Light Fountain

What you need:light_fountain_post
• A clear water bottle
• Duct Tape or aluminum foil and tape
• Thumb tack or push pin
• Pencil
• Flashlight
• Sink or basin

What you do:
• Remove the label from the water bottle.
• Cover half (vertically – from opening to bottom of bottle) of the water bottle using duct tape or taping on aluminum foil.
• Use the thumb tack to poke a hole through the duct tape on the bottle, about two inches from the bottom of the bottle.
• Use a pencil or similar object to enlarge the hole.
• Fill the bottle with water, keeping your thumb over the hole so the water stays in.
• In a very dark room, hold the water bottle over the sink or basin.
• Shine a flashlight through the uncovered side of the bottle toward the hole where the water is coming out.
• Watch as the stream of water forms an arc that the light follows down into the sink.
• Try making the water stream a different color by putting colored cellophane in front of the flashlight lens

N.B.: The light beam travels through the stream of water, even when the stream bends, as it does in this experiment. The light beam bounces off the walls of the water stream and follows it to the end. This is called internal reflection. The light ray inside the stream of water behaves as it would inside an optical fiber. Optical fiber works like this: you send a light beam into one end of the fiber and it comes out the other end, even when it bends, just as light travels through the stream of water in your experiment.

Mother’s Day Spa

bath salt12Mother’s Day is May 10! Give Mom a relaxing spa day at home with these spa science gifts you can make yourself using mostly household items. Bath salts add luxury to an ordinary tub while teaching about hard and soft water. Fizzy bath bombs delight the senses through a skin-safe chemical reaction. Homemade sugar scrub introduces exfoliants and humectants and their effects on the skin.

What you need:
• Plastic mixing bowl
• Plastic mixing spoon
• 1 cup Epsom salt
• 1 cup sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon glycerin
• Fragrance or essential oils (craft or health store)
• Colorant (craft store)
• Liquid soap
• Jar with lid, baby soda bottles* or other airtight container

What you do:
• Mix together the Epsom salt and sea salt in the mixing bowl.
• Add glycerin to the salt mixture and mix through. (The glycerin is not necessary, but it helps the colorant and oil get dispersed evenly through the salt.)
• Add a few drops of fragrance or essential oils.
• Add a few drops of colorant. We recommend getting oil-based skin-safe colorant from a craft store or else leaving out the colorant.
• Wet your hands with tap water, add a drop of soap to your hands, then rub together to form a lather.
• Observe how much lather forms, then rinse off your hands.
• Fill a sink with water and add about 1/8 cup of salt mixture to it.
• Use your hands to stir the water to help the salt dissolve.
• With your hands still wet from the salt water, add a drop of soap to your hands and rub them together to form a lather.
• Store the remaining salts in a jar, keeping the lid on tightly to keep moisture out. Use about 1/4 cup of the salts in your bath.

What Happened: Most likely you found it easier to form lather (and more of it!) when using the water with salt rather than the water with no salt. This is because of the difference between hard water and soft water. Most households in America have hard water. Hard water has a high mineral content, usually with calcium and magnesium, whereas soft water contains less of these minerals. Calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water react with the soap, forming insoluble gray flakes called soap scum rather than a lather. This means you need more soap to get clean and the bathtub gets a grimy ring around it from the leftover soap scum. One way to soften hard bath water is to add bath salts. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium and potassium ions from the salt, allowing the soap to lather much more easily. (If your home has soft water, you may not notice too much of a difference in how well the soap lathers in the water with your bath salts and the water without the bath salts. However, the salt and essential oils will still have a beneficial effect on your skin.)
Another benefit of adding bath salts to your bath has to do with osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of water through a membrane (such as your skin) to achieve equilibrium. Your body contains water and salt, whereas an ordinary bath contains mainly water and very little salt. Therefore, water passes through your skin in an effort to balance the concentration of water and salt in you and in your bath. This excess water causes “pruning” (your fingers and toes wrinkle). Adding bath salts to the water causes a more equal balance of salt and water in both you and in the bath, so less water enters your skin and less wrinkling occurs. Salt is also thought to draw impurities and toxins out of your skin and soothes sore muscles!

DIY Soap
DIY Honey Scrub
DIY Fizzy Bath Bombs
DIY Lip Balm

Fizzy Bath Bomb

Some bath products fizz and make bubbles when added to water. Ever wonder why? Try this experiment to find out.Fizzy Bath Bomb2

What you need:
• 1/2 cup baking soda
•1/4 cup citric acid in powder form
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 2-1/5 tablespoons Epsom salts
•1-1/4 tablespoons olive or almond oil
• 1-3/4 teaspoons water
• 1/4 teaspoon fragrance oils
• 1/8 teaspoon borax
•Plastic mixing bowl
• Gloves
• Jar with lid or other airtight container
• Molds* or ice cube trays

What you do:
• Put the gloves on and combine the baking soda, citric acid, corn starch, and Epsom salts together in a bowl.
• Mix well and set aside.
• Combine the oils, water, and borax in a jar.
• Cover it with the lid and shake vigorously to mix the ingredients well.
• Slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, a few drops at at time, stirring continuously and quickly to minimize fizzing. When fully mixed, the mixture will be very dry and crumbly.
• Pack the mixture into molds or ice cube trays and let rest for two days.
• After two days, carefully remove the mixture from the molds.

