Easy Science Experiments to Do at Home

Instructor: Jessica Keys
Non-Newtonian fluids? In YOUR backyard? It's more likely than you think! You don't need a laboratory filled with a lot of expensive equipment to learn more about biology, physics or chemistry. Check out these safe and easy experiments that can be done at home. Fun for all ages and guaranteed to spark curiosity!

Carnation Coloration

Watch the color of a flower change right before your eyes! This activity demonstrates what happens to the water that plants need to live and grow. This can be done with any flower, but try this experiment with fresh cut white carnations for best results!

  • Get 2 plastic cups. Fill them both halfway with water and add plenty (25-30 drops) of food coloring to each cup. For example, one cup can have yellow food coloring, and the other can have red.
  • Take one flower and carefully split the stem down the middle with a sharp knife. Warning! Keep knives away from children! If kids are going to be performing this experiment, an adult can do this part beforehand.
  • With the two cups of water side-by-side, stick one half of the flower stem into one cup and the other half of the flower stem into the other cup.
  • What will happen to the flower and the colored water? Check on the flower over the next few hours and observe! Experiment with different plants, colors and combinations, and try predicting what will happen!

This experiment is a simple introduction to the basics of plant nutrition. To learn more about this (and other green topics), Study.com has lessons covering a full range of plant and fungi facts!

Oobleck

Oobleck came from a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck. In the story, a weird green goo causes problems for an entire kingdom when it starts falling from the sky. In real life, it's the nickname of a simple non-Newtonian fluid. This is a substance that can act like a solid or liquid, depending on how you play with it.

This project is easy and safe, but it can get sloppy! Save it for a sunny day outside (or on top of an old drop cloth).

Simply mix 1½ to 2 parts cornstarch to 2 parts water (and food coloring, if you like) in a very large container. For best results, add the cornstarch in small amounts, gradually.

It will eventually get nice and goopy. Experiment time!

  • What happens if it's squeezed? What happens if it's poured?
  • Try rolling the Oobleck into a ball or tube. What happens next?
  • Pour a layer of Oobleck on a plate and set it atop a subwoofer. What happens when you play different kinds of music at different volumes?

Clean up the Oobleck by thinning it with very hot water, then gradually pouring it down a drain under running hot water.

Oobleck is a great kid-friendly introduction to the world of physics. Be sure to check out Study.com's lessons about physics for an in-depth look at motion, viscosity, states of matter and more.

Foam Geysers

Over time, hydrogen peroxide breaks down naturally into water and oxygen. Some compounds, such those found in ordinary yeast, can speed up this process. See how this works in a fabulously foamy way! Note: This foam is non-toxic, but wear eye protection. Safety first!

  • Get a soda bottle (16 oz.) and set it on a baking sheet to catch the foam.
  • Carefully pour ½ cup of 6% (20-volume) hydrogen peroxide into the bottle. This is slightly stronger than what you may find at the grocery store; try a beauty supply store or salon. Warning! Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant, so adult supervision is recommended.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the bottle and swirl gently to mix.
  • For more colorful results, add a couple of drops of food coloring to the bottle as well.
  • In a separate container, mix 3 tablespoons of warm water with 1 packet of dry yeast until well combined.
  • Carefully pour the contents of the small container into the soda bottle...
  • ...stand back and watch the foam fly!

Experiment by changing parts of the formula and guessing what will happen and why. For example, what happens if you use a different sized bottle or a different amount of yeast or soap?

Even with simple ingredients, chemistry can produce spectacular results! Learn along with this Study.com chapter on chemical reactions and discover more about this explosive topic!

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