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Gravity or Magnetic Hills and the science behind them

So what makes the car roll up the slope of a hill? Do these mystery spots really defy the laws of physics? “Gravity Hills” or “Magnetic Hills” are natural places where cars are put into neutral and seem to move uphill on a slightly sloping road, apparently defying the law of gravity. Typically, the stretch of road is rather short (50-90 m), only a few meters wide, and surrounded by a natural hill landscape, without nearby buildings.   That’s our spot, dead on.   There are several things that enable us to sense which way is up. The balance mechanism…

Detecting Counterfeit Money experiment

To develop a method for determining if U.S. currency is authentic or counterfeit.   Safety Precautions: Do only under adult supervision. Do not stare at the black light, as ultraviolet light can be harmful to the eyes.   Must have a dark room, place the various US bills under the black light. Observer the color of the plastic strip within each bill.   Explanation: All new bills within the United States (Expect for the one dollar bill) have recently been redesigned. Each contains a thin, narrow plastic strip embedded within the bill itself, which is only visible if held up…

SHATTERING A MARBLE Experiment

Safety Precautions: Perform under adult supervision. Wear safety goggles. Exercise caution when using a stove. The marble will be very hot for several minutes after it is placed in water.   Procedure: Place a marble in a frying pan and heat for 10 minutes on the stove. Using tongs, remove the marble from the pan and drop it into a cup of cold water. Allow to cool for several minutes, then remove the marble.   Explanation: As the marble is heated, it expands. When it is cooled, it contracts. If it contracts too rapidly, it will shatter. This is why…

SHRINKY DINK Experiment

Piece of clear polystyrene plastic. (Obtain from the top of Dannon yogurt container or salad container – will have a recycling code of “6”)   Oven , Permanent Marker and Cookie sheet   Procedure If using the top of a yogurt container, remove the colored strip from the edge. Otherwise cut out a square piece of plastic. Draw a design on the plastic with a permanent marker. If desired, punch a hole in the plastic with a hole puncher, so it may be attached to a key chain when finished. Place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven…

Solar Oven Pizza box Experiment

Depending on how hot the day is, and how directly the sunlight shines on the oven, the marshmallows will take 30 to 60 minutes to get squishy when you poke them.   Then, open the oven lid and place a piece of chocolate (about half the size of the graham cracker square) on top of each marshmallow. Place another graham cracker square on top of the chocolate and press down gently to squash the marshmallow.   Close the lid of the solar oven and let the Sun heat it up for a few minutes more, just to melt the chocolate…

8 Phases of the Moon experiment

According to NASA, the Moon travels a distance of 382,400 kilometers as it orbits around the Earth during its 29.53 day lunar cycle. Throughout its travels, the Moon waxes and wanes and even becomes invisible to us for a short period. Eight separate phases are recognized during the lunar cycle, and each of them can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own front porch.   NEW MOON (1st Phase) When the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun the side that is being lit is facing the Sun. We see its dark side, which means we are unable…

HYDROPHOBIC SAND aka Magic Sand Experiment

Procedure: Add some magic sand to water, cup or bowl. Clear or transparent cups allow you to see from the side as well from the top.   Explanation: The magic sand is an amazing substance that will not get wet in water. It forms spectacular formations underwater, and when the water is poured off, it is completely dry. One advertising slogan for this substance is “You cab bet it won’t get wet!”. Well that is true, but I found out the hard way at Science night one year, when you have 300 kids put their hands on the magic sand…

SHRINKING A STYROFOAM CUP EXPERIMENT

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Do only under adult supervision. Never operate a pressure cooker without safety release valve, and never operate a pressure cooker without a thorough knowledge of its operation. Never attempt to open a pressure cooker while it is hot. Improper use of the pressure cooker can results in serious injury.   PROCEDURE: Place about an inch of water in the pressure cooker, and place within a styrofoam cup open end down. If you want, you can draw a design on the cup. Replace the lid with the pressure relief valve and heat on the stove for 10 minutes. Remove…

POPCORN BUOYANCY EXPERIMENT

PROCEDURE: 1. Show them the container full of unpopped popcorn. 2. Lay the metal ball on top of the un-popped popcorn and explain that the metal ball will turn into a ping pong ball. 3. Shake the container gently. The metal ball will sink to the bottom, and the ping pong ball will rise to the top, making it look like the metal ball has transformed.   EXPLANATION Objects with a density lower than the fluid that they are submerged in will float and objects with a greater density will sink. In this set-up, the un-popped popcorn form a coarse…

TEA BAG ROCKET experiment

Materials Required a tea bag (I used Earl Grey) a plate a lighter scissors a room without a draft   Safety Considerations Because of the potential fire hazard, this demonstration should be performed by the instructor, not the students.   The tea bag will lift off almost vertically; however, if there are any drafts in the room it will change the path the rocket will take. Therefore, this experiment should be performed away from flammable materials, and students should be seated at an appropriate distance away from the experiment.   This cool experiment is a fun after dinner experiment with…