N.B.: A bath bomb is really showing how acids and bases react when mixed together. In this experiment, the baking soda is the base and the citric acid is, well, the acid. But the reaction of this acid-base combination can be controlled by the other ingredients in the bath bomb.

The cornstarch and Epsom salts both act as liquid absorbers to help keep the baking soda and citric acid from reacting with each other when liquids are added. They are also helpful if you live in a place with high humidity. The borax acts as both a preservative and an emulsifier, stabilizing the acid and the base and keeping them from reacting with each other before entering the water.

Water is the catalyst for the reaction to occur because it dissolves the solids and allows the ions in the acid and the base to move and collide with each other, causing a chemical reaction to occur. A catalyst is something added to a chemical mixture that speeds up the chemical reaction time. This reaction forms carbon dioxide, a gas, which rises to the surface of the bathwater in the form of bubbles. The oils and the fragrances are useful as a liquid to help form the bath bombs as well as leave the skin smooth and scented.

For further study, try these other fun spa science projects:

DIY Soap
DIY Honey Scrub
DIY Bath Salts
DIY Lip Balm

Foldable Egg

What you need:Foldable Egg
•raw egg (at room temperature)
• thumbtack
• skewer
• drinking straw
• bowl
• white vinegar
• a glass
• tongs
• baby powder (or cornstarch)

What you do:
• Hold the egg over a bowl and use a thumbtack to pierce a small hole in the pointed end and a larger hole in the other end of the egg.
• Hold the egg very gently to make sure you don’t crack it!
• Use a skewer or unfolded paperclip to carefully break up the yolk inside of the egg.
• Hold a drinking straw over the smaller hole and blow through the opposite end of the straw.
• Run a little water inside the egg and shake it out.
• Use the straw again to blow out any remaining water.
• Place the egg shell in a glass and add enough vinegar to cover the egg.
• Using your fingers or a pair of tongs, gently hold the egg under the liquid until the air escapes and most of the egg shell stays below the surface (this may take several minutes).
• Leave the egg in the vinegar for several hours until the shell begins to break down.
• When the shell has started to break away, you will see a flexible egg shaped layer inside—this is the egg membrane.
• Once the egg shell has completely dissolved, remove the membrane from the glass of vinegar.
• Rinse the membrane in water and gently squeeze it to remove the water from inside.
• Pat it dry with a paper towel.
• Continue tossing until the whole thing has inflated like a balloon.
• Once it has inflated, sprinkle a little baby powder all over the outside.
• Try to get some powder inside as well as it will prevent the sides from sticking together and help the egg inflate more easily next time.
• Set the powder-coated inflated egg on the palm of your hand and press the air out with your fingers.
• Fold the egg in half several times and pinch it slightly so it stays folded, then toss it between your hands again and watch it reinflate! This process of folding and tossing can be repeated several times until the egg membrane dries out and won’t inflate.

Kissing Apples

What you need:Kissing apples
• Two apples
• String

What you do:
• Attach a piece of sting to each apple.
• Have each hand hold one string so that the apples  are at nose-level, 6″ apart.
• Blow hard between the apples and watch them move!

What should happen:
• The apples will get closer  to each other.

Why does that happen:
• The air pressure is lowered as you blow between the apples (think of the air molecules as ping pong balls … they balls don’t have enough time to touch the apple surface as they zoom by).
• The air surrounding the apples that’s not really moving is now at a higher pressure, and pushes the apples together.

Air Pressure

What you need:Air pressure1
• An empty bottle
• Foil

What you do:
• Roll up  a pea size ball out of foil.
• Place the bottle on the edge of a table.
• Put the ball of foil inside of the bottle neck.
• Try to blow the ball into the bottle.

What should happen:
• The foil ball shoots back out towards you.

Why does it happen:Air pressure2
•The same principles that keep airplanes in the sky also apply to this  experiment. The key point is that moving air is at a lower pressure than still air. This is the Bernoulli Principle. In the case of the  bottle the air that is blown towards the mouth is deflected around the the sides of the bottle (very little moves past the ball of foil). This means that the air pressure in front of the ball is lower than behind, and so the ball flies out.
Airplane wings are specially shaped so that air travels faster over the top of the wing than over the bottom surface. Again the pressure is lower above than below and the wing is “pushed” upward by the higher pressure air – called lift. The faster the plane moves forward the bigger the lift it experiences.

Water Barometer

What you need:Water barometer experiment
• glass or jar
• bowl
• 3 coins
• pen
• water

What you do:
• Fill the glass about two-thirds full with water.
• Place the bowl upside down over the glass.
• Carefully turn the bowl and the glass over so that the glass sits upside down in the bowl.
• Some of the water will run out of the glass but most will stay inside it.
• Slide the coins under the rim of the glass and space them equally around the rim.
• With a pen mark the level of the water in the glass at the beginning of the activity.
• Take your barometer outside into the open air.
• Look for changes in the water level in the glass over time. (This may take several hours or even longer than a day.)

