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7 Simple Science Experiments You Can Do At Home!

Do these 7 simple science experiments with ingredients you have at home!

Want to keep your child busy at home but don’t want them to neglect their Science studies? Well, here are 7 simple science experiments to do at home with them!

7 simple experiments you can do at home

Finding safe and practical experiments you can do with your child at home can be tricky. Here we’ve compiled 7 practical and fun experiments you can do together at home.

  1. Baking soda volcano 
  2. Balloon rocket
  3. Making sugar crystals
  4. Celery and food colouring
  5. Strawberry DNA extraction
  6. Colour changing milk
  7. Plate tectonics on cocoa earth

 

1. Baking soda volcano

The baking soda volcano is your classic science fair experiment. It is fun and exciting to watch AND it also relates to the Chemical World module!

Aim:

Observe what happens when an acid and a carbonate react.

Material:

  • Baking soda (2 tbs)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • Dish detergent (1.4 cup)
  • A tall glass or empty bottle
  • Red or orange food colouring

Method:

  1. Add water, dish detergent, food colouring and baking soda into the glass/bottle (do not add your vinegar yet)
  2. When you are ready for the eruption, quickly pour the vinegar into the glass/bottle
  3. Watch the eruption

Here is a video you can watch to see it happen!

 

Why does this happen?

The vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a carbonate (sodium hydrogen carbonate).

When an acid and a carbonate react together they produce water, a salt (sodium carbonate) and carbon dioxide. The production of carbon dioxide aerates the detergent to create the lava.

 

Want to improve your child’s Science skills during this shutdown?

Studying shouldn’t stop because your child’s at home. Keep refining their Science skills and knowledge with our Matrix+ theory video lessons that explain their Science content in detail. Also, students get access to a discussion forum where they can have questions answered by experienced Science teachers, as well as our exceptional resources that get mailed to your door! Learn more about Matrix+ Online lessons now.

Also, read our 5 Hot Tips to Help Your Child Study Science at Home to help your child make the most of their home time.

 

 

2. Balloon rocket

Has your child ever thrown a paper aeroplane and been disappointed that it didn’t go the distance? Well, this balloon rocket will fix that problem!

Aim:

Observe how different pressures and forces cause an equal and opposite reaction.

Material:

  • String (3-10 metres)
  • Masking tape
  • Balloon
  • Drinking straw

Method:

  1. Insert the string through the straw
  2. Hook the string across a hallway, room or in your backyard (with the straw attached). Ensure that one side is higher than the other
  3. Blow up the balloon, but do not tie it. Instead, hold it by the neck.
  4. Attach the balloon onto the straw with the masking tape. Make sure the neck of the balloon is facing the higher side of the string.
  5. Hold on to the neck of the balloon and push the balloon to the higher side of the string
  6. When you’re ready to see the balloon shoot, let go of the balloon neck.
  7. Repeat the experiment with different amounts of air inside the balloon. Observe how far each one goes.

 

Why does this happen?

Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

When you blow air into the balloon, you are pushing air molecules into it. This increases the pressure inside the balloon. As you blow more air, the pressure inside the balloon becomes greater than the pressure of the air outside it.

So, when you let go of the balloon, the trapped air escapes through the little opening to balance the pressure between the inside and outside of the balloon. This is the action.

This action shoots the balloon forward with the same force as the air experiences. This is the reaction.

Note: Force refers to the amount of push or pull on an object.

 

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3. Making sugar crystals (edible rock candy)

Are your children always looking for candy to eat? Well, they can have some fun and make their own rock candy with this Science experiment!

Aim:

To understand how crystals can grow from supersaturated solutions.

