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August 02, 2021, 12:16:21 pm

Author Topic: Science experiments that you can do at home!  (Read 1604 times)  Share 

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Science experiments that you can do at home!
« on: January 18, 2020, 09:13:02 pm »
Do you have any cool (but safe) science experiments that you can do at home?

We'd love to hear! Let us know below!

Here's an easy one to start off with:
Creating a rainbow in a jar- this works by using the liquids of different densities!

A jar
Blue dishwashing liquid
Light corn syrup
Food colours (green, blue, red)
Olive oil
Rubbing alcohol

1. Make purple layer by mixing 1/2 cup of the light corn syrup with 1 drop of blue and 1 drop of red food coloring. Carefully pour it into jar.
2. Carefully pour blue dishwashing soap down the side of the jar.
3. Mix 1/2 cup of water with 2 drops of green food coloring. Carefully pour in, down the side of the jar.
4. Gently pour 1/2 cup olive oil down the side of your jar.
5. Mix 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol with 2 drops of red food coloring. Carefully pour down the inside of jar.
6. Being careful not to disturb your liquids, set your jar down on the table and enjoy your rainbow!
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Re: Science experiments that you can do at home!
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2020, 11:16:53 pm »
I have one that's not conventional, but is fun nonetheless. I remembered this experiment as we did it last year as part of school in 1/2 psych and I thought of sharing it! It's fun to do on a younger child, perhaps a sibling or cousin. It's based on Jean Piaget's model of cognitive development. This theory has since been rejected as it has been supported that children don't move through these stages chronologically and at the exact age timeframes, and the theory also assumes that children have developed language abilities to a high level by a young age. Basically, Piaget proposed that all individuals go through 4 stages chronologically: sensorimotor stage (BIRTH TO 2 YEARS OLD), preoperational stage (2 TO 4), concrete operational stage (7 TO 11) and formal operational stage (BEGINNING AT AGES 11 TO 15). You can read about each stage here.

Basically, test the child on each stage's key behaviours chronologically and see up to what stage the child can go up to correctly.

- Object permanence (knowing an object exists even though they cannot physically see it): Show the child a toy, then put it under a blanket where the child can see you doing this. Ask them where the toy has gone.

- Egocentrism (tendency to perceive world solely from one's own point of view. Thinks others see the world in the same way that they do): Take a piece of paper that is not transparent when held up. Draw a flower on one side, and a smiley face on the other (or any pictures that suit your fancy and are simple for the child to understand). Show the child the side with the flower and ask them what they see. (They will hopefully say they see the flower). Flip the paper so the flower is facing you and ask the child what they see. (They will hopefully say they see the smiley face). Then, ask them what they think you see. (If they say you also see the smiley face, they have failed).
- Animism (belief that everything that exists has some kind of consciousness): Get a soft toy and hit it multiple times. Ask the child if they think the toy has been hurt, and ask them why. (If they say the toy has not been hurt because it isn't real, or something along those lines, they have passed!)
- Centration (only able to focus on one quality or feature at a time): Arrange tokens/coins into two equal lines of six with equal spacing. Ask them which row has the most tokens. (They will hopefully say both are equal). Now, space the tokens out in the first row and bunch up the tokens in the second row. Then, ask them which row has the most tokens. (If they say the first row has more tokens, they have failed. You will be surprised how many young children fail this test!)
- Reversibility (ability to mentally follow a sequence of events or line of reasoning back to the starting point): Take a deflated ball and pump it. If they can understand that it is the same ball that has been pumped up and now looks different, they have passed.

Concrete operational
- Mental operation (ability to imagine the consequences of something happening without needing it to happen): Ask the child what will occur to an object left outside when it rains. If they can successfully say it will get wet, they have passed. OR ask them to add two numbers without any working out paper or without using their fingers.
- Conservation (certain properties of an object can remain the same even when its appearance changes): An easy test for this is to get 2 glasses that have the exact same shape. Pour water into both of them (colour the water using food colouring to make this easier) so that the amount of water looks visually equal. Ask them which one has more water. (They will hopefully say both glasses have the same volume of water). Then, take a glass that is extremely tall or extremely wide. Pour the water from one of the original glasses into the new glass where the child can see you doing this. Ask them which glass has more water. If they say the glass which is wider/taller has more/less water, then they have failed. If they say they still have the same amount of water, they have passed.
- Classification (ability to organise objects or events into categories based on common features that set them apart from other categories): Get 20 beads (or anything else that can be substituted for beads). Make 18 of them one colour, and the other 2 a distinctively different colour. Ask them how they would group the beads. If they put the 18 beads together and the other 2 beads separately, they have passed. This involves grouping objects based on colour.

