Albert Einstein Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Give your children or students the chance to learn more about the discoveries of Albert Einstein through these fun experiments. Learn what you need to complete these experiments and provide additional educational opportunities.

Bending Light

Albert Einstein was the first scientist to put forward the notion that light was both a wave and a particle. Help young students or children build their understanding of some of the curious ways light behaves with this experiment. You'll need:

  • A glass half full of water
  • A straw

The kids should look at the straw from the top, bottom and the side, focusing especially on where the straw enters the water. Do they see anything strange?

Your children or students should be able to see how light bends, or refracts, when it passes through gases and liquids. Kids can find out more about this subject with this lesson on the properties of light, which you can incorporate into the study time around this experiment.

Bending Water

Kids can get hands-on experience with this physical application of Einstein's electrical mobility equation as they watch static electricity move things around. Get ready with the following supplies:

  • A nylon comb
  • A water faucet

You'll need to turn the faucet on a small amount for this experiment to work. Then comb your hair several times and bring the comb slowly closer to the water, about four inches below the faucet. Watch what happens when it gets within about an inch of the water!

The water should bend out towards the comb. Adjust the variables of your experiment to see how it changes by combing your hair more, changing the amount of water, or allowing other students or children to try.

This experiment works by giving the comb an electrical charge. These charges then attract the water, bending the water towards the comb. Kids can learn more about static electricity and electricity in general with short, easy-to-follow lessons.

Layered Liquids

Einstein was interested in different densities in relation to quantum states and bosons, but your students or children can start understanding the principles behind differences in density with this experiment. You'll need these supplies to conduct the experiment, increasing proportions depending on the number of kids doing the experiment:

  • 1/4 c. dark corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 c. dishwashing liquid
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 12 oz. clear cup
  • other cups for mixing
  • food coloring

This experiment can get messy, so make sure you do it in an area that is easy to clean. First, your students or children should pour the syrup or honey into the middle of their glass, filling it about 1/6 of the way. Then they should slightly tilt the glass and pour the dishwashing liquid down the side. Have them record where the liquids settle in relation to each other.

Students should then mix some food coloring with water in one of their extra cups. Color the rubbing alcohol a different color in another cup.

Remind students to add the rest of the liquids very slowly, tipping the glass and pouring down the side for each liquid. They should add, in this order: the colored water, the vegetable oil and the rubbing alcohol. Have them sketch their cups and label the positions of the liquids before they discuss why the liquids stay apart and how they are different.

The liquids stay apart because of their different densities, preventing them from occupying the same space. Have your children or students mix their glasses up and watch what happens immediately and then after several moments.

You can also use this experiment as a chance to help your students or children understand the scientific method. This lesson on the steps of the scientific method can be used before or after the experiment to help them see that they are participating in the steps of this process, just like Einstein and many other scientists before them.

Kids can also find out more about Albert Einstein himself with a lesson that discusses his inventions and discoveries. Your students or children can find out more about the contributions Einstein made to science, and they might even get some ideas for experiments of their own.

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