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Spark your child's love for Science: 4 cool experiments you can do at home

Spark your child's love for Science: 4 cool experiments you can do at home

When it comes to helping your child explore the role of Science in everyday life, the world is your classroom.

As parents of the digital age, the internet is a wonderful trove of mind-boggling home experiments and websites you can use to help your child connect textbooks with the day-to-day for a fruitful learning experience.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to make a laboratory out of your living room.

Whether you’re a parent of little Sherlock Holmes looking to examine everything under a microscope, or little Einsteins hoping to win a future Nobel Prize, here are 4 simple science experiments you can do at home to give your child a blast of a time!

#1 Get Fizzing With Naked Egg

While your child has seen and tasted the chicken egg in all its forms and glory, nothing tickles a young mind like a bouncy naked egg. Do this experiment with your child and open their eyes to the nature of chemical reactions taking place all around them.

What You Need

  • 1  egg
  • 1 transparent container
  • Vinegar

What To Do

  1. For starters, place the egg in a transparent container. Next, add vinegar to submerge the egg. Within a minute of adding vinegar, the surface of the eggs will begin to fizzle (like Mentos in Coca-Cola).
  2. Cover the container and let the egg sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Rinse the egg in water to remove traces of softened shells. 

The Result

What’s left is a translucent and bouncy egg held together by a thin layer of semipermeable membrane. Have your child hold the egg and give it a light squeeze. The egg should feel slightly plumper and firm to the touch!

So how did this happen?

Remember the fizzing when you first added vinegar? That’s a classic example of acid-base reaction. Upon contact, the calcium carbonate in the eggshells (the base) reacts with the acetic acid in the vinegar, forming a water-soluble compound, calcium acetate, and carbon dioxide gas. This reaction dissolves the eggshell and leaves the inner membrane untouched.

And tadah!

That’s how you get a naked egg.

#2 Crack Osmosis With Naked Eggs

Ever wondered how to explain to your child what Osmosis actually is? Not to worry, you’re not alone.

This simple experiment will help you crack the code and make explaining Osmosis easy. All you need to get started is 2 naked eggs. You can make them, simply follow the steps in experiment #1.

Let’s start with the definition.

"Osmosis is the spontaneous movement of water molecules through a selectively permeable membrane from a region of a high concentration of water molecules to one of lower concentration."

What You Need

  • 2 naked eggs
  • 2 small containers
  • A spoon
  • Corn syrup
  • Water

What To Do

  1. Place a naked egg in a small bowl and cover it with corn syrup. For this to work, the egg has to be fully submerged. Next, place the second egg in the other bowl and fill it with water before placing both bowls in the fridge for 24 hours
  2. Take the eggs out of the fridge, place them side by side on a plate with a spoon, and let’s compare the results!

The Result

The egg in the water should look plump and bouncy, while the egg in corn syrup should look flabby and shrivelled up.

So, what exactly happened here?

Remember the semipermeable membrane left behind by the eggshell-dissolving vinegar? During osmosis, the membrane acts as a selective barrier that allows only certain particles to pass through while blocking others.

Think of it like a flour sifter used by bakers to separate fine flour from clumps. The larger clumps are caught in the mesh, while finer flour particles fall through the holes easily.

Since corn syrup has a lower concentration of water (25%) than eggwhite (90%), water molecules within the egg migrated from the inside to the outside, where the concentration of water molecules is lower.

Interestingly, the large sugar molecules in the corn syrup were unable to pass through the membrane due to their size. This resulted in a shriveled-up egg.

In contrast, due to the increase in water molecules that entered through the membrane, the egg submerged in water actually grew in size.

#3 The Squeezy Bottle Rocket 

As human beings, the idea of space and flying has always fascinated us collectively. Combine that with technological ingenuity, and we get rockets. Big, shiny vehicles that take us deep into the unknown. For parents of little aspiring astronauts who love all things space, stars, and rockets, here’s a fun experiment to do!

What You Need

  • Empty plastic bottle
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Colour pencils
  • Stickers
  • 1 wide short straw
  • 1 thin long straw
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Blu tack

What To Do

Make Your Paper Rocket

  1. Make a paper rocket cutout using cardboard and scissors
  2. Decorate your paper rocket with coloured pencils and stickers (optional)
  3. Stick the wide short straw to the back of your paper rocket using glue
  4. Seal the top end of your paper rocket with tape

Build Your Bottle Launcher

  1. Lift up the sports cap of the plastic bottle and push in half of the thin long straw
  2. Secure the straw by sealing the opening with blu tack
  3. Squeeze the bottle to ensure air is coming out of the top of the straw

3...2…1…Ready for takeoff

It’s time to attach your paper rocket to your bottle launcher. The wider straw of your paper rocket should fit over the top of the thinner straw of your bottle launcher.

Now, give your bottle a hard squeeze!

The Result

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first launch. While it’s a simple home experiment without the spectacle of Falcon 9, the principles that launched your paper rocket into the air are equally important when it comes to actual space missions.

Tilt your bottle at a slightly different angle, or add a small ball of plasticine to the top of your rocket. Observe how gravity and the forward force of the air from the bottle launcher change the trajectory of your paper rocket!

#4 The Flying Tea Bag

Looking to teach your child about heat? Then look no further than this flying tea bag trick!

What You Need

  • 3 tea bags
  • Matches
  • A small bowl

What To Do

  1. This experiment is to be conducted on a metal or stony surface. Ensure that you’ve some space above the surface
  2. Open the tea bags and empty the leaves into the bowl (save them for other uses)
  3. Stick your finger into the centre of the tea bags and push outwards so that the tea bags are standing upright when turned over
  4. Strike a match and light the top tip of each tea bag

The Result

Did the flying teabags make you mutter, “What sorcery is this”?

No, there’s no magic in the teabags that allowed to them defy gravity. The flying tea bags are simply a heat experiment masked as a really neat trick.

As the flame burns, it heats the air within the hollow centre of the tea bag. This caused the molecules to become less dense and rise above the denser, cooler air around the tea bag. And since the tea bags weigh close to nothing, the bags are pushed upwards towards the sky.

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