Science Experiments

Testing dishes for the presence of lead (and how to detect gunshot residue)

Uses for lead Lead metal is easy to work with and resists corrosion which makes it a desirable metal for many purposes. However, lead is also very dangerous to your health. Lead is used to create glass-like finish on walls, toys, or dishes. It also acts as a sealer to prevent moisture from damaging surfaces. These properties make it excellent for paint and coatings for walls and dishes. However, breathing in lead-based paint particles from the paint causes lead poisoning. Lead poisoning Lead poisoning occurs when lead enters the bloodstream and binds to enzymes in our body causing the enzymes to lose their critical functionality – everything from digestion to neural processing is impacted by lead poisoning. People suffering from lead poisoning may experience seizures and vomiting as their

The absorption of light by blood experiment – an experiment with blood and colored lights.

The absorption of electromagnetic radiation happens all around us. In fact, this absorption process is the cornerstone for many modern-day technologies. Absorption of electromagnetic radiations allows the conversion of solar energy into electricity. The absorption of microwave electromagnetic radiation is what makes radars work. And our bodies absorb electromagnetic radiation too. Certain frequencies are absorbed easier by our bodies than others. In this experiment, we will demonstrate the body’s absorption of a common frequency range of electromagnetic radiation – visible light. In a darkened room, we will hold a red LED flashlight to our thumb. The thumb will glow bright red indicating much of the light passed right through our thumb. When we hold a green LED flashlight to our thumbs however, almost all of the light

Make a Christmas-time glitter globe (aka snow globe)

In this science experiment we will mix molecules to make a glitter globe (i.e. a "snow globe"). We will combine rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, and a few other tiny, shiny things to make a cool science toy. How to make a glitter globe Fill a clear plastic or glass bottle 1/4 full of rubbing alcohol. Add one drop of food coloring if you want to give the liquid mix some color (and make it easier to differentiate the alcohol layer from the layer of oil that we will add next).Note: if you want to use your snow globe for decorative purposes, skip the food coloring altogether. Fill the remainder of the bottle with baby or vegetable oil (the oil will sit on top of the alcohol).  Leave a

How to create a terrarium (or vivarium or self-contained bottle garden)

Making a terrarium, a self-sustainable ecosystem with a living, growing plant inside a sealed bottle, is a pretty easy project and the plant growing inside can survive for decades without any watering or other care.  Here’s how you can build a terrarium on your own. How to make a terrarium, vivarium, or garden in a bottle First, find a suitable sealed glass bottle or jar. A bottle with a wide mouth will be much easier to work with. Make sure the bottle has a lid or cork which can be sealed tightly. Fill the bottom of the bottle with pebbles. You need at least enough pebbles to cover the bottom of the bottle but can add more if the bottle is taller. Try to fill about 1/5 of

Make chicken sounds with a cup

Make chicken sounds with a cup Long, long ago, instead of mice and monkeys, Reeko used chickens for all of his experiments (Reeko switched to lab rats and monkeys when one of his chicken experiments went terribly wrong). Chickens proved to be perfect for scientific exploration! They didn’t each much, they were easy to find, and when you were done with them, well, we all know that chicken soup is good for your health (unless, of course, you are the chicken). In fact, the only difficult thing Reeko found when using chickens for science experiments was catching them but even that Reeko solved with science. In this experiment, we’ll use a cup, a piece of string, and a paperclip to make a chicken caller. Oh, and if

Make a homemade hearing aid – collect sound vibrations using a paper cone

[sc:commonscripts] Make a homemade hearing aid Everything that moves makes a sound by causing vibrations or movement of air.  If you don't believe this, next time Dad is kicked back in his easy chair watching TV, sneak up behind him with two metal pots and bang them together real hard.  Now listen carefully to the whooshing sound as Dad flies out of his chair and runs towards the door.  By the way, if Dad offers no reaction and instead lies incredibly still, throw some water on him... The vibration or movement of air is the basis for sound.  Our ears collect these air movements and change them to nerve signals that are sent to our brain.  Our brain interprets these signals as sound. So what if we could collect

Make a homemade Kazoo musical instrument

Homemade Kazoo Ah, the sound of beautiful music. But what some will call music, others will call noise. The lab rats and monkeys are partial to Metallica while Reeko is more of a Beethoven aficionado. Put the two groups of musical tastes together and well, you have a big fight over what radio station to listen to. In this experiment, we’ll create a musical instrument called a Kazoo. With it, we’ll make beautiful music… or noise, depending upon your musical preference. 1 – Cut a small square of wax paper, about 1 inch larger than the end of your cardboard tube. 2 – Center the wax paper square over the end of the tube and wrap the edges. 3 – Put the rubber band around the wax paper so

Have you lost your marbles?

Have you lost your marbles? Sound surrounds us all the time.  You may awaken in the morning to the sound of an alarm clock or Dad snoring.  During the day you may hear the cacophony of auto traffic or the hustle and bustle of city life.  But all sounds have one thing in common.   They are formed by the movement or vibration of an object. The sounds we hear every day are formed by the vibration or movement of air.   Basically what happens is sound makes tiny particles in the air, called molecules, bump into each other.  The molecules bump into each other compressing and then expanding to cause the wave to move like a falling column of dominos.  This vibration of molecules is passed from molecule

Good, good, good vibrations – sound and vibrations experiment

Good, good, good vibrations Sound is actually nothing more than moving air and the way we perceive that moving air with our ears. Now you may be saying "Wait a minute Reeko... sound is made by moving air?". Sure.  Think about it.  Your dad moves a lot of air - right?  And he makes a nasty sound when he moves it - yes?  Let Reeko explain... Cut off a piece of two foot string (2'). Using a rubber band, attach a metal spoon to the midpoint of the string. Wrap the ends of the string around your fingers. Rest your fingers in your ears (don't stick 'em in too far or you'll poke your brains out!). Standing next to a table, rock your body back and

Sucking an egg into a bottle – heat and pressure experiment

Sucking an egg into a bottle Here's an interesting experiment that we promise you'll be talking about at school the next day. Find a bottle with a long, narrow neck and set it on the table.  The opening should be just small enough to keep the egg from falling inside. Boil and peel a egg. Have Mom or Dad drop 3 lit matches into the bottle (if Dad does the 'dropping' then make sure the fire extinguisher is handy). Quickly place the egg over the mouth of the bottle. What happens? The lit matches heat the air inside the bottle. When air is heated it expands (and takes up more room). As the heated air expands, some of it escapes out the bottle. When the matches go out,