Wacky Science Saturday

J had been asking for several weeks to do science experiments, so last Saturday B created an entire day of science experiments.

From floating lava:

To a mad scientist potion:

To swamp juice:

The boys had a blast creating different mixtures and “potions”. The best thing is that all of these can be created with normal household items (and some carefully handled dry ice…by adults only!). It was such a fun day of experiments, and also some tasty treats!

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Lots of rocks

WSW: RocksMy nephew is fascinated by rocks & my sister had brought a kit of items to make pet rocks, so this Wacky Science Wednesday seemed like the perfect time to discuss rocks. We watched our standard Bill Nye episode (you can probably check it out from your local library…it’s Rocks and Minerals), and then spent the rest of the afternoon making pet rocks.

I had great plans to make a chart of the different types of rocks and the layers of the Earth, but we spent a lot of time on our pet rocks and it’s summer. Worksheets, be gone!

WSW: Pet rocksThe boys could hardly sit still from their excitement about making their pet rocks. We went from one a piece to each of them making four.

WSW: Pet RocksTo make the pet rocks you really only need simple supplies: rocks, glue, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, feathers, and pipe cleaners. We painted ours as well, and I found that to get the paint to dry you need thin coats, and it will take about two-three hours (we painted them in the morning, then decorated them in the afternoon). It was a little messy, but worth it! Only one more Wacky Science Wednesday before the boys are back in school! I can hardly believe it!

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Bugs and Plumbing

WSW: BugsI almost had to call this the Wacky Science Wednesday that wasn’t, because as we were labeling our bugs (ladybug worksheet), a nice little old lady came to our front door to inform me that our yard was flooding. And by flooding I mean water was shooting out into the street from the main water line to our house. Amazingly, while I was turning off the water, calling B, my parents, and a plumber, the boys labeled their ladybugs! On their own! Amazing!

We watched our standard Bill Nye episode (You Tube bug video), and came away with the important information that 1) insects have six legs, 2) arachnids have eight legs, 3) bugs are gross. So, definitely important scientific learning.

Since several of the Wacky Science Wednesdays haven’t always had things for J to do, I decided to incorporate some reading into our WSW, and was inspired by this Momfessionals post (there are SO many ideas in this post, you could spread them out over days if you find your kids super inspired). I checked out Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug from the library, and the boys (ALL of them…I was impressed…remember I have a 9 year old nephew) loved it…although I had to warn my sister when she arrived that they ran around yelling “HEY YOU! WANT TO FIGHT?” for about fifteen minutes after reading it. Bet Eric Carle didn’t think about that reaction when he was penning that tale. We had a second talk about the trouble the ladybug got him (or her…it’s not really apparent) self into by yelling that throughout the book.

Then we made our own grouchy faces:

WSW: BugsSeriously my nephew J…cracked me up. “I only smile for pictures,” he said. HA!

And then we went to work making our paper plate lady bugs:

WSW: Bugs WSW: Bugs WSW: BugsI didn’t have metal brads, so I punched a hole through the two plates and connected them using a pipe cleaner. A little variation, but still cute!

WSW: BugsAnd you can see little grouchy faces when you lift up their elytra (that’s right, that’s what it’s called!):

WSW: BugsA WSW that almost wasn’t, but we managed to pull off through our main water line getting fixed. Success! We love bugs!


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Making Slime

WSW: SlimeThis Wacky Science Wednesday was all about matter. We watched Bill Nye the Science Guy’s YouTube video about matter, and we also watched Disney’s Imagineering Video about Fluids. Then we got to work making slimeWSW: Slime WSW: Slime WSW: Slime WSW: SlimeWSW: SlimeThe recipe is very simple, and after several important reminders (don’t splash it, don’t eat it), the boys took turns adding glue, water, color, and borax. The coolest thing about the making it (to me and the boys) was how it immediately seizes up and changes consistency when you add the borax. The boys were laughing hysterically as they tried to mix it with their hands. It is a pretty cool experiment!

Once we finished making the slime, we discussed whether it was a liquid, solid, gas, or plasma (they voted for plasma). It worked much better than our attempt last year, but the worksheet was a great tool to use again!

