Last week I threw a one hour mad scientist party for the classroom who collected the most Box Tops at my husband’s school. I had such a great time and jam packed one hour full of science fun. After talking to a few of the teachers they were amazed at the experiments that I had chosen and were interested in knowing more “easy” science experiments that they could incorporate into their classroom. So I decided to put together this post full of fun science ideas that you can pack into a one hour classroom time.
First because it was a party we did have drinks & treats. I used my jumbo test tubes from Learning Resources that I had bought last year and stuffed them full of brightly colored fizzy drink powder and sour gummy worms. I set them out in front of the class as I was talking. When I first arrived I also got our drinks ready which we would drink at the END of the class period. I brought out a large pitcher, dumped a good baseball sized chunk of dry ice in it, and then poured in the drink. This immediately caught the kids attention as the pitcher was oozing “fog” from the dry ice – they could barely wait to drink it! *Note – this is completely harmless for the kids to drink IF all of the dry ice is gone. Please make sure you’re comfortable understanding how to deal with dry ice before you do any of these experiments! By the end of the class period the dry ice will be completely melted and your once foggy pitcher of drink will be ready to pour for the kids.
To get the kids really interested I started with our dry ice experiments first. Since I was teaching the lab I couldn’t easily take photos too! So my kids got the same experiments later that night :)
If you have never worked with dry ice before it’s VERY easy and not scary at all. But please make sure you wear gloves and you do NOT let the children touch it with their bare hands – it will burn you if you handle it for a period of time without the proper protective wear. If they accidentally touch it briefly don’t worry, they will be just fine. Dry ice always has a huge WOW effect for kids & adults so this is some of my favorite quick things for the kids to learn. Many local grocery stores carry dry ice, I usually buy ours at Publix. It runs about $10 for a nice big block (about 5 pounds) which could easily be split between two classes!
First we simply placed dry ice and warm water in a container – immediate “oohs and aahs”! We added some food coloring for fun but that is optional. I let the kids “catch” the fog and blow it around in the container. Next I needed a strip of cloth and a small bowl of bubble solution. Make sure to soak the cloth in the bubble solution well. Just a warning – this part is a little messy! You’ll want to take your bubble solution soaked cloth and slide it across the top rim of your container as shown below.
Once you get a nice bubble “film” over the top of the container the gas from the dry ice will build up in the container forming a large bubble on top.
You can let the bubble pop on it’s own and watch the fog pour out or you can let the kids pop it themselves!
Next we decided to make even MORE bubbles. This is another “wow” effect that is very simple to make! You’ll need your cup of water with dry ice in it, and the blue original Dawn dish soap.
Simply pour the dish soap in (just a nice squeeze will do) and watch the bubbles begin to flow!
The bubbles produced are safe for the kids to “catch” and play with! In fact my kids took the bubbles and smeared them all over their arms (getting very soapy in the process!) because when you pop these bubbles you will release a little wisp of dry ice fog so it is a really cool effect for kids!
By now the students were ALL into our science party! Next we decided to do the “milk explosion” experiment. You can watch my video here on how to do it. For this experiment you’ll need bowls, milk, qtips, food coloring, and dawn original (blue) dish soap which you can use from your dry ice experiments above. Give each student a bowl and fill it wish just an inch or two of milk. Drop in a few drops of food coloring – do NOT mix it in the milk! Then you’ll put a bit of Dawn soap on the end of your Qtip and carefully place the soapy qtip into the spots with the food coloring. You will see an immediate reaction as the food coloring “runs” away from the soapy qtip!
I allotted approximately 15 minutes for each experiment. Next we did our “lava lamp” experiments which you can see the full details of how to accomplish here. The kids had a blast doing this!! A note of caution, however, keep a close eye on your students and make sure that they do NOT screw the cap on their bottles while the alka-seltzer is fizzing! It will ruin their experiment and pop the top off the bottle.
Our last 15 minutes we had our treats, drinks, and did our final experiment. Check out our eyeball cake!!
I don’t have any photos of our last science experiment because it happens SO quickly and I can’t take pictures and do the experiment! :) My husband’s school has some video footage that I am going to try and get. I’m sure most of you have heard of this experiment – make an explosive geyser with a 2L of Diet Coke and about 5 Mentos dropped in. It happens VERY quickly so make sure to step out of the way before you get clobbered with soda! It works best if you use warm soda – just drop in the Mentos and run! :)
As I walked through the school to check out in the front office I took my put of punch with dry ice in it. The kids and staff couldn’t help but staring! It was a really cool way to nonchalantly get kids interested in science and cause/effect! The secretaries were astounded as I showed up in the office drinking this foggy punch! It was great!