Adapted from the print edition, October 2012
Did you know that there are approximately 100 trillion cells in the adult human body? Or that astronauts gain about one to two inches in height when they’re in space? For kiddos who can’t get enough of science facts and fun, here are three great experiments you can try at home—we’ll even tell you what makes each one tick.
1. Create a rainbow
Place a glass of water on the edge of a counter and place a sheet of white paper on the floor in front of it. Cover the light end of a flashlight with masking tape so only a slit of light shines through. Flash the light through the glass, towards the paper, to see the rainbow.
Why it works: Light is made up of many colours. A rainbow is created when light is bent (refracted) and the colours separate. Refraction occurs when light passes through water droplets, or in this case, the glass of water.
2. Get your raisins to dance
Fill a tall glass of water with any clear carbonated beverage. Drop a few raisins in and watch as they bounce from top to bottom.
Why it works: The carbon dioxide bubbles in carbonated beverages increase the raisins’ buoyancy and cause them to rise. When the raisins reach the surface, the bubbles pop and carbon dioxide escapes, causing the raisins to sink. They’ll continue to dance until the drink falls flat or the raisins become soggy.
3. Make slime
Mix 1/2 cup of white glue with 1/2 cup of water. Add a few drops of food colouring. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of Borax powder. Stir the mixtures together. Take the slime that forms into your hands and knead until it feels dry and firm.
Why it works: Glue contains a liquid polymer ingredient (polyvinyl acetate) that when mixed with the Borax causes the molecules to link together and create a flexible polymer.