How to make Play Dough

PROCEDUCE: Add these ingredients to a pan. Stir thoroughly until the mixture is free of all lumps. 1 cup flour 1 cup water 1 teaspoon veggie oil 2 teaspoons cream of tartar 1/4 cup salt Food coloring (your favorite color) Pan Oven 2) Heat over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken Remove from heat. Let cool, then knead into desired consistency. 3) Store in an airtight ziplock bag   EXPLANATION When heated, starch undergoes gelatinization. or thickening. This is due to hydrogen bonding between starch and water molecules. The granules of starch absorb…

Jello and Laser Beam Experiment

PROCEDURE: Prepare several colors of gelatin dessert )Jello). Make a prediction and then shine the laser through a transparent container of Red Jello Repeat with other colors. Observe   EXPLANATION: Gelatin is an example of a colloid, which is an evenly dispersed mixture that scatters light due to its large particles size. When a laser is shines through the red Jello, the laser beam is clearly visible with the jello it self. The tiny particles of red jello reflect the red light of the laser, making it visible. It is for this reason the red jello transmits red light.  …

Black & White Disk Illusion experiment

The wheel is called Benham’s top and it creates an illusion of color when black and white patterns rapidly change. It is named after the toymaker Charles Benham, who, in 1895, created a top painted with the pattern shown.   When you spin the disk and stare at this illusion you may see arcs of subtle color. These are called Fechner colors and appear from nowhere.   When you spin the disk and Stare at this black and white wheel long enough and you may see a colors appear out of nowhere. But incredibly, different people see different colors –…

ROLLBACK CAN Experiment

The reason that the can moves backwards is the transition of potential energy to kinetic energy. In the case of the rollback can, kinetic energy is transformed into an easily observable example of elastic potential energy, which is then transformed back into kinetic energy.   The way this works is when I rolled the can forward, I gave the can kinetic energy. Gravity exerts a lot of force on the heavy battery, pulling it down and causing it to resist the twisting motion of the rubber band. As the can rolls forward, the stubborn, heavy battery doesn’t turn with it,…

DIY Moon Sand Experiment

Sand is an excellent tool for exposing children to a wide range of sensory experiences.   Kids can be creative as they can squish it, shape it, and mold it in Different containers. At the same time be social as while they are playing in the sand they will talk about what they are doing.   You can hide marbles or other objects to make them think how to find and counting the number of marbles in the sand.   It never dries out so it can be used over and over. I store mine in ziplock bags.   You…

Surface Tension and a Ping Pong Ball Experiment

Can you place a Ping Pong Ball in the center of a cup or bowl and not have it move to the side? Answer is yes, if you break down the surface tension. Check it out!   Placing the Ping-Pong ball at the surface of the water creates curvature in the water surface all the way around the ball. The surface tension will act to minimize the total surface area. Unless the ball is placed exactly in the middle of the cup   Which is nearly impossible!   There is an asymmetry in the surface curvature that will draw the…

Dissolving Styrofoam Experiment

SAFETY: This is a really cool experiment, but it requires a few safety precautions. Acetone should only be handled by an adult and due to the fumes of acetone, it should be done outside. This solvent is very flammable. Keep away from all flames.   Have your kids predict what will happen to the Styrofoam cup when you put it into Acetone? Acetone is (Nail Polish Remover). Sounds so much more cooler saying Acetone.   This is a tricky one. It looks like a chemical reaction because it is so dramatic, but actually it is a physical reaction. Acetone is…

Make your own Mucus experiment

PROCEDURE 1) Ask a adult to heat 1/2 cup of water to it boils. 2) Then take the pot off the heat. Then add 2 drops of food coloring. I use Gross Green 3) Add 3 packages of unflavored gelatin and stir for a couple minutes. 4) Then add about 1/2 cup of corn syrup so you have about 1 cup of thick mixture. 5) Stir with a fork and lift out some long strands of gunk. 6) As it cools, you might need to add water, spoonful by spoonful.   EXPLANATION You have just made fake or artificial mucus….

Karate Chop With Air Pressure Experiment

EXPLANATION I was able to chop the ruler in two because of air pressure. When I spread out the newspaper on top of the ruler, I basically created a large suction cup because I’ve preventing air from flowing underneath. When I strike the ruler, it tries to lift up against the newspaper, but because the air can’t flow very quickly into the space between the table and the newspaper, most of it simply pushes down on the newspaper (and the ruler).   Since I had 8 inches of ruler covered by the newspaper. And one inch wide, that would mean…

Earthquake Shake Table (Terremoto) Experiment

There are several different experimental techniques that can be used to test the response of structures to verify their seismic performance, one of which is the use of an earthquake shaking table (a shaking table, or simply shake table)   Building in earthquake country can be a tricky business. Architects and engineers run simulations using models and shake tables to test the integrity of buildings and determine necessary reinforcements. In this activity, I use a very simple, non motorized shake table to test my structures.   PROCEDURE Place two boards or blind voters on top of one another. “Rubber bands”…

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