Monday, February 11, 2013

Little Mad Scientists

So this section we are doing in Joy School is on Interest & Curiosity. The Joy School lessons themselves are okay, but I usually like to use them as a guideline. I do use most the stories however. For those of you who don't know Joy school is like a community Preschool for kids ages 2-5, each parent takes a turn teaching.  It has been a lot more costly than I expected and I wish you could just order the books instead of printing them off, but the lessons are good. Since my lesson wants to get the kids curious and interested in science we had a Mad Scientist Day and here are some of the activities we did:

Elephant Toothpaste

The kids loved this one! Now the original recipe wanted you to get a higher concentrate of hydrogen peroxide, but we didn't and it worked fine so here is what we did:

1. Put a small pop bottle in the middle of a casserole dish.
2.In a separate cup put 3 TB warm water and a heavy 1TB of dry active yeast, stir it a little and let it get foamy. If you haven't used yeast before you will kill it if the water is too hot and if its too cold it will not do much.
3. Put 1/2 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide in pop bottle (original recipe 6% from beauty supply stores), add 5-6 drops food coloring, and 1TB of dish soap. Swirl the bottle just a little to mix the coloring in a little. Use a funnel.
4. Use a funnel and pour in your yeast, quickly and remove the funnel.

The kids can play in the foam, have them observe that it is warm from the reaction.Make sure they wash good and don't eat any. We talked about that if we didn't follow the recipe and instructions it probably wouldn't turn out right. You can get the exact science from Science Bob and some changes to make to see what happens, probably best for older kids learning about Exothermic Reactions.

Ivory Soap

This one was a fun for everyone, even my husband was amazed. It is so easy too and your kids can play with bubbles when they are done. 
Things needed:
Ivory Soap
Paper Plates
* Cut the soap into 4 sections, microwave on a plate anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Most things only say that it will take 90 seconds, our microwave must be hot since it only took a little over 30. It is done when it stops growing.

There is no chemical reaction in the substance it just changes shape. Basically when it is heated the soap get soft and allows the air and moisture in the air to move throughout, get excited (like kids with lots of sugar). The molecules bounce off each other in different directions. Get the full details from Weird Science Kids. Ours were bigger than theirs with only the 1/4 soap bar, maybe since it had some shavings from cutting them.

 I had the kids play in it after and tell me how it felt. Here are some of their comments:
"It looks like fluffy paper"
"It feels soft"
"Its like paper"

Grow Crystal's

This one took some time, ours have crystals now, but I put them on our heater vents to speed them up. There are lots of different reciepes out there for this one here is what we did:
1. Each child was given their own clear plastic dish and a 1/4 sheet paper towl (I would use bigger containers if you plan to have them keep growing).
2. Pour 1-2 cups salt over the paper towel and decorate the salt with food coloring (optional).
3. In another cup mix 1/4 C salt, 1/4 C water, 2 TB ammonia, and 2TB bluing. Mix till the salt is somewhat dissolved  then add the ammonia and bluing. Keep it stirred.
4. Pour into equal amounts into each cup, will do about 4 cups.
5. Let it sit overnight, you can add 2 TB salt to in the next day and then every couple weeks more solution to keep it growing, but don't pour it on the already formed crystals or they will dissolve.

You can also use charcoal bricketts, sponges cut up and already wet, or clay pot pieces to start your growth.

Here are a couple more ideas I found that I liked, check out their posts:
Melted Crayon Art  from 52 Kitchen Adventures

Glow Water from Play at Home Mom LLC

Finger Paints from Easie Peasie

The possibilities are endless... get creative with your little ones this month and get them interested in chemistry and making things. Teach them that learning can be fun.