Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ATLAS: Spooky Science

Science programs are always a huge hit with my 3rd-6th graders, so this month we combined science with a Halloween theme to do Spooky Science.

I had five experiments planned, including making slime. As usual, I registered 12 kids for this one hour program. The biggest issue I ran into was that slime making was way more time intensive than I remembered from doing it a few years ago. We didn't have time to go through all five experiments, but the kids seemed to have a fun time anyways. My handout of instructions for each experiment is linked to in the title of each.

Experiment #1: Wiggly worms

Picture from openclipart.org
For this experiment you soak gummy worms in baking soda water then transferred them to a cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction is supposed to make the worms move. Word of warning, it only works if you slice the worms very thinly. This is also a good experiment to do first and come back to, because the worms do take a significant amount of time to soak.

Experiment #2: Magic Pumpkin

Image from openclipart.org
This is an optical illusion I found on Steve Spangler's website. There is a template of a pumpkin that you attach to skewer so that when you spin it you get a moving jack o lantern face. The explanation on the website was slightly confusing so I simplified it on my handout. The basic idea is that you glue two of the four pieces together, glue the others in half, and tape them on the skewer in a "plus sign" formation. For my skewers I used some leftover chopsticks I had in my storage cabinet.

Experiment #3: Slime

As I mentioned, this was the most time intensive part of this program. It still was messy, fun and definitely worth doing. There are many recipes online, and many variations you can make. One of my favorite variations is using clear glue, adding a paint called GlowAway and making your slime glow in the dark.

Experiment  #4: Ghost cup

Image from openclipart.org

This was one of the experiments I sent home because we didn't have time to do it. I found it on the website "Science Bob" listed as a chicken cup. It is a lesson in friction, as well as sound amplification. I don't remember how I figured this out, but if you pull the paper towel in a longer stroke, it sounds like a ghost. My tip for this experiment is to make sure to cut holes in each cup ahead of time.

Experiment #5: Dancing ghost

Image from openclipart.org
This is a simply activity done with a tissue and a balloon. You cut a ghost out of the tissue, rub the balloon in your hair, and use the static energy to lift the ghost. This was definitely the easiest and most simple experiment we did. It was another one I first found on Science Bob.

How it went
We accomplished three experiments in the program, and I sent two of them home. The slime seemed to be the most popular activity, followed by the magic pumpkin. Overall, this was a fun program that was relatively inexpensive. It cost about $20, but only because I had to buy new containers of glue and Borax for slime making.

Feel free to use these experiments and handouts at library programs or any other opportunity you may have. I would love to hear about how they have been used! You can comment here, email me at marrak at libcoop dot net, or find me on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets). 

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