Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Egg Geodes

As I was flipping through a magazine, I came across an activity making geodes out of eggs.  With it being Easter, I thought this would be a fun, science twist on dying our Easter eggs this year.  And it was!  The girls loved seeing the sparkling crystals that formed in the eggs.  It was a great way to excite our budding geologists with this Easter science experiment.

After I cracked a few eggs in half and cleaned them out, Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean poured white school glue into each half and brushed the glue around to cover the entire inside of the egg.  We left the glue to dry in a muffin tin overnight.


Next, tablets from an Easter Egg dying kit are added to hot water. 


I add Borax to each of the bowls and stir until dissolved (this part of the activity should be done by an adult).  Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean then add one half an egg shell to each bowl.  The first thing they notice is that the shells float so they had to figure out how to get them to the bottom of the bowl.  Jumping Bean said, "Easy.  Just push them down."


Then we placed the bowls somewhere they wouldn't be disturbed and waited until the morning.


Our Easter Egg Geodes turned out beautiful!  They make a great addition to our Easter decorations!


We had a great time exploring the crystals that had formed. We could feel the hard crystals loved looking at the shapes using a magnifying glass.  They looked just like the inside of a real geode!

  
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Supplies:
  • uncooked eggs
  • knife
  • glue
  • paint brush
  • Easter egg dye kit
  • Borax
  • bowls
  • spoon
  • drying rack (we used a mini muffin tin)
  • hot water

Instructions:
  1. Carefully tap the side of an uncooked egg with a knife until it is cracked in half.
  2. Pour the eggs out of the shell and clean the shell with water.
  3. Squeeze enough glue in each egg shell half to cover the shell once painted.
  4. Using a paintbrush, brush the glue around the shell covering it completely.
  5. Allow the glue to dry completely.  We left ours dry overnight.
  6. Fill each bowl with 1 cup of water and heat in the microwave until hot.
  7. Place one dye tablet into each bowl and stir until dissolved.
  8. Adult will add 3/4 cup of Borax to the dyed water and stir until dissolved.
  9. Place one egg shell into each bowl.
  10. Place bowl in an area that it won't be disturbed.
  11. Leave undisturbed over night.
  12. Take the egg shells out of the water and let dry on a drying rack.
  13. Decorate your house with your new Easter egg geodes!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Peeps Easter Science Experiments

Wondering what to do with some of your Easter candy - how about a bit of science?   We had a lot of fun testing our marshmallow Peeps and learning about some of their properties. In particular we tested what happened to a Peep in low air pressure, in different temperature water, and finally how temperature affected the Peeps structural integrity (or ability to withstand a hammer).  It was a really fun and hands-on set of Easter science experiments.


Peep Experiment 1:  Why is a Peep so light? {or changing air pressure}

First we wanted to know what made peeps feel so light.  So we carefully placed a test Peep into a mason jar and attached our vacuum sealer to the jar.  This allowed us to suck the air out of the jar and see what happened to our Peep.  The girls thought that the Peep would float in the air.


Instead our Peep grew and grew!


The girls were so surprised.  When we released the vacuum the Peep returned to its original size and the girls said it tasted just the same.  This lead to a really fun discussion about how the Peep must have air inside it to be so light and when the air around it got sucked away and became low pressure the air inside the Peep expanded making the Peep get bigger.  When we let air back into the mason jar then the Peep went back to its original size as the outside air moved back into the mason jar and made the air pressure higher.  

Peep Experiment 2:  What happens to a Peep in water? {or solubility testing}

Now our Peep seemed pretty resilient to being blown up and shrunk back down when we changed the air pressure so we wanted to know what would happen to a Peep in water.  The girls thought he would float on the water because he had air in him.


Well he must really be a duckling because this little Peep floated in tap water.  We did however notice that the water did begin to change color.  So then we wondered what would happen to our Peep if we put him in ice water.


Well he floated too!  The girls were concerned that the ice was keeping the Peep up.  So we watched and waited and the Peep kept on floating.  So then we decided to test the Peep in boiling water.  I was very careful to explain to them not to touch our mason jar of boiling water and Bug very carefully dropped the Peep into the boiling water.  This peep floated as well ...


... but immediately began to fizz and melt.  The girls thought this was really fun and took turns putting their ears near the Peep to hear the fizzing bubbles.  We continued to watch and wait and over the next 10 minutes we noticed our Peeps were changing:


Our Peep in hot water (top) was becoming a white blob (which later completely disappeared/dissolved).  The other two Peeps were looking a little different too.  So I invited the girls to feel the Peeps.  We just dipped our finger into the hot water Peep which felt like a light foam.  The other two Peeps felt a bit slimy on the outside but the ice water one felt a little firmer than the one in tap water.


The girls loved observing the differences in the Peeps in the different water conditions.  They especially loved feeling the Peeps and the hot water Peep was quite the effect!  So then we wanted to know a bit more about how temperature affected the Peeps which brings us to experiment 3:

Peep Experiment 3:  How does temperature affect Peeps? {or structural integrity}

We could feel that there was a difference in the Peeps when we put them in different temperature water but now we wanted to know if we could see this change in another way - in particular how would a Peep stand up to being hit by a hammer.  Does temperature change a Peeps structural integrity?  So we put our Peeps in three different temperature conditions:  in a freezer on ice, room temperature, and in a 350 degree oven.


