The First PHYSICS FUNdamentals Event, 'Science At Home'
August 29, 2013
On the 20th August I held the first official 'Science at Home' event, I invited a group of children from the local primary school, Seabrook Church of England Primary.
To get things started I showed a couple of simple demonstrations, sink or float and the home made lava lamp. Everyone found them interesting and were far too intelligent for my questions, so it was time to start some experiments! The first experiment was 'popping pots', using old camera roll pots, some effervescent tablets and some water we caused the pots to pop and explode in every direction.
This experiment was followed by the 'air pressure diver' experiment, which was made into a competition. You may have seen this experiment on the science at home page on this website, each child competed to see who could create the best pair of divers that could be squeezed to the bottom, hook up the treasure that lies there and then float back to the top with the treasure. This was clearly a frustrating challenge, but everyone was determined to retrieve their treasure and eventually it was the youngest two members of the group who designed the best divers that won the competition.
A more relaxing task followed, and the aim was to build a circuit to light up an LED bulb. However, instead of batteries the children had to use lemons. A number of pairs were able to light their bulb using only 2 lemons.
The next experiment was rather different, we designed spectroscopes using cardboard and an old CD to split the light into its spectrum (like a rainbow). Everyone made their own spectroscope to take home with them. The spectroscopes were able to split light from both the sun and lightbulbs into a spectrum (separation of the colours that combine to make the white light). The spectroscope worked best at separating the light from the light bulb into a clear spectrum.
The final experiment was of course the messiest, and I am also told it was the most fun. It is of course the mentos and diet soda experiment. For those of you that have not seen this experiment in action you can find a video on the science at home page. Everyone had their own bottle of diet lemonade and simultaneously dropped 2 mentos into each of the bottles. There were many large fountains of fizzy drink produced and it was a good job we were all wearing lab coats and goggles as things got rather sticky, so it was a good point to end the science event.
I really enjoyed showing this small sample of science demonstrations and experiments to the children and as I understand they all had an interesting time and each had their own favourite experiment. Hopefully, this will be the first of many 'Science at Home' events.