7 Super Easy Science Experiments You Can Do with Items You Already Have

Posted in Science on April 25, 2017 - by

Science Experiments you can do from home

Growing up, some of my favorite science experiments were conducted using ingredients we found around the house and in the kitchen. Although science kits are fun, there's no reason why you can't experiment with stuff you already have. These experiments won't cost you very much and are appropriate for younger (and some middle) children.

1. Vinegar and Baking Soda

Ah, the classic of a thousand science fairs. Vinegar and baking soda, when they’re mixed together, create a chemical reaction that shoots out of its container. If you pour them together into something with a snap on lid, like an old film container or a ketchup bottle that snaps and then turn the vessel upside down, the pressure builds up until the container goes flying. Kids think it’s hilarious.

2. Beans

Strangely enough, one of the best experiments my dad ever did with me was growing and experimenting on beans. All it takes is:

  • a plastic or Styrofoam cup
  • some dried beans from the grocery or garden store
  • a paper towel

You wet the paper towel and wrap the beans in it. Soon enough the beans start sprouting. You can create diorama of the lifecycle by starting a bean every four or five days. You can put droplets of water only on one side of the bean to watch the roots grow. You can turn it upside down and watch it right itself and continue to grow upwards.

3. Invisible Ink

Mix water and lemon juice together then take a q-tip and dip it into the mixture. As soon as you write on something, the lemon juice mixture dries out and you can’t see it anymore. But it’s not gone: if you shine a hot light bulb or a space heater on your secret message suddenly the words appear again! My parents taught my brother and me this and we used it to pass secret messages back and forth.

4. Rock Candy

Rock candy is educational and delicious. All it takes is some sugar, water, a tempered jar, some string and a butter knife.

  • Boil 1 cup water.
  • Once it’s hot add about 3 cups sugar: enough sugar that the water is extremely sweet but not so much that it stops dissolving.
  • Pour the sugar water into the jar.
  • Tie your string to your butter knife, making sure it hangs down far into the jar but doesn’t touch the bottom.
  • Set the jar in a safe spot.

Over the next couple of days, the sugar will start to crystallize on the string as it drops out of solution or “nucleates”. For prettier rock candy you can mix some food dye into your boiling water.

5. Static Electricity Moving a Can

This is one of the easiest ones: all you need is a balloon and an empty soda can. Rub the balloon on your shirt or your head until you can feel the static electricity. Now put it up to the can. Suddenly it’s a magnet! Use the electrical balloon to roll the can around the floor.

6. Blow out the Bottom of a Glass Bottle

This one deals with broken glass so make sure you’re outside somewhere wearing shoes. Fill a glass bottle with water up to the neck. Hit the mouth (where you drink from) with a rubber mallet and BOOM the bottom of the bottle will shoot out. This is because of “cavitation.” When the pressure changes suddenly in the bottle (because you hit it) an air bubble goes rocking through the water in the bottle. The bubble then collapses, forming a shockwave powerful enough to blow the bottom off the bottle.

7. Mentos and Coke

Mentos for science experiment

When you drop some Mentos into a diet coke the coke comes shooting out of the bottle at high velocity. Carbon dioxide dissolved into your soda is what makes it fizzy. But the carbon dioxide is looking or a way to “escape” or drop out of the solution. Mentos are sprayed with dozens of tiny layers of sugar that create the perfect texture for the carbon dioxide molecules to “nucleate” or attach themselves to. Suddenly all of that carbon dioxide is changed from being dissolved in the liquid to a gas and the pressure shoots the coke into the air. If you drill a hole in the soda bottle cap before you drop the Mentos in and then screw the cap back on quickly after plopping a few of the candies down the spout the soda will come shooting out even faster as it all tries to fit through the tiny hole.

About Blaise Denton

Blaise is a student at Florida State University pursing a degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He was homeschooled for most of his childhood and writes about alternative education. He lives in Tallahassee where he just married his college sweetheart.

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