How it works: When the atmospheric pressure of the air rises, the water in the bowl will be forced downwards by the weight of the air on the water. This, in turn, will cause the water in the glass to rise. A barometer measures the weight of the amount of air between the surface of the earth (the water in the bowl) and the top of the atmosphere.

DIY Barometer

What you need:barometer
• Scissors
• Tape
• Balloon
• Jar
• Elastic rubber band
• Straw

What you do:
• Cut the balloon in half.
• Discard the piece with the neck on it.
• Take the remaining piece of the balloon and stretch it across the glass or jar.
• Keep it stretched firmly across and seal it down with the rubber band, around the rim of the glass jar.
• Tape the straw onto the balloon lid; the straw should be sitting one quarter of a way on the lid, with the tape about 1 inch from the edge of the straw end that is sitting on the balloon lid. The straw is your indicator “needle”.
• Trim the straw if it’s too long, but leave more length off the jar as what is attached to it.
• Put the finished glass jar next to a wall and tape a piece of paper or card to the wall behind it.
• Mark the current position of the straw on the paper, and mark one above and below the mark, about the same length away, and label the high and low pressure.
• Check the straw regularly and keep marking its location on the paper for a few days.

Money Science

What you need:Burn Money1
• 2 TB spoons rubbing alcohol
• 1 TB spoon water
• tongs
• safety glasses
• fire extinguisher
• money

What you do:
• Start by preparing a water-alcohol mixture by combining 2 Tb spoons of 70% rubbing alcohol with 1 TB spoon  of water. Make sure to stir the mixture thoroughly.
• Dip a dollar  bill  into the mixture of water and rubbing alcohol, making sure the bill is completely soaked.
• Remove the bill using the tongs – squeeze out any excess liquid.
• Move the water-alcohol mixture to a safe place (away from the area where you are going to light the bill).
• Hold one end of the bill with tongs and light the bottom of the bill.
• The bill will look like it’s burning.
• When the flame is completely extinguished, it’s safe to touch the money… you’ll find that the money is even cool to the touch.



Crusoe’s Science

Robinson science3If you got stuck on an uninhabited island like Robinson Crusoe you will need to know how to get salt for cooking and drinking water for survival.
So, here you go:

What you need:Robinson science1
• large bowl
• short glass or cup
• tape
• plastic wrap
• small rock
• pitcher of water
• salt
• long spoon for stirring

What you do:
• Make saltwater by adding salt to fresh water.
• Stir the water until the salt dissolves.
• Pour about two inches of saltwater in a large bowl.
• Take an empty glass and put it in the bowl. The top of the glass should be shorter than the top of the bowl, but higher than the saltwater.
• Put plastic wrap over the top of the bowl. You may need to use tape to make sure the seal is tight.
• Put small rock right in the center of the plastic wrap, over the empty glass. That will weigh the plastic down and help you collect the water. Now you’ve made a solar still. It’s called a still because it distills, or purifies, water.
• Leave your still outside in the sun.
• Leave it alone for a few hours, or even a whole day. The longer you leave it out, the more water you’ll collect.
• When you’re ready to check your still, take the plastic wrap off and look at the water that’s collected in the cup. Do you think it’s salty or fresh?
• Taste it.

Robinson science2

Tip: Rays from the sun heat up the salty water in the bowl. When the water gets warm, it evaporates and becomes a gas. When the gas rises and hits the plastic wrap, it turns back into water droplets. Eventually, gravity makes the water droplets roll down the plastic wrap towards the rock. Then the water droplets slide off the plastic wrap into the glass. The salt doesn’t evaporate, so it gets left behind in the bowl. Water evaporates in the same way from lakes, rivers, and oceans. The water heats up, turns into a gas, and then condenses to fall back down as rain.


JellyfishThe jellyfish belongs to the hybroid family of creatures; this Latin name means “waterlike”. It is ninety-nine percent water, so its flesh is as fluid as the white of an egg.

To test this statement you will need:
• Glass
• Water
• Egg white
• Small container/glass/cup
• Food coloring

Jellyfish1What you do:
• Add a little bit of food coloring to the egg white and mix it slightly. (You need it to see the ” jellyfish” in the water).
• Fill the glass with water.
• Add the egg white to the glass.
• Observe.
• You’ve got yourself a pet jellyfish.

Magic Bottle

What you need:magic bottle
• a bottle of water
• a needle

What you do:
• Put six small holes near the bottom  of the bottle, all around it.
• Give the bottle to your friend and ask him to have a drink.
• Watch what happens.

When the cap is on the bottle, the air pressure in the bottle is equal to the air pressure outside the bottle. Since the pressure is the same nothing comes out of the uncovered hole at first. When the cap is taken off, the water squirts out of the bottle. The water pressure in the bottle is greater than the air pressure on the out side of the bottle. The reason for this is because the weight of the water caused by gravity has a greater pressure then the air pressure outside of the bottle.

The weight of the water in the bottle causing pressure causes the water to shoot out of the lowest hole the farthest. This is because the height of more water above the hole has more weight and creates a greater pressure that the hole that is higher on the bottle.