Today marks the start of British Science Week 2019 (8th -17th March), a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Here at Mumbler we love a bit of messy play, so grab a lab coat – or an apron – and get the mini Mumblers experimenting!
Paint the Rainbow!
This one is super simple and so visual that it appeals to all ages.
A bag of Skittles
Arrange the skittles in a circle around the edge of a plate, then slowly pour warm (not hot!) water over them.
The colours will start to seep out of the Skittles and join together to create different shades. You can talk about which pigments are darker/lighter than others, and which colours they merge into. Have some spare sweets for the kids to eat too!
Melt a Frozen Hand!
A disposable, clear glove
Food colouring/toys, craft bits
Fill the glove with the water and either food colouring or a selection of toys or craft bits, such as buttons, sequins and pipe cleaners. Tie the end and freeze.
When it’s frozen, peel away the glove and slowly pour warm water (not hot) onto the icy hand (try using a medicine dropper) to melt the ice and dig out the treasures. They will learn about the effect warm water has on ice, and you can talk melting and freezing.
Bicarbonate of soda
A baking tray
Food colouring or liquid watercolours
Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda onto the baking tray and mix liquid watercolours or food colouring into different areas. With a medicine dropper, add drops of white vinegar to the bicarb and watch it foam! You can add glitter too, for extra effect.
What’s Happening? When bicarbonate of soda and vinegar mix, they create new chemicals, including carbon dioxide gas, which causes bubbles.
Make a Lava Lamp
Fill the water bottle about two thirds full with oil, then top up with water, leaving about one inch at the top.
Add ten drops of the food colouring to the bottle, then drop in a quarter of an Alka-Seltzer tablet and watch the lava begin!
The lava will stop once the Alka-Seltzer has fully dissolved, but you can add another quarter of a tablet and the fun starts again!
Tip: If you don’t have Alka-Seltzer, use salt instead.
Bicarb & Vinegar Volcano
Plastic cup or bottle with a large opening
3-4 Tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
A teaspoon of washing up liquid
1 oz of washable paint
8 oz of vinegar
Sand, gravel or mud
Put the water in the plastic cup/bottle, then fill it about two thirds full. Add the bicarb, washing up liquid and paint.
Cover the bottle/cup in gravel, sand or mud, then give the mix a good stir.
Add the vinegar and stand back!
Make an Egg Float in Water
An egg sinks to the bottom of a glass of drinking water – but what happens if you add salt? Learn all about density with this fun experiment.
A tall drinking glass half filled with water
Salt (about six tablespoons)
Stir the salt into the glass of water. Carefully pour more water into the glass until it’s nearly full, but be careful not to mix the salt water with the plain water. Gently lower the egg into the water and watch what happens!
What’s Happening? Salt water is denser than ordinary tap water, and the denser the liquid, the easier it is for an object to float in it. When you lower the egg into the liquid, it drops through the tap water until it reaches the salty water, which is dense enough for the eggs to float in.
Design and Test a Parachute
Learn about air resistance while making an awesome parachute!
A plastic bag or light material
A small object to act as the weight – a little action figure would be perfect!
Cut out a large square from your plastic bag or material, then trim the edges so it looks like an octagon (an eight-sided shape). Cut a small hole near the edge of each side, then attach eight pieces of string of the same length to each of the holes. Tie the pieces of string to the object you are using as a weight.
Use a chair or find a high spot to drop your parachute and test how well it works! Drop it as slow as possible, and modify your design if needed.
What’s Happening? Hopefully, your parachute will descend slowly to the ground, giving your weight a comfortable landing. When you release the parachute, the weight pulls down on the strings and opens up a large surface area of material that uses air resistance to slow it down. The larger the surface area, the more air resistance and the slower the parachute will drop.
Cutting a small hole in the middle of the parachute will allow air to slowly pass through it rather than spilling out over one side, and should help the parachute fall straighter.
Static Electricity Equipment
Opposites attract – and that’s certainly true with these fun static electricity experiments! Find out about positively and negatively charged particles using a few basic items. Can you control whether they are attracted to each other?
Two inflated balloons with strings attached
Rub the balloons one at a time against the woollen fabric, then try pushing the balloons together. Do they want to? Or do they repel against each other?
Rub a balloon back and forth on your hair, then slowly pull it away and ask somebody nearby what they can see. Or look in a mirror!
Put the aluminium can on its side on a table. Rub the balloon on your hair again, then hold the balloon close to the can and watch as it rolls towards it. Slowly move the balloon away from the can and it will follow!
What’s Happening? Rubbing the balloons against your hair or the woollen fabric creates static electricity. The balloons are now negatively charged, while the hair/aluminium can are now positively charged. Since opposites attract, they try to come together!
Check out the Events Calendar for details of British Science Week events taking place in and around North Leeds.