Sunday, January 27, 2013

Introducing... Camping Science Saturday! Bubble Fountains and Antacid Rockets

For the next seven days, we'd like to introduce you to some new features here at Life is Great in a 31 by 8. Today's feature is Science Saturday!

Every Saturday, we will provide you with fun, easy, and engaging science activities that you can do with your kids using common household materials. Or, in our case, common camper-hold materials!

We plan to bring you fun activities that are easy to do while camping, at home, in a classroom, with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, or wherever your heart desires. We may even sneak in a little science learning!

Today, we have for you two experiments!

The first experiment is a tried and true favorite. It requires nothing fancy, other than items you probably already have at home (or things you probably take camping).

It's been referred to as Elephant Toothpaste, but the scientific name is the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

You will need:
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
Dish soap
Food coloring (not really necessary, but makes it cooler looking)

1 T yeast
3 T water

Pour peroxide, several squirts dish soap, and some food coloring into a bottle (Water bottle, Coke bottle, Gatorade bottle, whatever you have on hand at the campsite or recycling bin. Preferably NOT an adult beverage bottle!)

Mix yeast and water together.

Please, do this experiment outside, or on a tray, inside a dishpan, etc. This WILL make a mess!

Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle of peroxide/dish soap/food coloring.
Step back and prepare to be amazed.

I'll give you a little hint about what happens.
camping science
But you  have to try it for yourself if you want to see the really cool stuff!

Now, our second experiment is an example of the scientific process. Sometimes, science works. Sometimes, it doesn't.  Today, it didn't.

Madison came up with the idea of creating an antacid rocket, an experiment she'd seen done before. She needed a film canister and some antacid. Of course, a film canister was nowhere to be found, but we did have a prescription medicine container with the non-childproof cap (you know, the ones that you turn the lid one way to be childproof and flip it over to be non-childproof) that just snapped on. She asked for antacid, so I handed her some Tums (or maybe Rolaids).

She filled the medicine bottle 1/3 full of water, dropped the antacids in, snapped the lid on, and stood back. Oh, and she narrated a mad scientist introduction video too! We waited, and waited, and waited.
Nada, zilch, nothing.

So we tried another variable. We put 3-4 antacid tablets in. Still nothing.

Budding scientists that we are, we discussed what other variables we could change. Madison said, "I just don't understand. The Alka-Seltzer worked great!" Ding! There's our problem!

We didn't have any Alka Seltzer on hand, but we did have denture cleaning tablets from another science activity. Hmmm.... Well, we tried one. Not a thing. So we tried two. Nada. Then we tried crushing 4 of them.

We ALMOST had some results. You could see the liquid fizzing, but it didn't build up enough pressure.

My Mad Scientist had to explain the reason for the experiment's failure, though. Something about the seal wasn't tight enough to build up pressure...

Did it work? Nope! Did we have fun? Yep! Maybe learn a little? You betcha!

If you try this experiment while you're camping, here are our recommendations:

Use a film canister if you can find one. 
Fill it 1/3 way with warm water.
Drop in an ALKA-SELTZER tablet. 

1 comment:

  1. The film canister works! I did it for years with my first and second graders during our space unit. Decorated with a modified toilet paper tube and construction paper cone, it looked like a mini rocket. We made space suits out of paper bags, recycled plastic soda bottles duct-taped to the bag with red and orange tissue paper flares. Fun times!


Are you a happy camper? Tell us about it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

If you enjoyed this post, please take 5 seconds to share it! Thanks!