If you’ve decided to stay put over March Break, the challenge is always how to keep the kids occupied without spending a lot of money. Here are some STEAM based (science technology engineering arts mathematics) experiments the folks at chickaDEE magazine came up with to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
1. BALLOON BLOW UP
Things you will need: Vinegar, baking soda, funnel, balloon
• Pour vinegar into bottle
• Pour baking soda into balloon using a funnel
• Stretch the balloon over the top of the bottle
• Watch it blow up
• The vinegar and the baking soda mix together to make an acid-base reaction. The reaction creates carbon dioxide gas that bubbles up from the mixture. The gas expands up and out of the bottle and inflates the balloon.
STEAM ELEMENTS: Here you can see science and engineering coming together to make a balloon change form. As with the rainbow milk, the more interesting you make the visual impact the more interesting it is for kids.
2. RAINBOW MILK (not to be consumed)
Things you will need: Milk, Food Colouring, Dish Soap
• Fill a bowl with milk
• Add a few drops of food colouring
• Add a drop of soap in the middle of the colour
• And watch the colours swirl
• The dish soap does not mix with the milk. Instead, it floats on top and spreads over the surface. As it spreads, it grabs the food colouring. Soap is a “degreaser” so the molecules in it are attacking the fat in the milk, causing motion which creates the swirling of the colours.
• It is a fun example of two different liquids coming together.
STEAM ELEMENTS: Here you can see both science and art coming together to make a visually interesting experiment where kids can see two opposing liquids contrasting each other.
3. PENCILS IN A BAG
Things you will need – Ziploc Bag, Pencils and Water
• Pour water into the Ziploc bag
• Seal the bag
• Poke the first pencil through the bag
• Now try again and again!
• The plastic bag is made up of long chains of molecules called polymers. This makes a plastic bag stretchy. When the sharpened pencil pierces through the bag, these long chains of molecules seal around the pencils within seconds, thereby preventing a leak.
STEAM ELEMENTS: Once again this showcases science and engineering at play. Putting elements together that can be used as a water barrier. It is such a fun way to introduce the benefits of plastics and why it was created, but it could also launch a discussion into the down side of plastic as well. If it winds up in areas that it is not good for such as our lakes and oceans.