Archive for December, 2009

Liquid Layers and Science Projects

Liquids interact with each other in many ways. If you were to do a science project about different types of liquids, it would make an interesting experiment. Think of vinegar and oil. If you pour them into the same glass what will happen? How about whiskey and water. If you pour them in a glass together what will happen?

You can test the density of liquids. Which is easy to do with simple buoyancy tests. Take a set of three or five liquids. Get them poured into similar containers and in equal measures. Now collect a few light and heavy things that you can check buoyancy with. If you record your observations in a systematic manner, your science fair project is done.

All you need to do is get a basic principle and test it. That’s an instant science project for you. Take Surface Tension for example. Is it the same for all fluids? No it isn’t. How do you prove it? That can become a good science fair project if you delve into it.

It is not possible to talk about fluids and not mention bubbles. You know its great fun blowing bubbles with soapy water. But do you know the kind of soap you mix in the water affects the kind of bubbles you will be able to blow. Check it out some time. Here’s one simple experiment of interacting liquids that you might enjoy.

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Experimenting with Light

Science is at  work all around us. To understand how these scientific principles work all we need to do is take a better look at things around us. Shiny spoons reflect light. This can teach us about the nature of light. If we look at a dull spoon the light does not get reflected that well. This teaches us about the nature of metal.

Mirrors reflect images if there is light in the room. If it is dark the same mirror becomes a playground of dark shadows. This teaches us that light is needed to reflect images in a mirror. In fact the image that we see in the mirror is nothing more than light waves reflected back at us from our body.

Sunlight is great for all kinds of experiments. Ever try lighting a pile of straw with a magnifying glass? If you don’t hold the magnifying glass at the right angle you can spend the full day trying to get a spark going and not get anything. There is science hiding in that as well.

Artificial light is the kind that lights up the insides of our homes. Of course it is not limited to being inside buildings, there are artificial light street lights out on the road as well. These lights are of many different kinds and each uses different scientific principles in generating light.  Besides light there are emissions of many other kinds in our universe. Check out a few more details here.

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Food and Chemistry Science Projects

The food that we eat is actually a whole chemical experiment on its own. The kitchen can be a great chemistry lab for those interested in some science projects. Think about it. What is a chemical reaction all about? It is about taking two things and adding some external energy to make it a whole new thing.

And what does a chef do? He takes a number of different ingredients and adds some heat to them and cooks up a new dish. You can even do a whole range of experiments with temperature as well. How soon does milk boil? Does it boil in the same time that water boils? What about coffee? Does adding coffee to milk before boiling make it boil sooner or later?

Then we can do some experiments with mixing things. Some things get easily dissolved. Such as sugar teaspoons in milk. Then there are others that don’t dissolve, but we mix together anyway to make suspensions. Say blending tomato and adding it to water to make soup. If you need more ideas check out this article here.

The food that we eat has a whole lot of science hidden it in. You can look at the ingredients of the humble kitchen shelf with a whole new attitude. There is a whole pile of fun chemistry experiments just waiting to be done there. Just make sure that you warn your mom before you move into the kitchen

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More science projects with food

Last time I spoke about how eggs and sugar can be used in science projects.  This time we talk about other possible ingredients that you can get off the kitchen shelf and use in your experiments. One fun experiment involves using yeast. Considering that it is essential in making bread, understanding how it works would also be fun.

Essentially the yeast works on the gluten in the flour. You can try different types of flour with various amounts of yeast. See which type rises fastest. Check what the commercial bakeries use. Ask what that aunt of yours who loves baking bread uses. There is a whole lot of fun to be had in making different shapes as you bake the bread as well.

You can learn about oxidization using fruits. In fact an apple is a great fruit for such experiments. Cut up an apple into four pieces. Just leave one side open to the air. Seal up one of the other ones with foil. Use a few drops of lemon juice on the third. And wrap up the last piece in cling film. Then examine all the pieces after an hour or two. The results will be amazing.

The cabbage is a great vegetable to learn about acids and bases. Try out the experiments here to learn about acids and bases in a way that you never imagined before.  It will make the common place ingridients such as vinegar, cabbage juice and water seem really exciting. Don’t think that’s possible? Just check it out.

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Science Projects in your Food

Did you know it was possible to come up with a dozen different science projects using the food in the kitchen? I am not kidding. Take the humble egg for instance. You can use it in so many ways. I’m not talking about cooking it boiled, scrambled or poached. I am talking about science experiments that you can conduct with it.

How about baking a cake with eggs and one without. The difference in the texture would give you a good idea about why the egg is an essential ingredient. You could see how using merely the egg white in a souffle makes it rise better. You could even think up of other ingredients that you can use as a substitute for your friend who is allergic to eggs.

You can use it as a fragile package that you drop from a hight in different types of material. Try using different material to see which serves the purpose of protection best. I got an email once talking about how an egg was fried using two mobile phones. As you can see there is a whole lot of experimentation that you can do with just one small egg.

Sugar is another good food to use. You can see how it makes candy, or how you can caramalyze it. How the taste changes and the way caramalyzed sugar changes the color of the food it is cooked wth. Similarly there are a number of other foods that you can use to make a science project interesting. Just think up of interesting combinations.

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