Here are some cool and easy science experiments that can be made with minimum equipment and only 10 minutes: no rock candy, and not just for kids.
5. Non-Newtonian Fluid
Non-newtonian fluid can act as a solid or a liquid depending on certain conditions: it would flow when poured, but if a force applied, it would resist it. It is also known under the name oobleck. This is quite literally a fluid you can walk on (if you make enough). And the ingredients are remarkably simple: 1 cup of water. 1.5 - 2 cups of corn starch, some food coloring (you can skip this one, but it looks better with the coloring). Pour your water into a bowl and start slowly mixing your corn starch into it. Stir in the starch with the spoon or hand. When you are getting close to 1.5 cups of starch, start mixing it in slower, and mixing with your hand so that you could feel the consistency. Keep adding starch until the fluid would slide down your hand but resist slapping or punching it.
If you overdid it with the starch and it solidified, simply add some water. Play with the proportions until you get the result: and you will definitely know when it happens!
4. Xylem Water Movement Demonstration
This experiment is not only science but also art - so prepare your camera to take some pictures to share. This experiment will require very little work, but a few hours of patience, so you can leave it overnight.
You can use any white flowers, salad leaves, Chinese cabbage or celery - the larger and lighter the better. You will also require a few containers or jars, water, and several colors of food coloring. Add water to your containers, about 1.5 inches deep. Pour a few drops of coloring into each bottle or jar, so each had a different color. Cut the chalks or stems of your plans at about half and place them into the water while the cut is fresh. Now all you need to do is wait (approximately 8 hours).
Plants have little tubes called xylem to transport water from the ground into their leaves, flowers, or fruits. We usually do not see it because water is transparent, but the added food coloring would highlight the network of stroma in the leaves, and give a new hue to the flower petals.
3. Tornado In Jar
We will share two ways to create a tornado in a jar or a bottle. It is preferable that you have a clear and transparent one to observe the results better. For the first experiment, you need a medium size jar full of water, and approximately a spoonful of dishwashing liquid. Add the liquid into the jar and put the lid on it tightly. Shake the jar to create bubbles. Now swirl the jar around to generate a whirlpool in it. Little bubbles of the dishwasher soap will create a distinct form of a “tornado”!
Another method is just slightly more complicated. You need two large bottles (plastic would work), a tube to connect them, and water. Fill the bottles with water more than halfway, and connect them with a tube via their openings. You can add some glitter or lamp oil to add some visual effects. Now try whirling the water in the top bottle and turn it, so it was draining into the lower one. You will see how the water will create a vortex as it is draining down! That is because your system is closed, and while the water from the top bottle fills the bottom one, the air from the bottom one must flow up. And it creates our “tornado.”
2. Handmade Rainbow
You need a large enough container with water to fit your hand and leave enough space (even a bathtub), a bright white flashlight, a mirror, and a sheet of white paper. Hold your mirror in the water: you can place it on the bottom, but it is easier to control the angle if you are holding it. Aim the beam of the light from the flashlight into the mirror. Now align your angles, so the beam of light was reflected off the mirror onto the sheet of paper. If done correctly and the beam is bright enough to not dissipate entirely, a rainbow should appear on the paper. In this experiment, water plays the role of a lense. As the white light passes through it, the beam splits into the component colors, creating a rainbow.
1. Growing Your Own Salt Crystals
Same as other experiments, this one requires only basic materials. You will need black, thick paper (construction paper would work best). The paper has to be porous enough to absorb more liquid; otherwise, the crystals will be too small to impress. The rest is simple: cake pan, warm water, Epsom salts (or just regular salt), and scissors.
It can work any day, but a warm, dry place will help water to evaporate faster, so a sunny windowsill or a picnic table would be great. Cut your construction paper enough to fit into the bottom of the pan. Add one tablespoon of Epsom salts per ¼ cup of warm water. Stir until the salts dissolve. Pour your saltwater onto the paper (which is in a pan already!). All your work is done, just place the container in the location you chose for crystal growing, and watch your small spiky crystals grow on it as the water evaporates under the heat!
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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