Density Experiment

This experiment is fun, easy and inexpensive.  Make sure to be very careful so you don’t break the egg….. Just remember to have fun!

First you need to gather up the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A tall glass
  • An egg
  • Water
  • Salt

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First, you’ll need to pour some water into the glass until it is about half full.  At this point if you dropped the egg into the water it would sink to the bottom.  Next, you’ll stir in a lot of salt – at least 6 tablespoons.  Slowly pour in plain tap water into the glass until the glass is nearly full.  The tap water should sit on top of the salt water.  You need to make sure that the two different types of water don’t get mixed or stirred in any way.  Gently lower the egg into the glass and observe what is happening.

So what’s happening?  If you did everything correctly, the egg should be suspended in the middle of the glass.  Cool, huh?  Can you figure out how this phenomena is happening?  The denser the liquid, the easier it is for an object to float in.  Salt water is much denser than tap water so when the egg is lowered into the glass, it drops through the tap water and rests on top of the salt water making it look like it’s suspended in the middle of the glass.

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Capillary Action Experiment

It’s fun, easy and inexpensive.  It does take a little bit of patience though….. Just remember to have fun!

First you need to gather up the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A glass of water
  • An empty glass
  • Paper towels

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First, you’ll need to twist a couple of pieces of paper towels together.  The twisting of the paper towels should look something like a rope when you’re done.  The rope will act as the wick that absorbs and transfers the water.  Sort of like how the wick of a candle transfers the wax to the flame.  Place one end of the paper towels (the rope) into the glass filled with water and the other end of the paper towels into the empty glass.  This is where the patience comes in….you’ll need to sit and watch for a while to observe what is happening.

So what’s happening?  After a while you’ll notice that the empty glass is starting to fill up with water.  It will keep filling up with water until both glasses have the same amount of water in them.  Your paper towel rope starts getting wet and it starts moving along the tiny gaps in the paper towels.   This occurs because the cohesive forces between the water and the paper towels are stronger than the adhesive forces of the water itself.  Cool, huh?

This whole process is called capillary action and can be applied to other examples as well, such as the way moisture travels in a plant from the roots through the stem up to the rest of the plant.

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How to Build a Parachute

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this project:

  • A plastic bag (maybe one you’ll get from the grocery store)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • A toy action figure

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First, you’ll need to cut a large square from your plastic bag.  Then you’ll want to cut the square into an 8-sided shape (an octagon).  Cut a small hole near the edge of each side (you’ll have 8 holes when you’re done).  Cut 8 pieces of string (all the same length) and attach each piece of string to each of the 8 holes.  Then tie the pieces of string to the toy action figure you are going to use as a weight.  Finally, grab a chair or find a high spot to drop your parachute and see how well it worked.  Just remember to drop it slowly.

Hint…… If you cut a small hole in the middle of the parachute, it will allow air to slowly pass through it rather than spilling out over the sides.  This will make the parachute fall in a more straight pattern.



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Magic Coin Heat Experiment

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A bowl of water
  • A glass bottle with a small mouth opening
  • A coin bigger than the mouth opening of the bottle

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First you will need to fill the bowl with cold water.  Place the neck of the bottle and the coin in the water to get them nice and cold.  You need to do this so that when you place the coin on top of the mouth of the bottle, it forms an airtight seal.  Set the coin on top of the mouth of the bottle and then wrap your warm hands around the bottle.  Wait for a few seconds and observe what’s happening.  Then remove your hands and see what happens next.

What happened?  Did the coin jump?  It should have.  Can you figure out why?  When you wrap your hands around the bottle, the air inside the bottle heats up.  The warm air inside the bottle pushes harder than the cool air outside the bottle which then causes the coin to jump.  When the air inside the bottle cools, the coin will stop jumping.  Cool, huh?

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Alkaline Battery

A disposable, rechargeable battery with a high energy density that has storage longevity. Mostly used in consumer electronics such as remote controls, flashlights, etc.

In an alkaline battery, the anode (negative terminal) is made of zinc powder and the cathode (positive terminal) is composed of manganese dioxide. These batteries use potassium hydroxide (KOH) as an electrolyte (the substance that makes the battery electrically conductive).

