Category Archives: Science Experiments

Cell Respiration: Balloon Blow Up

Cell Respiration: Balloon Blow Up

The Science of a Loaf of BreadFind More Science Experiments

When people and animals breath their bodies take oxygen into the lungs where it is passed into the blood. This is called respiration. There is another kind of respiration that goes on inside living organisms and that is called cellular respiration. During cellular respiration cells convert oxygen to carbon dioxide and water during a chemical reaction that happens inside the cell.

Yeast is a single cell organism that metabolized sugar and turns it into carbon dioxide and water. In this experiment you will be able to “see” the colorless, odorless gas that is carbon dioxide. You will know it is present because it will fill a balloon.

What You Need:

  • Empty Water Bottle
  • Yeast
  • Warm Water
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Balloon

Put one packet of dry yeast into an empty liter soda bottle. Add about an inch of warm water to the yeast. Now add 1 tsp of sugar. Swirl this mixture around a little bit. Blow up a balloon and then let the air out again just to get it stretched a little. Now take the balloon and stretch its opening over the mouth of the water bottle. Check on the balloon every five minutes for the next half our or so. What happens to the balloon?

Science Experiment Idea: Try this experiment with three different soda bottles. Add the yeast to each one. Make your variable the substance you add to the yeast. Put water in bottle #1, soda in bottle #2, diet soda in bottle #3. You could try different kinds of juice, milk, etc. Which substance do you think will blow up the balloon the best? Why?

Here are some websites and books that will help you understand and explore yeast and cell respiration:

Kitchen Science Experiments Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble Science Projects for Curious Kids

Words to Know:

Respiration – Breathing, bringing oxygen into the blood.
Cell Respiration – The process cells use to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide and water. This is a little different than breathing. During cell respiration the cell takes in oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide during a chemical reaction inside the cell. This is the exact opposite of photosynthesis. During photosynthesis plant cells take in carbon dioxide and water and give off oxygen.
Metabolic – A chemical reaction that happens inside a living organism.
Yeast – A tiny little single cell fungus that can convert sugar into carbon dioxide. It makes a little chemical reaction all by itself.
Carbon Dioxide -A colorless, odorless gas that is made by animals and people when they breath, or by cells when they respirate. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis.

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Potential & Kinetic Energy – Marshmallow Catapult

Potential & Kinetic Energy – Marshmallow Catapult

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Every object on earth has potential energy. That means it COULD move even if it isn’t right now. When an object IS moving it has kinetic energy.

In today’s demonstration you are going to store energy in a spring. That spring will have the potential to move, but it won’t move until you let it move. The catapult you make is going to transfer energy from the spring to a marshmallow. The marshmallow will have potential energy until the catapult releases, then the marshmallow will have kinetic energy as it flies through the air.

You Will Need:

  • Kleenex Box & 2 pencils OR 10 popsicle  or craft sticks
  • Rubber Bands
  • Milk Jug Cap

Directions:

Here are some websites and books that will help you understand energy:

  • US Energy Information Administration: What is Energy?
  • Physics4Kids: Energy Around Us
  • ENWIN Utilities: Types of Energy
  • Gadgets and Gizmos Chapter on Energy “Energize” (pages 111-136).  Marshmallow Catapult (Pages 120-122).
  • Science Experiments That Fly and Move (pages 12-13) Marshmallow Shooter
That Fly and Move Stomp Rockets and Catapults Gizmos and Gadgets

Words to Know:

Energy – the ability to move things or do work; a force acting through a distance.
Potential Energy – Stored energy.
Kinetic Energy – The energy of motion.
Catapult – A device used to throw an object…like a slingshot or a medieval catapult the knights at a castle might use.

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Engineering – Build a Bridge

Engineering – Build a Bridge

Amazing Bridges to Design Build and TestFind More Science Experiments

What You Need:

  • Dry Spaghetti, Fetuccine, Straws or Bamboo Kabob Skewers
  • Small Gumdrops,  Small Marshmallows or Square Carmels

Here are some websites and books that will help give you great ideas for designing and building your own bridge. Make a simple design and then try to build it with different materials. Which materials work best? Can you figure out why?

Amazing Bridges to Design Build and Test Fabulous Bridges How Did They Build That Bridge
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Gravity – Stacking

Gravity – Stacking

srpblocks

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Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward the center of the Earth. Gravity can make things fall down but it can also help hold things in place. You probably have some games at home the show you a lot about the power of gravity. One of those games is Jenga – that game where you stack up the pieces of wood into a tower and then take turns sliding one of the wood pieces out of the stack. The other game is Cup Stackers – that game where you make a pyramid of the cups as fast as you can and then take it down again. The cups and the wood blocks make strong towers if the base of the tower is wide. This keeps the tower stable.

What You Need:

  • Several Plastic or Paper Drinking Cups or Blocks

Build a tower by stacking the blocks or cups one on top of the other. If you are using cups, alternate them so that every other cup is upside down. The towers built from single objects stacked on top of each other don’t get very tall before they tip over do they? Now stack the cups or blocks in a pyramid. Depending on how many cups or blocks you have, the pyramid tower can get pretty tall without tipping over. This is because the weight of the cups or blocks is distributed across a wide base. It’s kind of like the difference between balancing on one foot or balancing on two feet. The wider the base, the more weight that can be supported before gravity will pull an object or stacked objects down.

Here are some websites and books that will help you explore gravity:

What holds us to earth?: a Look at Gravity Cool Gravity Activities Science Rocks

Words to Know:

Gravity – The force that pulls everything toward the center of Earth; the force of gravitation on Earth.

Weight – A measure of the force of gravity upon an object

 

 

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Chromatography – Black Ink

Chromatography – Black Ink

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srpchromsetupBlack ink is black, right? Today you are going to find out. In this experiment you will be able to see all of the dye colors that mix together to make black ink.

What You Need:

  • Paper Towel or Coffee Filter
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Several different kinds of black markers

Cut strips from the paper towel about 1 inch wide – one for each type of srpchrombowlmarker. Scribble across the bottom of one of the paper towel strips with each kind of marker. Scribble about one inch from one end of the paper towel strip. Tape the OTHER end of the strip to the maker you used to scribble on that strip. That will help you remember which marker goes with each paper towel strip.

Now hang the paper towel strips above the bowl of water so that only a little bit of the scribble end is in the water. Do not submerge the pen scribbles! Check on the paper towels in an hour. What has happened to the pen marks?

What you see happening on the paper towel strips is called chromatography. The color srpchromstripsof the ink in markers is made by mixing different pigments together. A pigment is a substance that makes color, like ink or dye. To make black, several pigments are mixed together. When the end of the paper towel strip is submerged in water the water soaks up through the paper towel. When the water passes through the black ink marks it takes the pigment colors with it. Different colors of pigments travel with the water at different rates because the molecules of some pigments stick to the paper more strongly than others. So, as the water travels it separates the colors. This is called chromatography – separating the parts of a mixture so that you can see them one at a time. It looks like there is more than one way to make black!

Here are websites and books that will help you understand solutions and experiment with chromatography:

Mixtures and Solutions Chromatography (pages 34-38)

Mixtures and Solutions Mixing and Separating Mixtures and Solutions

Words to Know:

Chromatography A process that separates a mixture by passing it through something that will separate its parts.
Mixture – A substance made by mixing two or more substances together. The molecules of the substances don’t join together so the substances can be easily separated.
Homogeneous Mixture – A type of mixture that is the same throughout. Salt water and ink are good examples.
Pigment – A substance used for coloring; ink, dye, etc.

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