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Sink or Float: Testing Buoyancy

WSW: Testing BuoyancyOn the request of my nephew J, our Wacky Science Wednesday was all about buoyancy. We watched our now standard Bill Nye Episode (there is one on buoyancy…because Bill Nye really does it all when it comes to science), and then headed outside to play sink or float.

WSW: Testing BuoyancyBy far the boys’ favorite was our orange test (suggested by my sister…with it floats with the peel and sinks without the peel). We went around with various objects deciding whether they would sink or float and then tested. And then they watered all the plants with the water from the bucket. Besides that I learned to spell buoyancy, so really we all learned something this week!

This is a great activity to do before going to the beach because then they can take the ideas they’ve learned and apply them to lots of things that they see. They talked a lot about why boats float when they seem heavier than the water (you have to have air equivalent to the weight of water…see I learned that too!). Happy experimenting!

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Chemical vs. Physical Reactions

WSW: Chemical ReactionsI had great plans for our Wacky Science Wednesday of massive coke explosions. After watching our Bill Nye Episode (Chemical Reactions), we headed outside and prepped our materials:

WSW: Chemical Reactions WSW: Chemical Reactions WSW: Chemical ReactionsAnd discussed what ingredients of the Diet Coke and Mentos would lead to the explosion (the acid materials were their guesses) and finally we discussed how this is actually a physical not a chemical reaction (which apparently has been debated a lot…who knew?).

And then I told everybody to get way back and put on their safety goggles….and then there was nothing. So we tried again. And again. Tiny fizzes. But not the explosion of soda I was waiting for. Feeling a bit defeated we discussed why it may not have worked (flat soda and not using a small enough funnel opening were our two guesses), and moved on to our second experiment.

This one, thankfully, worked perfectly:

WSW: Chemical vs. Physical Reactions WSW: Chemical vs. Physical Reactions WSW: Chemical vs. Physical Reactions WSW: Chemical vs. Physical ReactionsThis is such a fun and simple activity to do with kids. All you need is a balloon, baking soda, and vinegar. I had each boy put a scoop of baking soda in the balloon (if you watch the Bill Nye episode, he tells you the amounts!), and I had poured vinegar into the water bottle. You carefully attach the balloon over the mouth of the bottle, and tada! It fills the balloon.

What we learned:

In order for something to be a chemical reactions the properties have to change when combined (the Diet Coke and Mentos is the coke’s reaction to extra sugary items in the container, thereby trying to force out CO2, but when you are finished, the soda is still soda, and the Mentos are still Mentos).

And after doing some research, we headed back outside with a fresh bottle of Coke, Mentos, safety goggles (Safety First!), and tried again:

WSW: Chemical vs. Physical Reactions WSW: Chemical vs. Physical ReactionsSuccess!

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Building and testing bridges

WSW: Building BridgesThree boys, Two Bottles of Glue, Popsicle Sticks, and a Plan. Welcome to Wacky Science Wednesdays!

WSW: Building a BridgeThis summer my nephews are hanging out with the boys and I on Wednesdays and my first thought was….what are we going to do during J’s nap time? Thus, my idea for Wacky Science was born. While I was putting J down for a nap, the boys watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy video on Inventions. Then we headed outside to begin our project. I didn’t give the boys a lot of direction, I mainly said “build a bridge and use glue and Popsicle sticks”. I had a box that the bridge had to reach across and I told them that they had to build it together. Despite being the most reluctant to start, my nephew J’s idea was the best: use two sticks on either side to attach the remaining line, and soon they had this:

WSW: Building BridgesWe let the glue dry for about an hour and then we came back to begin testing how the bridge would hold up to different objects:

WSW: Building BridgesOur first bridge was a little flimsy, so then M came up with the idea to do two bridges:

WSW: Building BridgesAnd we started weighing items on the bridges:

WSW: Building BridgesWSW: Building BridgesI think this was their favorite part, running around the backyard trying to find items to weigh. After that we played a rousing game of kickball and ate popcorn to celebrate!

WSW: Building BridgesWacky Science Wednesday week 1 is done!

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