Every year Queen’s Manor hosts a Science Day when pupils dress up in lab coats and are let loose to make lotions and potions. Everyone gets stuck in to weird and wonderful investigations, from making lava lamps to creating very-realistic snot.
Here’s some of the experiments that Science Leader Emma Parker put together for the 2016 day. Do try them at home but please make sure an adult is present at all times.
It’s super easy to make and the texture is so neat! I love that it’s just 3 simple ingredients:
- Shaving Cream
- White School Glue
- Food Colouring
Mix equal amounts of shaving cream and white glue until you have the texture you want. Then add a few drops of food colouring. The foam dries a lot darker.
Allow children time to experiment with the textures of different paints. Can they make the perfect paint? What do they predict will happen if you add more shaving foam or glue? What do they think will happen when you add food colouring?
What do you need:
- A plate or bowl
- Washing-up liquid
- Half a glass of milk
- Food colouring
Step 1 – Pour the milk into a bowl/plate until the surface is well covered.
Step 2 – Add several drops of food colouring to your milk.
Step 3 – Cover the end of your washing up liquid (pen or pencil if you do not want to use your finger).
Step 4 – Dip your finger into the middle of the milk and watch the colours fly everywhere.
Experiment with different milk – does the type of milk make a difference
What’s going on?
This one is all to do with something called surface tension – the force between the molecules on the surface of the milk.
Adding the washing-up liquid reduces the surface tension of the milk. The rest of the milk still has the same surface tension as it did before and so pulls the milk outwards taking the food colouring with it.
What do I need?
- Food colouring
- Cornflour (“normal” flour won’t do the trick)
- Two cups
- Kitchen roll to clean up!
How do I do it?
Step1: Add a few drops of food colouring to half a cup of water (real slime is always green!)
Step 2: Fill another cup one quarter of the way with cornflour.
Step 3: SLOWLY! Add a few drops of the water at a time to the cornflour and mix it alll together with your hand.
Step 4: Keep adding a few drops at a time, then stirring the slime until you get a slimy mess! If you add too much water you’ll get something too watery. If that happens add some more cornflour
Step 5: Enjoy your slime!
What’s going on?
The beautiful slime is known as a “Non-Newtonian fluid”. That just means it’s not really a liquid or a solid (it’s kind of both and kind of neither).
More fun please! Experiment like a real scientist..
Experiment with your slime. Try prodding it with your finger quickly and it will feel hard like a solid or if you pour it across your hands slowly it will feel like a liquid
Try making different coloured slimes
Try and make the “perfect slime” with different amounts of water
Make Your Own Fake Snot
What you’ll need:
- Hot water (Adult supervision – be careful with this)
- A cup
- Corn syrup
- A teaspoon
- A fork
Step 1: Fill half a cup with warm water.
Step 2: Add three teaspoons of gelatin to the water.
Step 3: Let it soften before stirring with a fork.
Step 4: Add a quarter of a cup of corn syrup.
Step 5: Stir the mixture again with your fork and look at the long strands of gunk that have formed.
Step 6: As the mixture cools slowly add more water, small amounts at a time.
What’s happening? Mucus is made mostly of sugars and protein. Although different than the ones found in the real thing, this is exactly what you used to make your fake snot. The long, fine strings you could see inside your fake snot when you moved it around are protein strands. These protein strands make snot sticky and capable of stretching.
Experiment Who can make the best snot? Why is it the best?
You will need:
- Borax (found in laundry section)
- Warm water
- Corn starch
- Glue (clear glue makes a see transparent ball and white glue makes an opaque ball)
- Two small mixing cups
- A stirring stick (plastic spoon)
- Food colouring (optional)
Step 1: Label one cup ‘Borax Solution’ and the other cup ‘Ball Mixture’.
Step 2: Pour 4 ounces (120ml) of warm water into the cup labeled ‘Borax Solution’ and 1 teaspoon of the borax powder into the cup. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax.
Step 3: Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labeled ‘Ball Mixture’. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring, if desired.
Step 4: Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the glue. Do not stir.
Step 5: Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix.
Step 6: Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start moulding the ball with your hands. The ball will start out sticky and messy, but will solidify as you knead it. Once the ball is less sticky, continue rolling between your hands until it is smooth and round!
How does it work?
This activity demonstrates an interesting chemical reaction, primarily between the borax and the glue. The borax acts as a “cross-linker” to the polymer molecules in the glue – basically it creates chains of molecules that stay together when you pick them up. The corn starch helps to bind the molecules together so that they hold their shape better.
Make it an experiment
Who can make the ball with the highest bounce? Adjusting the amount of borax, glue, and corn starch to get the highest bounce.
What is the best surface to bounce the ball on?
Are smaller or larger balls bouncier?
What you need:
- Washing up liquid,
- White vinegar,
- Baking soda
Step 1: Fill the cup over half full with water, add 3 teaspoons of baking soda and give it a good stir until it is mostly dissolved.
Step 2: Add a good squirt of washing up liquid and stir.
Step 3: Make sure your volcano is somewhere it can get messy.
Step 4: Quickly pour in a quarter of a cup of vinegar and enjoy your volcano eruption.
A chemical reaction has been created! Mixing the acid (vinegar) and the alkali (bicarbonate of soda) releases carbon dioxide (gas) . The washing up liquid traps the carbon dioxide bubbles which creates the lava.
Try different amounts to create the perfect eruption.