Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Science Projects

Summer is a great time for bringing out science projects. Here are a few that will energize your budding scientist! Enjoy!

1. Mix 8 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in 1 quart of water in a shallow pan.
2. Blow through a straw as you move it slowly across the top of the liquid.
3. When you've made a bubble, touch it gently with a wet finger. What happens? Touch another bubble with a dry finger. What happens?
4. Look at the bubbles. How many colors do you see? What do the colors remind you of?

Creepy Crawlies!
1. Search for bugs: in sidewalk cracks, on lights, on animals, or on plants.
2. Tell your child the names of the bugs you found. Did you find: ants, spiders, fleas, moths, flies, ladybugs?
3. Ask your child how the bugs are alike or different. Explain the difference between an insect and a spider (insects have six legs, spiders have eight), for example.
4. Watch ants in an anthill or around some spilled food. Explain that when an ant finds food, it runs back to the hill to "tell" the others. As it runs, it leaves a trail that other ants in the hill can smell. The ants find the food by smelling their way along the trail.

Make Your Own Cloud
Rather than tell your children how clouds are formed when warm and cold air meet, show them. Here's a way for children to see it all up close! This is an adult child activity. There's a match involved, so a grownup is imperative.
What You Need:
• glass jar
• piece of black paper but to fit halfway up around the jar
• tape
• hot tap water
• match
• ice cubes in a plastic bag
What You Do:
Tape the piece of black paper around the bottom half of the jar. Fill the jar to the top with hot water. Leave it for about a minute. Then pour out all but an inch of the water.
Have an adult light the match and hold it over the jar opening for a few seconds. Drop the match in the water. Then quickly put the plastic bag of ice cubes over the top of the jar.
Questions to ask your child:
What happened to the air in the jar?
What did the ice cubes do?
What else did you notice?
So what happened? The warm water and the match heated the air inside the jar. The warm, wet air rose up to the top of the jar and ran into the cold air just below the ice cubes. When the warm, wet air met the cold wet air, they created a cloud of water droplets. Instant cloud!

My First Rocket
What You Need to Know
Rocket-like devices were demonstrated about 360 B.C. By the Greek mathematician and scientist Archytas. So while some form of a rocket has been in existence for many years, the science of how a rocket works was first described by the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton in 1687. Newton stated three important scientific principles that govern the motion of all objects, whether on Earth or in space.
What You Need:
• 6 feet (1.8 m) of string
• 4-inch (10 cm) piece of drinking straw
• 2 chairs
• 9-inch (23 cm) round balloon
• spring clothespin
• transparent tape
What You Do
1. Thread the string through the straw
2. Tie the ends of the string to the backs of the chairs
3. Position the chairs so that the string between them is as tight as possible
4. Inflate the balloon. Twist the open end of the balloon and secure it with the clothespin
5. Move the straw to one end of the string
6. Tape the inflated balloon to the straw
7. Remove the clothespin from the balloon
What Happened
The straw with the attached balloon quickly moves across the string. The movement stops at the end of the string or when the forces acting on the balloon are balanced.
When the inflated balloon is closed, the air inside pushes equally in all directions. The balloon doesn't move because all the forces are balanced. When the balloon is open, the action-reaction pair of forces opposite the balloon's opening is unbalanced. One force is the walls of the balloon pushing on the gas inside the balloon. This force pushes the gas out of the balloon's opening. The other force is the gas pushing on the balloon's wall opposite the opening. This force pushes the balloon in the direction opposite the opening.

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