Convection currents

What you do:

Observe how hot and cold fluids move past on another with this fun and colorful activity!

What you need:

Presentation

Worksheet

Blue ice cubes (freeze water and blue food coloring, using big whiskey-sized ice cubes works best)

Red food coloring

Water pitcher

Hot water source

Glass dish for mixing (1 per group)

Example video

Candy Chemistry

What you do:

Learn about solubility by dissolving candy in different solutions! Perfect for a Halloween or Valentine’s Day activity.

What you need:

This activity was adapted from the American Chemical Society and can be found here.

A Halloween themed worksheet for this activity can be downloaded here.

Clouds in jars

What you do:

Learn about the water cycle, hands on! Find out what is needed for a cloud to form, and what makes a cloud rain. These two activities can be broken up into two lessons, or done in the same 1 hour period, depending on your grade level.

What you need:

We adapted these activities from giftofcuriosity.com, please visit their sit for the full list of supplies and directions:

Cloud in a jar

Rain cloud in a jar

For additional media to accompany these lessons, we have prepared the two presentations below

Cloud in a jar

Rain cloud in a jar

Memory Challenge

What you do:

A short challenge to get students thinking about how the brain and memory works! You’ll show slides with random objects, and see how many objects the students can remember when the slide is taken away.

What you need:

Presentation

Blank worksheet

Activity

Start by showing the students the slide with only 4 objects for 30 seconds as a warm up. Emphasize that they can use any word to remember the objects they want. So for the picture of a couch, the words couch, sofa, chair, seat, or even a drawing of a couch are fine! There’s no right or wrong answer.

I like to re-introduce the scientific method with this activity. Have the students create a hypothesis based on the question: what will happen when the number of images, or the time to memorize, increases? A good hypothesis might be “I predict that I will remember more images when given more time to memorize them”.

As the number of images increases, ask students to converse about their strategies and propose some strategies of your own. Do any students come up with an acronym or a story to help them remember?

At the end of the activity, remind the students that we can improve our memory by training. If fitting for your class, you can also have them calculate percentages, i.e. what percentage of objects did they remember.

Mighty Mix-up – Chemical potential energy

What you do:

Learn about chemical potential energy! Many chemicals store energy, which can be released when mixed. In this activity, we mix chemicals and observe the change in temperature.


This activity is also a good opportunity to emphasize safety and good scientific technique. Mixing chemicals can create unexpected results, so students should only do so under adult supervision. Calcium chloride can be toxic if ingested, so please review the MSDS before using. Mixing these chemicals can cause splashing so safety goggles are recommended.

What you need:

Lesson plan

Worksheet

  • Thermometer (1 per group)
  • Dixie cup (2 per group)
  • Plastic cup, clear, 8-12 oz (2 per group)
  • Baking soda (1.5 Tbsp per group)
  • Vinegar (1/4 cup per group)
  • Calcium chloride (1 tbsp per group)
  • Water (1/4 cup per group)
  • Plastic bowl (1 per group)
  • Marking pen (1 per class)
  • Tablespoon (1 per class)
  • Quarter cup measure (1 per class)

PB and J Day

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What You Do:

Practice writing and following directions.

Understand why clear instructions are important.

Explain to your teacher how to make the best PB & J!

Water Crystals

What You Need:

  • wsac-426-3-23-09Superabsorbent crystal polymer (can be purchased online)
  • Water

How is it Working?:

  • Soak the crystals in water and see how fast they absorb water! In just a few minutes you’ll have a huge bowl of icy looking crystals, only they’re not cold! Dry them out on a paper towel, and you can use them again!

What Does It Teach?:

  • Discover how polymers perform very important functions in everyday life. Sometimes referred to as Hydrogel, they’re used in everything from baby diapers to environmental cleanup materials! Aside from their environmental and industrial uses, superabsorbent crystals are a great way to teach kids about color and light!

Making Slime (a non-Newtonian fluid)

What You Need:

  • Boraxslime11
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Baggies
  • Food coloring
  • Small cups
  • Spoons

What Do You Do?

  • Mix 1 teaspoon borax in 1 cup of water. Stir until the borax is dissolved.
  • In a separate container, mix 1/2 cup (4 oz) white glue with 1/2 cup water. Add food coloring, if desired.
  • After you have dissolved the borax and diluted the glue, you are ready to combine the two solutions. Stir one slime solution into the other. Your slime will begin to polymerize immediately.
  • The slime will become hard to stir after you mix the borax and glue solutions. Try to mix it up as much as you can, then remove it from the bowl and finish mixing it by hand. It’s okay if there is some colored water remaining in the bowl.

What is Happening?

The slime will start out as a highly flexible polymer. You can stretch it and watch it flow. As you work it more, the slime will become stiffer and more like putty. Then you can shape it and mold it, though it will lose its shape over time. Don’t eat your slime and don’t leave it on surfaces that could be stained by the food coloring.

Store your slime in a sealed ziplock bag, preferably in the refrigerator. Insect pests will leave slime alone because borax is a natural pesticide, but you’ll want to chill the slime to prevent mold growth if you live in an area with high mold count. The main danger to your slime is evaporation, so keep it sealed when you’re not using it.

Foam!

What You Need:

  • elephant_toothpasteClear plastic bottles (1 or 2 L)
  • Goggles
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring
  • H2O2 (30% is strongest)
  • Funnels
  • Yeast
  • Small cups
  • Spoons

What Do You Do?

  • Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so put on those safety goggles and ask an adult to carefully pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
  • Add 8 drops of your favorite food coloring into the bottle.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish the bottle around a bit to mix it.
  • In a separate small cup, combine the warm water and the yeast together and mix for about 30 seconds.
  • Now the adventure starts! Pour the yeast water mixture into the bottle (a funnel helps here) and watch the foaminess begin!

What Happened?

Foam is awesome! The foam you made is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles. Did you notice the bottle got warm. Your experiment created a reaction called an Exothermic Reaction – that means it not only created foam, it created heat! The foam produced is just water, soap, and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain.

This experiment is sometimes called “Elephant’s Toothpaste” because it looks like toothpaste coming out of a tube, but don’t get the foam in your mouth!

Dry Ice Bubbles

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What You Need: