Summer Holiday Science Fun!

With the summer holidays around the corner, it’s a great time to learn some exciting experiments so you can wow your kids (and friends, family, neighbours…and even yourself!) with your knowledge and expertise. Why not try one (or all) of our ideas for some weird and wonderful experiments that you can try at home, which will keep everyone entertained as well as educated!

 

Experiment 1

Silk scarf and vase:   How to pull a silk scarf from under a vase without it falling. Magic, eh?

What you need:

  • A fairly heavy vase or other container, which must have a smooth base.  Glass works best, but have something soft like a pillow for it to fall onto while you practise!
  • A ‘silk’ scarf – can be polyester, but must be light and smooth.
  • A smooth table with no rim around the edge – it must be a smooth edge.

Method:

  • ¾ fill the vase with water
  • Open up the silk scarf completely and lay it on the table with enough hanging off the edge to hold tightly
  • Place the vase on one corner of the scarf on the table making sure all surfaces are dry
  • First, draw the scarf along the table slowly, dragging the vase towards the edge
  • Within around 2 cm of the edge of the table very quickly whip the scarf down and the beaker ‘should’ remain on the table

 

(It is important that you don’t pull hard on the scarf - you have to whip down!  This is the part you may need to practise!

 

What it teaches you about science: How acceleration can overcome friction

 

Experiment 2

 

Thixotropic Substance:  Is it liquid, or is it solid?

What you need:

  • Washing up bowl
  • Cornflour/custard powder
  • Water
  • Food colouring (for added effect!)

This investigation is a lot of fun and very messy!

Method: (With sleeves rolled up!)

  • Measure about three tablespoons of the cornflour or custard powder into the plastic bowl
  • Carefully add water, ½ teaspoon at a time, and mix until it can be picked up as a semi crumbly ball and rolled in the hand
  • With care, add drops of water until you can make a ball that holds together
  • Then quickly open your hands holding the ball in your palm, and it should ‘magically’ turn to liquid!
  • Allow the ‘liquid’ to run back into the bowl, and then hit it hard with the palm of your hand – you’d expect it to splash, but it doesn’t!

 

What it teaches you about science:  How a substance can change its state without heat.

 

Experiment 3

 

Effervescent Rocket Popper:  Watch the canister get thrown up into the air!

What you need:

  • A plastic film canister
  • Vitamin C tablets
  • Washing up bowl
  • Water
  • Measuring jug or cylinder
  • Stopwatch

Method:

  • Break off half a tablet of Vitamin C and place it in the dry film canister
  • Pour about a third of the canister’s volume in water into the canister
  • Place the lid onto the canister. A snap can be heard otherwise the lid may not be on properly
  • Turn the canister upside down and place it in the bowl
  • Stand back and watch!

What it teaches you about science: Critical thinking can be encouraged by measuring the materials, and measuring the time it takes to explode.

 

Learn about Astrophysics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry: how to make scale-sized planets from Playdough, and see how far they are from the sun in comparison with each other; make a model lung; build a car that’s powered by balloons! 

Discover all this and more, by signing up for our FREE ‘Science Made Fun!’ taster session in Sheffield during July, or our 5 session Physics course in Rotherham starting in September.

Sheffield - click here

Rotherham - click here