Formal operational
- Abstract thinking (thinking that does not rely on being able to see, visualise, experience or manipulate in order to understand something): Write down a simple algebraic equation for the child to complete, such as: 5 + x = 7. What number does x represent? If they can answer correctly, they have passed.

I did this experiment on my younger sibling (thankfully she passed everything with ease!) It'd be interesting to hear others' results!

If you'd like to see this experiment (or parts of it) performed on children, or just want to be entertained, I highly recommend you watch this video. It's full of young children failing at these exercises - not just entertaining though, but also interesting to see the psychological thinking behind their reasoning.
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Re: Science experiments that you can do at home!
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2020, 02:46:01 pm »
I have a really interesting one that I did in a forensics class at school that was super fascinating. We were looking at leading questions, specifically, the way that language influences memory and recall. Basically, you show a group of people a video of a car crash. (I used dashcam footage found on youtube.) After a period of time (eg. a week) you ask the participants individually questions about the crash. Create different sets of questions (I used three) and ask each set to one portion of the participants.

The questions will differ in the language used to describe the crash. For example:
How fast do you believe the cars were going when they made contact?
How fast do you believe the cars were going when they bumped?
How fast do you believe the cars were going when they smashed?

The trend that I observed (the same as the Loftus and Palmer experiments) was that estimates will be higher based on the modaility of the words used. This experiment tests the way that leading questions can influence memories.

If you want to extend on it, you could also test the way that leading questions can lead to the creation of false memories (Loftus and Palmer experiment II).
For example, asking questions to the participants like:
Was there any glass present at the site of the accident?
How much glass was present at the site of the experiment?

The results might surprise you! ;D

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Re: Science experiments that you can do at home!
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2020, 04:57:22 pm »
Thought I'd share two experiments today - the first one's perfect to do with a younger sibling, as its so simple, yet fun.
The second experiment is a physics related experiment, simple, but fun to investigate.

TITLE: Turning Milk into Stone

- 500ml Milk
- White Vinegar
- Bowl, glass, spoon
- Microwave/pan to warm the milk
- A strainer
- A paper towel

1. Warm the milk so its warm, but not boiling. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl.
2. Add 3 tablesoons of white vinegar into the bowl.
3. Start stirring the mixture. It should turn clumpy.
4. Strain the mixture using the strainer, so the hard bits get separated from the liquid.
5. Use a paper towel to really dry out your ‘solid milk’ as best as you can.
6. Leave the solid components somewhere dry, and sunny for a few days.
7. After a few days, you should have rock solid milk!

Vinegar is an acid and by adding acid milk we’re separating out the casein from the milk. A big component of milk is just water and by separating out an ingredient called casein and getting it to dry we can turn the milk rock hard. When casein is allowed to dry it turns rock hard.

Further Investigation:
What type of milk works best? Full-fat? Skimmed?
Does it have to be vinegar, or will a different acid like Lemon Juice work?

TITLE: Engineering the perfect egg drop

Why doesn’t an egg crack when thrown onto a pillow, but why does it crack when thrown on the floor? The answer is actually more complex than saying the pillow ‘is softer.’ Some If the time of a collision increases, the force acting on an object in a collision decreases. When an egg hits the ground, length of collision is shorter than when it hits the pillow, as it is softer. There is less force acting on an egg when it hits the pillow.

Theres an interactive for this practical here: https://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Momentum-and-Collisions/Egg-Drop/Egg-Drop-Interactive (so you don’t need to waste a lot of eggs ha ha)

After playing around with this interactive, why not try your own, real life egg experiment?

The challenge: Try and create a contraption, out of recyclable materials. When the egg is kept on this contraption, and dropped from a high distance, it shouldn’t break.
Some ideas could be using a cardboard box with soft cloth inside, a basket with cotton wool, use straws, the possibilities are endless!
Experiment with your model on different surfaces, heights, different sized eggs. Be creative!!


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Re: Science experiments that you can do at home!
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 09:05:38 pm »
Extract DNA from Strawberries!
To extract DNA from strawberries, you'll need:
- strawberries
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dishwashing liquid
- rubbing alcohol (chilled)
- cheesecloth
- ziploc bag
- test tube

The method:
1. Mash up the strawberries in a ziploc bag before adding 1/3 of a cup of water, dishwashing liquid and salt.

2. Place the cheesecloth over the top of the test tube and wait for the liquid to filter through.

3. Pour in the rubbing alcohol. The material that rises to the top of the alcohol is the strawberry DNA.

I've done this experiment both at school and in my own times and found it really interesting! ;D

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