Material:

  • Water (2 cups)
  • Sugar (4 cups)
  • Pot
  • Mixing spoon
  • Skewers (as many as you want to make)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Liquid food flavouring (optional)
  • Glass cups/mason jars (2 for each skewer)
  • Peg / Clip (1 for each skewer)
  • Knife

Method:

  1. Dip the skewer in one cup of water, then roll it in sugar.
  2. Leave the skewers to one side to dry.
  3. Add 1 cup of water, 3 cups of sugar into a pot and any food colouring or liquid flavours that you want
  4. Mix the solution until it is well mixed
  5. Put the pot on the stove at high heat
  6. Stir the solution slowly until it starts boiling (bubbling)
  7. When it is boiling, start stirring it faster until all the sugar is well dissolved
  8. Take the solution and pour it into a glass cup (be careful of boiling solution)
  9. Let it cool for approximately 10 minutes
  10. Once it is cool, insert the sugar-coated skewer into the centre of the glass
  11. Use the clip/peg to clasp the skewer and hold it in place
  12. Leave your solution in a warm and dry place for a few days. As it cools down, you will see crystals forming around the stick.
  13. Check on your crystal solution every day. Move the stick around when you see that the crystals are sticking to the bottom or sides of the glass
  14. When you are happy with your crystal growth, use a knife to break the sugar formation on top of the solution.
  15. Remove the crystal with the clip/peg and place it in another glass/jar. Wait for all the crystal to drip and dry.
  16. You have your sugar crystal!
  17. Repeat the experiment with multiple colours and flavours and eat them!

Note: Ensure that you supervise your child at all times. This experiment deals with boiling water and heat.

You can do Steps 4-8 for them if you think your child is incapable of handling boiling solutions carefully.

 

Why does this happen?

A crystal is a solid substance that has the particles it is made of arranged in a highly ordered structure. Crystals grow when the particles continue to add to the highly ordered structure.

The solute refers to particles that can be dissolved in a liquid called the solvent. When they are mixed together, they form a solution. When no more solute can be dissolved in a solvent, the solution is saturated.

In this experiment, the sugar is the solute and the water is the solvent. When combined, they form a sugar solution.

In this experiment, the sugar is the solute and the water is the solvent. When combined, they form a sugar solution.

At higher temperatures, more sugar can be dissolved in water than at lower temperatures. As the sugar solution cools, it becomes a supersaturated solution. This means that there is more sugar dissolved in the water than can normally be dissolved at this lower temperature. As a result, sugar can easily crystallise from the solution.

When you insert the skewer coated in sugar crystals into the solution, you are providing a surface for the sugar molecules to crystallise, which causes sugar crystals to grow.

4. Celery and food colouring

Does your child ever wonder how plants “drink water”? Do they want to make plants change colour? Well, this experiment will allow your child to dye a piece of celery and observe how they absorb water!

Aim:

To observe how plants absorb water through their xylems.

Material:

  • Clear glass cups/jars (3)
  • Celery sticks with leaves – preferably lighter coloured stalks (3)
  • Water (3/4 cups for each glass/jar)
  • Food colouring
  • Napkin
  • Knife

Method:

  1. Pour water into each glass cup/jar until they are 3/4 full
  2. Add 5-8 drops of food colouring into each cup and swirl to mix. You can use different colours to make it interesting
  3. Insert a celery stick into each glass/jar and leave for a few days
  4. After a few days, remove the celery and use a napkin to pat it dry
  5. Use a knife and carefully cut a longitudinal (lengthwise) and a transverse (sideways) cross-section
  6. Observe the dyed veins inside the celery stick and the dyed leaves

 

Why does this happen?

All plants need water to survive. By adding food colouring to the water, we will see exactly where the water goes when it is inside the plant.

Plants absorb water from their roots and transpire (lose it) water from their leaves. This is why the leaves will be dyed after a few days.

The xylem are the veins that the water travels through.

When you cut the celery stick transversally (sideways), you will see coloured circles. This shows you the amount of xylem inside the plant.

When you cut the celery longitudinally (lengthwise), you will see long veins running up and down the stalk. These are the xylem that carry the water up the plant.

You can even try to pull the xylem out! If you’re skilled enough, it will come out as one long string.

 

5. Strawberry DNA extraction

Everyone knows that DNA is microscopic! However, what if there is a way we can see it without an electron microscope?  Grab your kids and get some spare strawberries to extract their DNA! The strawberries, not your kids.

Aim:

To extract DNA from strawberries, and to observe it with the naked eye.

