EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — We are heading into the second week of no school for students all across the state. Parents have a unique challenge right now to keep their kids busy and engaged while staying home from school. One solution could be some simple science experiments!
Hello Wisconsin has teamed up with Deb Zehms, a former educator and Hannah Zehms, the STEM educator at the Eau Claire Children’s Museum to try some easy experiments you can do at home.
Leak-Proof Bag Experiment
Ziploc bag (quart or gallon, regular or freezer)
1. Fill the bag about 2/3 full with water and seal it up.
2. Either take this outside or do inside a bathtub, shower or deep sink
3. Hold the bag at the top while the kids, one by one, pierce the bag with the pencil and push it straight through the water and through the other side of the bag.
4. Notice how the water does not leak out!
5. Keep inserting pencils until you run out!
6. Since you are in a water safe place, continue the fun by letting the kids pull them out one by one as you create a fountain! (Not part of the science, but part of the fun!)
7. Note: If the child wiggles the pencil around as they work at getting it through, you may have some leakage as they have stretched the opening beyond the width of the pencil. No big deal…try another!
8. And now the science! The plastic bag is made of polymers which are long chains of molecules. When the pencil is inserted, it is passing between these long strands of molecules which then seal themselves around the pencil keeping the water inside of the bag.
Small Ziploc bag (I like using the snack bag size)
1. Have one of the kids scoop out about ½ tablespoon of baking soda and dump it into the snack bag.
2. Now measure out about ¼ cup of vinegar and have a volunteer pour it into the bag.
3. Zip it shut as fast as you can and lay it on the sidewalk or in the sink.
4. It should pop or rip open with quite a bang!
5. The chemical reaction inside the bag creates a gas which inflates the bag to bursting!
6. Try different size bags and different amounts of the baking soda and vinegar to see how the reaction changes.
Save the Egg!!
Ziploc bags (I usually use gallon size)
Miscellaneous stuff from around the house: foam, packing peanuts or other materials, toilet paper rolls, flour, sand, cardboard, yarn, straws, Styrofoam, fabric, egg cartons, tape, scissors, etc. Once the kids know the challenge, they may have all sorts of other ideas.
To create an environment inside the bag, using the gathered materials, that will protect the egg from breaking when you drop it from a chosen height (step stool, ladder, second story window…whatever is safe for the age of the kids involved).
You may use the scissors and tape to help create a safe environment inside the bag for your egg. But you may not apply tape directly to the egg or the bag.
After the bag hits the ground (or floor), your egg will be examined to see if it survived.
*** I would suggest that the eggs be hard boiled. While a raw smashed egg is definitely more dramatic, a hardboiled egg creates less mess and the ability to reuse the protective materials to keep the fun going. If the shell is cracked or smashed, they have not succeeded in saving the egg.
*** Also, don’t offer the flour to use with other materials, use it on its own. Fill the bag half full of flour and ask the kids if they think your bag will save the egg. Nestle your egg into the top part of the flour and let it drop. Usually the egg will survive. Hmmm…I wonder why??
***Be sure to talk about why something may have worked or not. If you have enough eggs, let them try it again and see how their strategy changes.
Ingredients (for one egg):
• -1/2 cup baking soda
• -Food coloring
• -Plastic dinos or other small toys, plastic coins, etc.
1) Pour baking soda into a bowl
2) Add water little by little, stirring every time. Add a few drops of food coloring during this step to give the eggs fun colors
3) The mixture will start to clump as you add water—you want the paste to be just moist enough to hold a shape without falling apart
4) Once the mixture is the right consistency, form half an egg shape and add your treasures to it. You can also use a hollow plastic egg as a mold!
5) Form another half egg shape on top of the existing one
6) Freeze for a few hours
7) Take the eggs out at least 10 minutes before you wish to use them
8) Put the eggs in a container with sides, give kids droppers/spoons and have them pour vinegar on the eggs a little at a time until they find their treasure!
-If the baking soda mixture gets too wet, never fear! You can pour it over the treasures you’ve gathered in a dish to make an archaeological dig site!
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