Waxing poetic – soda can, balloon, and static electricity experiment

NEWSFLASH - Soft drink cans HATE balloons! How many times have you snickered at Dad walking around the house with a sock stuck to his back? Or watched as he ran his hand up his shirt to scratch and pulls out one of those antistatic dryer sheets? The reason these items sticks to Dad has nothing to do with his popularity in the laundry world. It’s simply due to the fact that the laundry items are chock full of electrons and Dad, well, he’s just not. Take a soda can and lay it on its side on a smooth flat surface. Now rub the balloon back and forth on the top of your head. Yes, Reeko agrees that you look pretty silly rubbing that balloon on

Piezo Explosive Popper

Piezo Explosive Popper Kids love things that go boom. Throw in some flames and you've got one of the most popular experiments in Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab. The piezo popper, also known as the film cannon, binaca bomb, or photo flash, lets us release energy from a rapidly combusting fuel-air mixture and use that expanding air to blow the top off a film canister. The force of the mini-explosion will be so great that we'll be able to propel the canister over 3 stories in the air! Take apart the fireplace lighter and look for the "igniter" part. The igniter is the "clicker" mechanism and will have a button that is pressable and two metal connection points. The clicker button will be used to trigger the explosion. Take

Making Sparks – Part II

Making Sparks - Part II Ever heard of a Leyden jar?  It's been around for over 200 years and is the forerunner of the modern day capacitor.  The guy who invented it tested it on himself and stated that 'my whole body was shaken as though by a thunderbolt'.  And no, his name wasn't Leyden - Leyden was the town that the jar was invented in.  If we had named the jar after the inventor it would be called a 'Musschenbroeck jar' (now you see why it's called a Leyden jar).  It was once discharged through seven hundred monks who were holding hands.  They flew up into the air simultaneously.  Definitely sounds like a experiment Dad should be involved with... By the way, you might want to

Making Sparks

[sc:commonscripts] Making sparks with Styrofoam and a metal pie pan In this experiment we'll create an object called a electrophorus.  Using the materials listed above, we'll charge the object and then discharge it creating a snap, a little electrical shock, and a bright spark.  If you're afraid of a little electrical shock then get Dad to discharge the object for you.  And for grins, don't tell Dad beforehand about the resulting spark and shock.  After all the amateur garage projects Dad has worked on, he's bound to be used to electrical shocks by now... Use the pliers to remove the pen cartridge from the insides of the BIC pen.  This will be our 'handle'. Place the pie pan upside down on the table. Push a thumbtack down through the center

Magical Attracting Tape

Magical Attracting Tape In this experiment we will magically force electrons from Scotch Tape to pass to and from a table (note - we'd use Dad in this experiment but you know how stingy Dad is with things like, Ohhh, his tools for instance.  So if you think Dad's stingy with tools try asking him if you can transfer some of his electrons...).  Of course, you won't be able to actually see the electrons transfer but you will definitely see the affects of the hopping electrons.  The device we will create can further be used to test the charge of any object you want. Fill the 2 film cans about 3/4 full of clay. Place 2 straws, side by side, in each of the film cans.  Push the

Magic floating orb of tinsel

Magic floating orb of tinsel Science can often times seem like magic. In this mind bending experiment, we’ll demonstrate a very basic scientific principle with an experiment that will astonish your friends and confuse your Dad – and all you’ll need is a PVC pipe, Christmas tinsel, and a head of clean, dry hair to create a “magic wand” that will float a colorful orb. It won’t float your little sister or little brother out the window but it’s still pretty cool. Start with the Mylar Christmas tinsel (the thinner the tinsel the better the result). Take six strands of the Mylar tinsel and bundle them together by tying one end of the tinsel in a single knot. Tie the other end of the tinsel in a

Look Ma, I’m a Battery

[sc:commonscripts] Look Ma, I'm a Battery In a nutshell, a battery uses a chemical reaction to produce an electrical current.  In this experiment, we will create an electric current using nothing more than our own bodies (Reeko promises this won't hurt.... much). Mount the copper and aluminum metal plates to two separate pieces of wood. Connect one plate to one of the DC microammeter's terminals using an alligator clip and the hookup wire.  Connect the other plate to the second terminal.  A DC microammeter, which is an instrument that measures the electric current in a circuit, can be purchased from your local Radio Shack, electronics hobbyist, or auto store. Now place one hand on each plate. You should see an electric current generated on the meter.  If you don't see a

Lemon battery experiment – if life gives you lemons, make a battery!

Lemon battery Batteries store chemical energy that can be transmitted as electrical energy through various components in a circuit. You can think of the circuit as the path the electrons (electricity) take. The path has to have no breaks in it and it much be a path made of a material that will allow the electrons to flow (e.g. most metals although some are better conductors than others). Batteries, such as the one we are about to build, have electrodes, or the connection points on the battery. The anode is the electrode at which electrons leave the cell and oxidation occurs, and the cathode is the electrode at which electrons enter the cell and reduction occurs. In our battery, the lemon juice acts as the electrolyte which

Charge Up a Light Bulb – electrical charges experiment

[sc:commonscripts] Charge Up a Light Bulb Ever had this happen in your house - something gets broken and Dad goes over and takes a look at it.  He studies it for a while and then suddenly - bing.... a little light bulb goes on above his head?  Everybody in the house sighs and knows it's in everyone's best interest to get out of there - quick. In this experiment, we'll make a fluorescent light bulb 'go on' - literally.  And no evacuation will be called for... Take the comb and light bulb into a dark closet. Take the comb and rub it thoroughly through your hair.  If you don't have any hair, a wool shirt or sweater will work fine. Now hold the comb to the metal end