Material:

  • Strawberries (2)
  • Ziplock bag (1)
  • Liquid dish soap (2 teaspoons)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Strainer/coffee filter/cheesecloth
  • Rubbing alcohol (1/2 cup)
  • Paddle-pop stick/coffee stirrer (1)
  • Glass cup (2)
  • Spoon (1)
  • Napkin

Method:

  1. Pour 1/2 a cup of rubbing alcohol into a glass cup and put it in a freezer
  2. Get another cup and pour in 1/2 a cup of water
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap and 1 teaspoon of salt in the water
  4. Stir until the salt is dissolved
  5. Place 2 strawberries into a ziplock bag.
  6. Pour the water-dish soap solution into the ziplock bag and seal it tight with minimal air.
  7. Smash the strawberry with your hands until there are no large chunks left
  8. Place a strainer over your glass cup and pour the strawberry contents in it
  9. Use a spoon and press the strawberry to extract it through the strainer
  10. Take the chilled rubbing alcohol out of the fridge and pour it into the cup with the extracted strawberries
  11. Within a few minutes, a cloudy white substance will begin to form on top of the strawberry solution. This is the DNA. Use your paddle pop stick/coffee stirrer to remove it.
  12. Place it on a napkin and observe it’s properties.

 

Why does this happen?

DNA exists in every living thing; plants, animals, bacteria.

Strawberries have a very high number of DNA strands per cell. They have 8 instead of the usual 4!

Liquid dish soap dissolves the strawberry cell membrane, which helps release the DNA. The salt breaks the protein chains to release the nucleic acid in the DNA. The alcohol helps bind the DNA together to make it visible to the naked eye.

 

6. Colour changing milk

Want an easy and colourful experiment to keep your children busy? Let’s see how we can change the colour of milk!

Aim:

To observe and change the surface tension of a liquid.

Material:

  • Shallow bowl
  • Milk
  • Food colouring (multiple colours)
  • Cotton tip
  • Detergent

Method:

  1. Pour milk into a shallow bowl
  2. Add in a couple of drops of different colour food colouring.
  3. Get a cotton tip and touch the surface of the food colouring in different spots
  4. Watch what happens to the colours
  5. Now, dip your cotton tip into detergent and touch the surface of the food colouring again
  6. Watch what happens to the colours

 

Why does this happen?

Milk is a complex mixture that is mostly made up of water, however it also contains proteins, vitamins, minerals, sugars, and fats.

When we add food colouring, it sits on the surface of the milk due to the high surface tension of the liquid.

Detergents contain compounds known as surfactants (short for surface active agents), which have the ability to reduce the surface tension of a liquid. These molecules contain a portion of the molecule that is hydrophobic (water fearing) and another portion that is hydrophilic (water loving).

When we add the detergent to the milk, the hydrophobic portion of the surfactant molecules attach to the fats in the milk, while the hydrophilic portion of the molecule interacts with the water. This process causes the rapid movement of particles in the mixture, and results in the swirling of the food colouring.

7. Plate tectonics on cocoa earth

Want to make a good hot chocolate and learn Science at the same time?

Aim:

Observe how plate tectonics move due to convection currents.

Material:

  • Milk
  • Chocolate powder
  • Pan

Method:

  1. Pour a layer of milk in the pan
  2. Cover the milk with a thick layer of chocolate powder
  3. Put the pan on the stove and heat it up
  4. Watch what happens to the layer of chocolate powder
  5. Let the chocolate milk cool down and drink it up!

 

Why does this happen?

The chocolate powder represents the Earth’s crust, while the milk represents the magma underneath.

Convection currents occur when fluids, such as magma or milk, are heated.

When the milk is heated in the pan, the particles at the bottom become hot, causing them to rise to the surface. The cooler particles at the surface then move toward the bottom of the pan, where the particles are heated and the process repeats. These convection currents cause the chocolate powder on the surface of the milk to move, much like how the Earth’s crust moves on magma.

This is a good way to help your child understand how the tectonic plates move around the Earth and create mountains, vents, earthquakes and tsunamis.

 

Want to improve your child’s Science skills from home?

Written by Tammy Dang

Tammy is a former student of Matrix and is now studying Law / Media (Screen and Sound Production) at UNSW. She is a Digital Content Writer for the Matrix Education blog. Tammy aspires to become a lawyer in the future while continuing to run her art business.

 

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