We put the Peep in the freezer first while we set everything else up including waiting for the toaster oven to heat up.  I got a big cutting board as our work area and wrapped our hammer in cling wrap (as I was anticipating some stickiness).  After a few minutes in the oven the Peep was looking well roasted and ready to come out.   We brought the oven and freezer Peeps out and started by observing any differences.


The first thing the girls noticed was that the oven Peep was missing his eyes.   After looking a bit more we noticed that the oven Peep was the biggest and the freezer Peep was the smallest (left).  I asked the girls which one would smoosh (official Peep lack of structural integrity term) the most when we hit it with a hammer.  The girls thought the oven/hot Peep.  The hot Peep did indeed "smoosh" when we hit it.


I did not hit very hard but the Peep did not hold its shape at all.   Then we tested the cold Peep (from the freezer).  He did not change very much and when we lifted the hammer it almost returned to his original shape.  


Finally we tested the room temperature peep which became more compacted than the cold Peep.


There was definitely a change in how well the Peeps could stand up to a force when you changed the temperature of the peep.   The hot Peep had started to melt so it did not do a good job of standing up to the hammer.  The cold Peep felt harder and showed that it was good at resisting the hammer.  Of course the best part was eating the leftovers!


We hope you will have as much fun with these Peeps experiments as we did.

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Supplies:

  • Peeps (we used 7 in total and ate a few more)
  • Exp 1:
    • Vaccum sealer with canning attachment
    • Mason jar
  • Exp 2:
    • Mason jar with tap water
    • Mason jar with boiling water
    • Mason jar with ice water
  • Exp 3:
    • Oven
    • Freezer
    • Hammer wrapped in cling wrap
    • Large cutting board

Instructions:

  1. Exp 1:
    1. Connect the canning attachment to the vacuum sealer.
    2. Place a peep in a mason jar.
    3. Place the attachment on the jar and "seal" the jar.
    4. Watch the Peep change as the jar is vacuumed.
    5. Release and observe the Peep change again.
  2. Exp 2: 
    1. Place a Peep in each of the mason jars of water.
    2. Watch what happens to the Peeps for a few minutes.
    3. Check every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes to observe and feel the changes in the Peeps.
  3. Exp 3:
    1. Place a Peep in the freezer.
    2. Wrap the end of a hammer in plastic wrap.
    3. Heat an oven to 350 degrees and place a Peep in the oven for a few minutes (until looking toasted)
    4. Take the Peep out of the oven and the freezer and place next to the room temperature Peep.
    5. Hit each Peep with a hammer to see how it changes.  {you may need to change your plastic wrap after hitting the hot Peep}

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Magical Rainbow Milk

We love science- especially when you can grab one or two things out of the kitchen and not have to run to the store.  So for me, Magical Rainbow Milk  is at the top of the list for a quick go to science activity!  It is easy to put together, all the supplies you need you already have, and it's fun!

To begin our experiment, milk is poured into the bottom of a pie plate.  Sometimes we get a little nervous when milk is being poured.


Next, drops of food coloring are squirted into the milk.



After dipping the end of a Q-tip into dish soap, it is placed into the milk.  In this step, you do not want to stir, just leave the Q-tip in place.  Dip the Q-tip in dish soap again, and place it in another spot in the milk.




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Supplies:
  • whole milk
  • dish soap (we used Palmolive)
  • food coloring
  • Q-tip
  • shallow dish (we used a pie plate)
Instructions:
  1. Pour milk into a shallow dish just covering the bottom of the dish.
  2. Squeeze drops of food coloring into the milk.
  3. Dip one end of a Q-tip into dish soap.
  4. Place the Q-tip (dish soap end) into the milk without stirring.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Watch the colors spread through out the milk.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rainbow Colored flowers: St. Patricks Day Magic

Although it is still pretty cold and snowy outside we are starting to think about spring and what we want to plant in our garden and the different colored flowers.  We thought it would be fun to do a little leprechaun magic and color white flowers.  It was a great opportunity to see plants absorb water that is so important to keep them growing and made for a fun St. Patricks Day science experiment with a bit of leprechaun rainbow magic.



To start we put a little watercolor paint in 5 plastic cups.


We then put a white daisy in each cup.


It looked quite pretty with all the flowers together.  Then we waited.  In about half an hour, we saw that the flower in blue paint started to change color first.  After a few hours it was quite an intense blue and the green was well on its way to change too.  The orange was really pretty as it was yellow in the middle and pink on the edges.  The flowers in the pink and purple paint were changing very slowly.


But if you flipped the one in purple over you could see the beginning of streaks on the bottom of the bottom petals.


There was definitely some leprechaun magic happening - turning our white flowers into a rainbow of flowers.  Of course the real science involves transpiration - the process of the flowers bringing the water up to the petals kind of like drinking through a straw.  The extra water goes out of the plant through teeny tiny holes which leaves space for more water to come with more color.

Note:  We had originally tested this out by putting the flowers in water that had been colored by gel food coloring.   But after a few days none of the flowers had changed color.  The water color paints worked quickly and were very effective (see the food coloring flowers below - pictured after a few days).



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Supplies:

  • water color paints
  • white flowers (we used daisies)
  • plastic cups


Instructions:

  1. Cut some flowers so that the stem is a few inches long.
  2. Put a bit of water color paint in each of the cups.
  3. Put the flower in the cups.
  4. Wait about 20 minutes and check to see if the flowers had changed.  Check periodically over the next 48 hours to see how they are changing.


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