Happy New Year’s! It’s 2016! Today we are going to do some fun activities to celebrate. But first, check out this New Year’s Science Quiz to see what you know! It’s okay if you don’t know all the answers—there are explanations at the end so you can learn something new for the new year!
Read the links below to find out why resolutions fail and how to keep yours!
Now that you’ve set a science goal for the year, let’s move on to our New Year’s activities!
Fireworks in a Glass
In this activity, you will use oil and water along with food coloring to create a mixture that looks like fireworks in a glass. The science behind this activity is that oil and water DO NOT MIX. Why don’t they mix? They do not mix because water is polar (it has an uneven distribution of electrons in its molecules) and oil is not (it has a very even distribution of electrons in its molecules). Things that are polar usually don't mix well with things that are not polar, like oil (they are not attracted to each other), while things that are polar--like sugar--usually dissolve well in water (the water molecules are attracted to the sugar molecules). Off you need a little more help, check out our earlier blog about solubility:
Watch the video below for a more in-depth explanation of why oil and water don’t mix:
* Clear glass
* Food coloring
* Vegetable oil
* Shallow bowl
Here’s what to do!
1. Pour a cup of vegetable oil in the shallow bowl.
2. Sprinkle about 12 drops of food coloring in the oil. Use as many different colors as you want! These will be the colors of your “fireworks.”
3. Use a fork to stir the food coloring in with the oil. The food coloring is water-based, so it won’t fully mix in with the oil, but it will break up into smaller blobs.
4. Fill a glass about ¾ full of warm water.
5. Dump the oil/food coloring mixture into the warm water. What happens?
6. The oil stays on top! Remember, oil and water will not mix. The oil is less dense than water, so it floats on top. The food coloring is water-based, so it’s denser than the oil. Eventually, the food coloring blobs will slowly sink through the layer of oil and reach the water. When this happens, the color expands and looks like little colorful explosions!
In this activity, you will see baking soda and vinegar react, much like when we did exploding glow in the dark art (http://discoveryexpress.weebly.com/blog/exploding-glow-in-the-dark-art).
Baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) create an acid-base reaction. When this reaction occurs, carbon dioxide gas is released in the form of foamy bubbles. For a full explanation of why these two substances react together, check out this link:
YOU WILL NEED
* Baking soda
* Plastic party cups (or any glass)
* Confetti or glitter
* Food coloring (optional)
* Turkey baster or eye dropper
Here’s what to do!
1. Fill a small bowl with about two cups of baking soda. The amount doesn’t really matter, but two cups is enough for plenty of foamy fun!
2. Add a few spoonfuls of confetti or glitter to your baking soda.
3. Add a tablespoon of water to your baking soda and mix it in. Continue to do this until you have a dough-like consistency. This more evenly distributes the confetti and makes the mixture easier to scoop into the glasses.
4. Place the party glasses in a baking pan to contain the mess. This will make cleanup easier.
5. Scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture into each party glass.
6. Pour a cup of vinegar into a separate glass and add a few drops of food coloring if you want your eruptions to be colored!
7. Use the turkey baster or eye dropper to suck in the vinegar.
8. Squeeze the vinegar into the party glass. TADA! You should see a colorful, glittery eruption! Repeat as often as you want to create more foamy fun. As the foam fizzles out, just add more baking soda or more vinegar.