Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun Science

We did a couple of cool science experiments this week.

The first, called Streaky Paper, came from the book "Giant book of cool stuff".

Giant Book of Cool Stuff
(experiment 13 in the Science section)

You begin by placing bits of chalk into ziplock bags (one colour per bag) and use the rolling pin to crush it up into a fine powder.

Tip each colour into a separate plastic cup and mix with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil.

In a large plastic bowl (as you can see, we used a baking tray instead), fill with water and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

Pour the contents of each cup into the bowl. The chalky coloured oil should form large coloured pools on top of the water.

Lay a sheet of white paper on the surface of the water.

Lift out and place on sheets of newspaper to dry. Once dry, carefully wipe off any surface chalk grains with a paper towel.

We experimented with different amounts of oil - too much left it very pale and light-coloured, too little and the chalk mixture sank to the bottom.

The scientific explanation behind it - the molecules of chalk (calcium carbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) and water and the surface of the paper all chemically mix together to make a chemical bond. This causes the streaky colours to stick to the paper.

Suggestions for use - wrapping paper, writing paper etc.

Our other experiment came from reading 'The Magic School Bus gets baked in a cake: A book about Kitchen chemistry'.

Scholastic's the Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book about Kitchen Chemistry

It's a simple one but it amused us for a while :)

Put some water in a jug and add 2 teaspoons of bicarb soda (baking soda) and 3 teaspoons of vinegar.

Throw in 5 or 6 peanuts and watch what happens!

The bubbles from the carbon dioxide will form on the surface of the peanuts and cause them to float to the top. The bubbles will then slowly pop and the nut will fall back down again. Repeat :)

We used cashews because that's all we had - they were probably a bit large as they were quite slow to rise - it did eventually happen though. We also added some sultanas later on and they were much quicker to rise and fall.

So there you go, some simple but fun science for the week!


3anklebiters said...

our current favorite science books are Pop Bottle Science ( and Science Experiments You Can Eat ( Sorry for the long URLs, they are fun books for the kids.

Vanessa said...

Hi Kez,
I've been enjoying your blog for a while now. As a teacher I think its great that you're home schooling. It really is the way to go and I have believed this for some time. I have just started my own blog called
I'd love it if you could take the time to have a look and let me know what you think.
Thanks for sharing your life.

Raechelle said...

I love the paper idea! I will use it for our next craft/play date.

Anonymous said...

Here's a site that I think our readers might enjoy. It is called MEET ME AT THE CORNER, Virtual Field Trips for Kids (

This series of free educational video pod casts is directed at kids ages 7-12. Each three-minute episode includes links to fun websites, a list of recommended books and a Learning Corner of questions and extended activities about the topic.
New episodes are uploaded every two weeks. On 1/18 there will be an episode about Everyday Physics from the New York Hall of Science. On February 1, there's a show about Thomas Edison filmed at the new Thomas Edison Museum in West Orange New Jersey. And later in February, there is an episode on how to prepare for your school science fair.

karisma said...

Very cool!

Tricia said...

That streaky paper looks like fun. We might give it a go thanks.

Anonymous said...

That's so cool! Love the art/science project!