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

Yep, you heard right. Make a homemade tornado

[sc:commonscripts] This tornado experiment will blow you away! A tornado is a powerful, twisting windstorm (now that really does sound like Dad, doesn't it). The winds of a tornado are the most violent winds that occur on the earth. They whirl around the center of the storm at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (and that's faster than Dad running to the bathroom during a commercial break). A tornado is a rotating funnel cloud that extends downward from a mass of dark clouds. Some funnels do not reach the earth. Others may strike the surface of the earth, withdraw into the dark clouds above, and then dip down and strike the earth again. In this science experiment, we are going to recreate a tornado -

Trapped Bird in a cage

[sc:commonscripts] Trapped Bird in a cage Ever wonder how cartoons are created? Basically what happens is the artist draws the cartoon characters in multiple sequential images and presents them to us in a manner that causes our minds to fill in the missing pieces. This experiment helps demonstrate the basic principle of animation. Draw a picture of a tiger on the index card. On another card the same size, draw a picture of a cage. Now tape the two cards, with the drawings facing outwards, on opposite sides of a pen. Spin the pen between your hands or fingers. Does the tiger appear to be trapped in the cage? It appears to be caged because of how your eyes and brain work. When you see the image of the tiger, your brain

Simulating Gravity on Film

Simulating Gravity on Film Zero-G refers to weightlessness and means “zero g-force” not “zero gravity” as some would believe. It’s most commonly envisioned as astronauts floating around in space. You can experience zero gravity in a free falling airplane too and in fact, astronauts use these free falling planes to train in a weightless environment. 300 miles above the earth, where the space shuttle flies, gravity is only about 15% less than it is at the surface of the Earth – not much of a difference. You can think of weightlessness either as the absence of gravity (which is basically wrong) or as gravitational force pulling on an object from all sides equally (which is basically right). In this experiment, we’ll change the direction that the gravitational

I’m feeling pretty heavy with all this metal in me

I’m feeling pretty heavy with all this metal in me If you sit there and ponder the foods that you eat for a bit, you’ll realize that you eat plants and animals just like other fuzzy creatures in the forest. But did it ever occur to you that you eat metal too? Just like a tool grinder chews through a metal blade, little scientists chew through metal in their food without even really thinking about it. Even more eye opening is the fact that metal in your diet is required to survive. Iron is a part of everyone’s healthy diet and yes, it’s the exact same iron that’s used to make metal nails. Oxygen is transported through your body in your blood and iron is required in

Galileo’s Free Fall

Galileo's Free Fall You may already know that there is a mystical force called gravity that pulls everything on Earth downward. This is really cool since if we didn't have gravity we'd all be floating around in space. Do you think that this mysterious force pulls heavy objects faster than a light object? Reeko thinks the answer may surprise you. Place newspapers on the floor around the chair. Stand on the chair while your partner lays on the floor peering at the newspaper. Hold the 2 oranges in each hand. Extend your arms straight out away from your body (and over the newspapers) so that each orange is the same height from the floor. Let go of both oranges at the same time. Did they hit the newspaper at

Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption

[sc:commonscripts] Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption Reeko will never forget the first time he discovered this unique experiment. He learned three very important things that he has never forgotten to this day. Firstly, if you mix Mentos and Diet Coke, you get a violent eruption that will spew a gallon of sticky cola on you before you can even blink an eye. As he passed through the lab animal house, on his way to the kitchen to clean up, he learned something else – rats love coke! Before he knew it, he had 50 of those little furry critters clinging to his lab coat, licking away at the sticky mixture that had drenched his jacket (and they jumped him from behind knowing that he wouldn’t be able

The evolution of a spider (or not) – science and religion battle over Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

What is the Theory of Evolution? Being a prominent (ahem) member of the scientific community, Reeko has a lot of scientist friends.  Reeko knows that the thing that bugs scientists more than anything, is when people don’t believe their theories (well, that and burning lab coats). And when it comes to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, scientists treat it almost like a religion. On the flip side, some religions have a big problem with the scientists’ Theory of Evolution making the whole subject of “natural selection” a huge heated debate between scientists and religious groups. Scientists theorize that humans evolved from single cells to fish to monkeys. Some religious groups, called creationists, take offense at this proposal saying it’s silly to think that people magically grew, over time,

Splatter blood for blood spatter analysis

Splatter blood for blood spatter analysis First we will let you in on a little secret. When you or your brother or sister do something wrong, your parents have to figure out who did it. To parents this is like a whodunit game and in fact, they have a secret name for it that they have sworn never to reveal to the kids (breaking this rule can result in loss of their official parenting card). It’s called the “which kid do we smack this time” game. And no, they don’t roll dice or draw straws to figure it out the winner. Parents have an eerie, almost superhero-like ability that allows them to scan human faces to determine the guilty party. It worked so well that a long