inside. Insert the nail end of the first wire into the first lemon. Insert the bare end of the second wire into the first lemon, insert the nail end of that same wire into the second lemon, and so on. Don’t let wire and nails touch inside the lemon. Attach the remaining two wires to the bulb holder and insert bulb. It lights up!
-Why? The citric acid in the lemon juice acts as an electrolyte, conducting an electron flow between the copper in the wire and the bit of steel in the nail, turning each lemon into a battery.

Exploding Life Savers
You will need:
-Wint-O-Green Life Savers
-Ziploc bag
-Wooden block
Place 1 life saver in Ziploc bag. Seal bag and place on wooden block. In a dark room or closet look directly at the life savers as you smash it with the hammer.
You will see sparks of light.
-Why? Crushing a crystalline substance, in this case the synthetic wintergreen (methyl salicylate) emits light. The phenomenon is called triboluminescence.
Apparently you can also do this while crunching the candy in the dark, but this is the best way to go if you don’t want to risk your kids loosing a tooth.

Fried Marbles
You will need:
-Frying pan
-Bag of clear/transparent marbles
-Large pot
-Cold water
Place marbles in the frying pan and wearing over mitt, heat them over high heat stirring with wooden spoon. Fill large pot with cold water, add ice and let cool. When marbles are piping hot pour them into ice water. Let them cool off, then dry off. The marbles will be cracked on the inside.
-Why? When glass goes from extreme heat to extreme cold, it cracks from the inside out.

We will also be planting both a tomato plant and a potato plant, in order to create our very own “Pomato!” Apparently by grafting both of those plants you can achieve getting both tomatoes and potatoes from the same plant. This should be interesting.

As I said I will be making bath bombs with Auna, and possibly a group of new friends as a play date.

Bath Bombs:
You will need:
-Baking soda 8 ounces
-Citric Acid 4 ounces
-Corn starch 4 ounces
-Salts (Coarse) 4 ounces
-Water .75 Tablespoon
-Essential oils 2 Teaspoons
-Oil (vegetable) 2.5 Tablespoons
-Food coloring 1-2 Drops
-Round molds
Blend all dry ingredients in glass bowl. Whisk or pestle clumps out for smooth consistency. Blend wet ingredients together. Use a small jar and shake wet ingredients up. Then, while whisking add small amounts of the liquid to dry ingredients (very small). If mixture starts to foam you are adding liquid too fast, quickly whisk with more dry ingredients. When all is added you should have a mixture the consistency of wet sand that will clump together. Pack each side of a ball then add some on top and press two sides together. You can actually take the balls our of the molds right away and lay on plate to dry. If you have any left over press in cookie/candy molds for smaller fizzies. Try to work quickly especially if humid, otherwise the mixture will puff up.

All of these recipes or experiments were found either in “The Mad Scientist Handbook” by Joey Green or on

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