Lava Lamps sounded like something my kiddos would enjoy, so this is the first experiment we tried. This lava lamp experiment is a perfect example of how water and oil do not mix, due to their different densities and molecular polarity.
The actual experiment was very simple. First we added 3/4 cup of water.
Then, we added the oil. We added too much. Stop well before the top of the bottle; 4 or 5 inches before the top of the bottle.
We followed the instructions and added the food coloring after the oil. The food coloring is water based, not oil based, so it sank down to the bottom of the oil. But, our drops got stuck floating between the oil and the water. It took some gentle swishing/shaking to get the water and the food coloring to mix.
Next, add half an Alka-seltzer tablet. The tablet is heavier than both oil and water, so it will sink to the bottom. But, as it dissolves it will create gas. The gas will rise to the top, bringing some of the colored water with it. Then, when the gas escapes at the top, the water will sink back down to the bottom.
We capped the bottle during this experiment because we were worried that our two year old, CutiePie, would push the bottle over. I REALLY didn’t want oil all over the kitchen. But, we did notice the the lava lamp works a little better with the cap off. I was surprised how short the lava lamp lasted. It is not a long experiment; within 5 minutes the show was over. After two times, my husband and I decided to see what would happen if you add an entire tablet (instead of half). It bubbled so much, so fast, that oil overflowed all over the counter. SmartyPants liked the “volcano”-like effects. It was a great educational family activity.
When I saw this experiment on pinterest, I immediately decided to do it. My kids LOVE pretending to blow out birthday candles, and I knew they’d love this. We didn’t have any play-dough So I looked up a quick recipe for salt dough. It was horrible, but it served it’s purpose. The kids really enjoyed rolling the dough in sprinkles and making little “cakes”. We put a candle in each of the three cakes.
This experiment demonstrates that fire needs three things to thrive: 1- Heat, 2- Air, 3- Fuel.
We did things a little out of order. First, we cut off the candle’s air supply by covering it with a big clear glass. Next, we demonstrated how the flame dies once there is no more fuel, by letting the candle burn until there was nothing left. Third, we put the flame out by removing the heat. The family in the pinterest article used a spray bottle. We didn’t have one handy, so we put some water in a medicine dropper.
This was another good experiment. It was a good opportunity to talk about fire safety and stop, drop and roll. We practiced crawling under “smoke” and how to check if the door knob is hot, so you don’t burn your hand. We discovered we probably should invest in some kind of emergency window ladder.
This last experiment involved CutiePie’s favorite candy, GUMMY BEARS! Gummy Bears are made from gelatin, then they are dried for a few days o give them a nice chewing texture. So, when you place them in water and make them grow, you are simply dehydrating them.
The kids managed to eat almost an entire bag of gummy bears in less
than five minutes, but I did manage to save two of each color. One for soaking, and one to compare it to.
The next day, we found this. I couldn’t tell if the bears had completely dissolved or not. There was also an odd waxy substance floating on the top.
When we compared them to the original gummy bears, it was obvious they had grown. They were super squishy and felt like jello. The kids poked and prodded the poor bears until most of them fell apart. There were two still intact. So, we left them out for a few days, and they shrank back down to size. But, they were ugly and stretched out. They never regained their original shape.
I’m not sure how much science this teaches. We talked about absorption and dehydration. That counts, right? I have since come upon an expansion to the experiment. You put gummy bears in water, some more in vinegar, and some more in club soda. I’ve also seen salt water. Make a hypothesis for each batch, and see if you’re right. We might do this next time.