Monday, 14 March 2011

National Science Week - Day 1.

This week is National Science Week so Oscar  and I are going to be spending most of this week doing science experiments - I just hope my kitchen can take it!

Oscar is very lucky because a friend of ours is a physicist and his partner is a chemist and Andy and Milena very kindly sent Oscar a book of experiments by Robert Winston, we have a few books of this type but this is by far the best. So armed with his new book, some goggles, a 'lab coat' (a mans shirt that's been altered by Granny) and his science box Oscar and I headed into the kitchen to make some mess.

First we looked at the different states of matter by mixing up a salt water solution and then boiling it in a pan with a lid over the top angled over a dish so that the steam hits the lid, turns back into water and trickles down the lid into the dish.
 Once all the water had had evaporated we were left with the salt in the bottom of the pan.

Next we looked at the density of different liquids.
We put some golden syrup, water and vegetable oil in a glass and mixed in a pea, a marble and a piece of nectarine before leaving it all to settle for half an hour. Once the liquids had settled they were separated out according to their density with the syrup at the bottom and the oil on top. The marble had sunk to the very bottom of the glass but the pea and nectarine were floating on top of the syrup. We made a paper ball that floated on top of the water but failed to find anything that would float on top of the oil.

Next we made our own 'lava lamp' using cooking oil, water, food colouring and an effervescent tablet.
The result was pretty cool but I think we will have another go with a bottle that isn't ridged.

Next up it was out to the garden with some cola and mentos.
Oscar took a seat at a safe distance while Roger dropped the mentos into the bottles.

Interestingly this is supposed to work best with proper Coke but we found that to have the smallest fountain, cheap coke was next but our biggest fountain came from a bottle of very cheap lemonade. We will have another go at this sometime soon to see if we get the same results a second time.

After lunch we had a go at growing Crystals from a kit.
I'm not sure if we failed or the kit failed but we didn't manage to grow any crystals.

So we made some gloop instead.
This stuff is brilliant and I will definitely be doing this at the home ed group at some point.
It's just cornflour and water with a bit of food colouring but it becomes solid when touched but can pour through your hands like a liquid. Oscar loved it.

Then we had a go at making some plastic.

This needs to be left overnight to set so check back tomorrow to see if it's worked.

Next we cut up an apple and put a piece in four different cups. One piece has been left as it is and of the others one is covered in table salt, one in epsom salts and one on baking soda. Then we put them all in a cupboard where they will stay for a week. Come back next Monday to see what's happened to them.

Next up was butter making, pretty simple really we just put some cream in a pot with a marble, popped on the lid and gave it a shake.
Ok alot of shaking was involved but it worked in the end.
It actually tasted more like clotted cream but it was very nice with on our scones with some strawberry jam.

Finally before going to Taekwondo we had a look at some daffodils that have spent the weekend in red food colouring.

It's been a busy day and my kitchen is a mess but Oscar has had a ball learning about states of matter, density, polymers, colloids, emulsifiers and non-Newtonian fluid. He has asked if we can stay at home tomorrow instead of going to our home ed group so we can do some more experiments so it's looking like we will have a fun week. I just hope our house is still standing come the weekend.


  1. That looks like loads of fun!! I'm jealous lol (good luck with keeping the kitchen in one piece too Claire!)

    Julie x

  2. Love all the experiments...esp the coke and mentos one.We did it with diet coke (and the science group) a few years ago:)Have you tried "elephants toothpaste yet?That also flies high and is so cool to watch.You guys have inspired us...we will ahve to do a few this week, even though science week in australia isnt for a little while yet.Keep up the fun:)