Science Experiments in the Kitchen are Always Fun & We are Creating Crystals

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Science experiments are always fun.  This week we pulled out an oldie, but goodie; creating crystals from borax.  I have done this with my older two in years past by making snowflakes.  This time we made it with my youngest and tried the Luck of the Irish by making shamrocks & adding a wee bit of green to see what happened.

It has been a lot of fun watching it grow, in fact it grew quickly.  Wait until you see our results/findings are & then you can match them to yours if you decided to do this at home.  But, before you start have your child make predictions of what they think will happen, record them & compare them to what actually takes place.

Supplies Needed:

  • string
  • wide mouth jar
  • green pipe cleaners
  • borax soap
  • pencil
  • boiling water
  • green food coloring (optional)
  • scissors

Crystal Science Project:

  1. The first step of making borax crystal shamrocks is to make the shamrock shape, which can be done by cutting two pipe cleaners into three equal sections.
  2. IMG_1945Bend the pipe cleaners in petal-like shapes, using the extra pipe cleaners wrap around the center of
    all four petals to create a shamrock shape. The shamrock should be sized to fit inside the jar you are using.
  3. Tie the string to the end of the shamrock stem. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the shamrock into the jar, but doesn’t touch the bottom.  Set the shamrock aside until you have created the solution.
  4. IMG_1950Fill the jar you are using with boiling water.
  5. IMG_1954Add borax one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water, stirring to dissolve after each addition. The amount we used was approximately 4 tablespoons of borax per cup of water, although I have read 3.  We added until the water would dissolve any additional borax & did end up with some on the bottom of the jar, which is okay, but don’t let the shamrock touch it.
  6. We then tinted the liquid mixture with green food coloring for further observations.
  7. IMG_1955Hang the pipe cleaner shamrock into the jar so that the pencil rests on top of the jar and the shamrock is completely covered with liquid and hangs freely (not touching the bottom of the jar).
  8. Allow the jar to sit in an undisturbed location overnight.
  9. Look, observe & record like a scientist!                 IMG_1959Note:  Borax can typically be found in the laundry section of your stores.  It is not edible & adult supervision is required (my daughter said it looked like rock candy so of course we want the kids to know this isn’t rock candy!)                    What observations did we make?
    • The green food coloring did not absorb into the borax crystals, it was only in the water, which was a fun discovery and not what we expected.
    • Our jar was not wide enough at the top, the crystal grew so much in 48 hours that we couldn’t get it out.  We have decided to let it grow for a week to see what happens.
    • Crystals began to form within an hour.

Winter Science Experiments for Kids Leads to Discovery & Frozen Bubbles

Making Frozen Bubbles

We spent the deep freeze that visited the northeast on Friday testing & myth busting winter science experiments for kids that lead to discovery with frozen bubbles.  My son had learned about this at school & had tried it with the first snow fall, but it wasn’t quite cold enough.  So, out we went in the below freezing temperatures with our bright pink bubble container that reminded us of summer days & warmer weather.  It was so chilly & a bit windy, we could barely stand to be out of the garage – lol – so, unfortunately our fond memories of the pink bottle wasn’t quite enough to warm us through :).  The wind made it a bit challenging to catch the bubbles once they were blown, but it’s a must in order to witness the entire experiment.  Luckily we did catch a few bubbles here and there, which amazed us as we watched their transformation.  I was unable to catch it all

Freezing Bubbles Science Experiment

on camera, but at first the bubble began to swirl & suddenly the bubble began to crystalize in a frozen fashion at one end and travel around the bubble until it was fully crystalized in a frosted manner.

Someone had mentioned that the bubble would shatter.  However, we never had the chance to experience any shatter.  Each time the bubble would crystalize and finish its process, which was amazing to watch, it would pop! But you could hold on to the popped frozen bubble that was ever so delicate for a short period of time.  It was a fun experiment & I think the kids enjoyed playing with bubbles in the midst of a wintery day.  Bubbles have always been one of our favorites & we are excited to have a new way to use them.

IMG_1516  We also dug for further science experiments for kids that lead to us boiling a cup of hot water & tossing it into the frigid air that had fallen to -16.  My husband had heard that it would turn to snow.  I guess we thought turning to snow meant that it would look like larger snowflakes of sorts.  Instead, some of the water turned into a snowy mist & the rest of the water hit the ground.  We were kind of disappointed & as we shared our finds from the day with dad that evening, he said ‘that’s what it was supposed to do’.  Not our favorite at the end of the day, but then again what can compare to bubbles?!?  I thought we had myth busted dad, but my youngest told me that we had myth busted NOTHING unless we had blown something up; thanks Myth Busters!

Note:  After chatting with another blogger at What Do We Do All Day? I learned, that from their experience, any temps that are 20 degrees or lower are best for creating frozen bubbles.

This post was featured at:

A Marvelous Mess

A Crafty Soiree Now Project Inspired at Yesterday on Tuesday

and

All She Cooks

Lava Lamp Experiments at the Counter

We are the proud owners of a lava zebra and hot pink lava lamp.  Well, technically one of our kids is the proud owner of this little contraption.  It can be mesmerizing and has created the question on occasion, How Does a Lava Lamp Work?

zebra lava lamp

 

We found a great explanation at How Stuff Works? Part of the explanation reads;

In the lamp you have two liquids which are:

  • Very close in density
  • Insoluble in one another

Oil and water are insoluble in one another (that’s where the expression “oil and water don’t mix” comes from), but oil and water have very different densities (a volume of water weighs a lot more than the same volume of oil). They won’t work, so you search to find two liquids that are very close in density and are insoluble. 

Now you apply heat to the bottom of the mixture. In a liquid motion lamp, the heat usually comes from a light bulb. The heavier liquid absorbs the heat, and as it heats up, it expands. As it expands it becomes less dense. Because the liquids have very similar densities, the formerly heavier liquid is suddenly lighter than the other liquid, so it rises. As it rises, it cools, making it denser and therefore heavier, so it sinks.

This all happens in slow motion because heat absorption and dissipation are fairly slow processes, and the density changes we are discussing here are very slight.

A great explanation, but this starts to sound like the adults talking on Charlie Brown to my youngest; wah wah wah wah wah…

So, when I asked my intern to look at some science experiments recently, she discovered this one and didn’t realize at the time that it was the perfect explanation for my hands-on learner.

Our first attempt:

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We took a clean, empty plastic bottle and filled it 3/4 of the way with water.  We added blue food coloring, placed the cover on & shook it up.  Then we added some oil demonstrating that water and oil really don’t mix.  We then began to pour in salt.  As the salt pours in, it absorbs and pushes some of the oil to the bottom and then bounces back to the top.  It was a challenge to catch it in photo, but you can catch a glimpse below.

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Our Second Attempt:

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We took a clean, empty plastic bottle and filled it 3/4 of the way with water.  This time we did not add any food coloring.  We added the oil like above and then topped it off with heavy layer of glitter.  As we added the salt, it collected the glitter, pulled it to the bottom and created balls of glitter that bounced back.

IMG_0723Our Third Attempt:

We can’t wait to update this post & let you know if our idea works or not.  We will be adding a broken glow stick to the mix and will let you know if it’s successful or not.  Why haven’t we done it yet?  We have visited three different stores and have not been able to find the larger size.  We’re on the hunt & will add up our discovery as soon as we can locate the right size glow stick.