What You Need:


  • Yard stick
  • Bouncing ball
  • Toy matchbox car
  • Poppers

Energy Presentation

What Do You Do?

For the bouncing ball:

– 1 person holds the yard stick against the wall

– 1 person holds the ball at a short height and bounces the ball

– 1 person keeps track of how high the ball goes

– repeat for multiple heights

For the car:

– open their lab notebook slightly to make a small ramp.. roll the car down and measure how far it goes

– keep making the ramp steeper.. measure how far the car goes


For the poppers:

– each person takes turns doing the popper once

– discuss.. what gives the popper potential energy?  Where was work done on the popper?

What Happened?

An object can store energy as the result of its position. For example, the heavy heavy ball of a demolition machine is storing energy when it is held at an elevated position. This stored energy of position is referred to as potential energy. Similarly, a drawn bow is able to store energy as the result of its position. When assuming its usual position (i.e., when not drawn), there is no energy stored in the bow. Yet when its position is altered from its usual equilibrium position, the bow is able to store energy by virtue of its position. This stored energy of position is referred to as potential energy. Potential energy is the stored energy of position possessed by an object.

If you lift an object up, you put energy into the gravitational field. This energy is not immediately apparent. It is stored energy. The higher you lift the object, the more the energy is stored in the gravitational field. So, the amount of energy that is stored is a function of where you locate the object, a function of how high up you lift it. Therefore, potential energy is not only called stored energy, it is also called energy dependent upon position

Alka Seltzer Rockets

What You Need:

  • Alka-Seltzer-Rocket-edit3Plastic cups
  • Film canisters
  • Water
  • Alka Seltzer pellets
  • Pre-drawn construction paper


What Do You Do?

  • Add either 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of the canister with water.
  • Place the Alka-Seltzer tablet in the film canister.
  • Fit the lid on the canister, making sure the seal is tight.
  • Quickly turn the canister upside-down and place it on a flat surface. Stand back!
  • Which canister went the furthest?  1/4, 1/2, or 3/4?
  • Take home the construction paper so that you can now decorate your rocket!

What Happened?

When water is added to the Alka-Seltzer tablet, bubbles of carbon dioxide gas are given off. When the lid is fitted tightly to the canister this gas is contained within an enclosed space. As more gas is given off the pressure inside the canister rises until there is enough force to overcome the seal of the lid. The built up pressure exerts enough force to shoot the canister into the air, forming the rocket.

Tips for Success

Make sure the film canister lid is tightly fitting or you will only get a disappointing ‘fizz’. You should also clean the canister lip and lid between demonstrations so that no pieces of Alka-Seltzer get stuck between them, ruining the seal.


What You Need:

  • Corn starchFHC6D1YFIWH3S1V.LARGE
  • Water
  • Plastic baggies
  • Food coloring

viscosity (1)

What Do You Do?

  • Pour  about 1/2 cup of cornstarch into a plastic baggie, and dip your hands into it. Can you feel how smooth the powder is? It’s made up of super-fine particles.
  • Now pour the water in, mixing slowly as you go. Keep adding more water until the mixture becomes thick (and hardens when you tap on it). Add more cornstarch if it gets too runny, and more water if it becomes too thin.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. (If you want to turn your Oobleck another hue, it’s easier to add the coloring to the water before you mix it with the cornstarch.)
  • Oobleck is non-toxic, but please use caution when doing any science activity. Be careful not to get it in your eyes, and wash your hands after handling the Oobleck.

What Happened?

Applying pressure to the mixture increases its viscosity (thickness). A quick tap on the surface of Oobleck will make it feel hard, because it forces the cornstarch particles together. But dip your hand slowly into the mix, and see what happens—your fingers slide in as easily as through water. Moving slowly gives the cornstarch particles time to move out of the way.

Oobleck and other pressure-dependent substances (such as Silly Putty and quicksand) are not liquids such as water or oil. They are known as non-Newtonian fluids. This substance’s funny name comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

States of Matter

What You Need:

  • Dry ice pelletsdry_ice_bubble-1-300x206
  • Cups with water
  • Dish soap
  • Pieces of cloth
  • Food coloring
  • Balloons

States of Matter

What Do You Do?

  • Talk about the different states of matter (using the attached pdf presentation).
  • Talk about the special properties of dry ice, and sublimation.
  • Put water in each clear plastic cup.
  • Add some dry ice to the cup and observe as it bubbles.
  • Using a piece of cloth dipped in soapy water, drag the cloth along the top of the cup to create a bubble seal.
  • Observe as the dry ice sublimates and inflates the bubble seal.
  • If time, give each student a balloon.
  • Add a dry ice pellet to the balloon and tie it to seal quickly.
  • They dry ice will inflate the balloon!

What Happened?

Dry ice is carbon dioxide (CO2) in its solid form. At temperatures above -56.4 °C (-69.5 °F), dry ice changes directly from a solid to a gas, without ever being a liquid. This process is called sublimation. When dry ice is put in water it accelerates the sublimation process, creating clouds of fog that fill up your dry ice bubble until the pressure becomes too much and the bubble explodes, spilling fog over the edge of the bowl. Dry ice is sometimes used as part of theater productions and performances to create a dense foggy effect. It is also used to preserve food, freeze lab samples and even to make ice cream!

Mentos Madness


What You Do:

Explore nucleation.

Practice developing and testing a hypothesis.

Drop Mentos into soda to see what happens!



What You Do:

Explore the effects of electricity on materials.

Build a circuit to turn a nail into a magnet.

Test how difference circuits influence the magnetism of the nail.

Recommended Lead-Up Lesson: Sticky Static, Circular Circuits, Magic Magnets

Circular Circuits


What You Do:

Learn about how electrons move through a circuit.

Build a circuit to light a light bulb.

Build a circuit to test objects for conductivity.

Recommended Lead-Up Lesson: Sticky Static

Sticky Static


What You Do:

Learn about the structure and components of an atom.

Explore the idea and effects of static.

Build a static structure to make static.

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.