Most alkaline batteries are made in cylindrical and button forms with the most popular sizes being AA, AAA, C and D. Some are rechargeable but most are not. If you attempt to recharge a non-rechargeable alkaline battery, it could rupture and leak hazardous liquids.

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Nickel Cadmium Battery

NiCd is a type of rechargeable battery that uses nickel oxide hydroxide and cadmium as electrodes. Widely used in applications such as power tools, they have a high discharge rate but have low capacity compared to other rechargeable batteries.

There are two types of NiCd batteries: sealed and vented with the most common type being sealed. These batteries differ from the NiMh batteries because it uses cadmium as it’s negative electrode.

Up until the mid 1990’s, the NiCd batteries were the most popular in consumer electronics. Recently the NiMh and Li-Ion batteries have become more readily available and are cheaper. However the NiCd battery is still the preferred choice of batteries in certain high discharge applications (i.e. power tools) because it can endure the discharge with no damage or loss of capacity.

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Nickel Metal Hydride Battery

This battery uses a hydrogen absorbing alloy for the negative electrode instead of cadmium. They are interchangeable with most NiCd batteries, but NiMh batteries have a greater capacity and they are more environmentally friendly.

The positive electrode for this battery is nickel oxide hydroxide and the negative electrode is a hydrogen absorbing alloy. Like alkaline batteries, NiMh batteries can also be found in AA, AAA, C and D sizes. But these batteries are mostly compared with NiCd batteries.

Very popular in today’s society, NiMh batteries are often found in high drain devices such as digital cameras. But because these batteries are re-chargeable, they can also be found in items that need batteries replaced often such as children’s toys and game controllers.

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Lithium Ion Battery

A very light, rechargeable battery commonly used in notebook computers, cell phones and camcorders. As one of the newer batteries out today, this battery can give 40% more capacity than a comparable sized NiCd battery.

This battery is a rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move back and forth from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. Commonly found in portable electronics, these batteries are very light weight and have no memory effect (the phenomena that causes a battery to hold less of a charge than it’s capable of gradually losing capacity if repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged).

There are 3 main components of a Lithium-Ion battery. The anode is generally made of carbon, the cathode of metal oxide and the electrolyte of lithium salt in an organic solution. These batteries can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes and have a very low self discharge rate.

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How to Build a Flashlight

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this project:

• 2 D batteries
• 2 5” pieces of #22 copper insulated wire w/ the ends stripped off
• A toilet tissue roll – cut to 4” in length
• A 3 volt flashlight bulb
• 2 brass fasteners
• 1” X 3” cardboard strip
• A paper clip
• Small paper cup
• Tape

Are you ready? Let’s get started. Push the brass fasteners through the tube and attach the paperclip. The paperclip will act as your on/off switch. Attach a wire to each fastener on the inside of the tube. Next, tape your batteries together (+to-) and place inside the tube. Take one end of wire and secure it to the bottom of one battery’s negative terminal. Take other wire and insert it through a hole in the center of the cardboard strip (the hole needs to be large enough to fit the bulb through). Then twist the wire around the bottom of the bulb and insert the bulb into the cardboard strip. This strip, when taped to the tube, will position the bulb for contact with the positive terminal on the battery. Punch a hole through the bottom of your paper cup and push the bulb through the hold. The cup will then act as your reflector. Secure with tape.

What happened? Did the flashlight work? It should have. If not, make sure your wires are connected securely. Back in 1898, the first flashlight was constructed and this is almost the exact same project.

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How to Build a Magnetic Compass

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to build this project:

• 2 needles
• 1 small strip of paper
• A glass jar
• A magnet
• Pencil
• Thread

Are you ready? Let’s get started. Slide magnet over the 2 needles several times in the same direction to magnetize them. Grab your small strip of paper and fold it in half. On the underside of the folds, tape both needles to each side of the paper (make sure both needles are facing the same direction). On the outside of the paper, write the letter “S” on the end which has the needle eye and the letter “N” on the end which has the needle point. Fasten the paper to the pencil with the thread. Place the pencil over the jar so that the paper is hanging inside the jar. What’s happening? Is the paper pointing in a northerly direction? It should be.

What how or why is this happening? Can you figure it out? It’s actually very simple. On Earth, there is a magnetic field between the North and South poles that is created by the Earth’s metallic core. As a result, a magnetic compass will react with the Earth’s poles and always point in the direction of the North pole.

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