Posts Tagged ‘experiment’

Measuring the Magnitude of Force

Monday, August 8th, 2016


Today we are hanging some fruit from a chandelier and poking it with a straw–yes, we are measuring the magnitude of force!

Are you ready for a ridiculously fun experiment? You will need the following items: string, a chandelier or door knob, a bendy straw, tape, scissors, a grape, an apple, and a banana.

Here are the results of our experiment:

How to conduct the experiment:

Step 1: Make sure the fruit is completely dry before attempting to tape the string to the fruit. We used packing tape, but apparently flimsy scotch tape also works. I was shocked to see the banana didn’t fall and splat with weak scotch tape holding it up.

Step 2: Tie the other end of the string to the chandelier or door knob.

taped-grapeThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Step 3: Grab a bendy straw and push each piece of fruit. Notice that the grape does not bend the straw, but the apple and the banana require more force to move, so they bend the straw. The more mass an object has, the more force is required to move it.


The photo above is the moment I discovered the weak tape was holding the banana up. It was quite hilarious, since I was expecting a splat.


See how the grape requires almost no effort to move, since its mass is so small. On the other hand, the other two pieces of fruit require more force to accelerate. To accelerate something means to make it move forward or change its velocity. We accelerated the speed of the fruit in this experiment while determining the magnitude of force required to move each piece.


This fun experiment is from the book Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press. Why not pick up your own copy today!

Elementary Chemistry Series

Monday, November 24th, 2014


This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Can you teach elementary-level kids something as difficult as chemistry? Yes, you can! This year we studied elementary chemistry, and the curriculum we used was Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press. We had a wonderful time doing all the experiments, which helped us to understand basic chemistry concepts.

The book presented these chemistry concepts in a way that even a child could understand. The science experiments used inexpensive household items, and the experiments were not difficult to perform. My high school kids were present when I went through this elementary-level chemistry book with my two younger kids, and my older kids did better in their high school chemistry because the basic concepts had already been mastered, so the more difficult high school-level concepts were easier to understand.

The multiple choice tests for each chapter were hilarious. One of the answers always made my kids laugh hysterically. You still needed to pay attention and learn all the lessons because it was not possible to pick between the other two possibilities unless you knew the material. In this way, my kids began to look forward to the chemistry tests! Can you believe it? That’s definitely a positive aspect of using this curriculum!

In case you missed any of the experiments that we performed, here is an index of the fun chemistry experiments:

1. Chemistry Tools
2. Filtration Experiment
3. Make Your Own Element Cards
4. Mixtures and Compounds
5. How to Build Atomic Models
6. Atomic Cookies
7. Building Molecular Models
8. Breaking Covalent Bonds
9. Acids and Bases
10. Dissolving Calcium with Acid
11. Measuring the Volume of a Solid
12. Testing Charles’s Gas Law
13. Saltwater Experiment
14. Saturated Solutions
15. Freezing Alcohol
16. Hydrocarbons

I hope you enjoyed all these experiments as much as we did!

#15 Freezing Alcohol

Monday, November 10th, 2014


This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today we are doing a “Freezing Alcohol” experiment where we will put different amounts of alcohol combined with water in the freezer to see which will freeze first. My younger two children are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press, and this is one of the experiments in the book.

Grab three plastic containers with lids. You need lids because alcohol evaporates so easily, and we don’t want the alcohol to evaporate out of the containers and affect our results.

Label the three containers by writing on paper with a black permanent marker. Attach the labels with packing tape. Here are the three labels:

  • Water only
  • 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Water + 70% Isopropyl Alcohol

The water only container is the control. We will see how fast normal water freezes and compare that to the amount of time it takes for alcohol to freeze, if it freezes at all.

Grab your rubbing alcohol from your medicine cabinet. This alcohol will say “70% Isopropyl Alcohol.” Pour the alcohol into the second container.

The third container should have half alcohol and half water. If you put 100 ml of water in the first container and 100 ml of alcohol into the second container, you will want to put 50 ml of water and 50 ml of alcohol into the third container.

freezing-alcohol-2Place all three containers into the freezer and wait two hours. Then pull them out and remove the lids to see what is going on. The first container was frozen solid. The second container was sort of frozen on the bottom, but liquid on the top. The third container was completely liquid with no ice whatsoever.

Even after 24 hours, we have similar results, except for the second container. Take a look:

Alcohol definitely has a lower freezing point than water does. In fact, a normal household freezer (which is around 0 degrees) will never be able to freeze the alcohol unless the temperature of the freezer is lowered considerably! Of course, you would not want to do that to your freezer, or all your food would get freezer burn!


#2 Filtration Experiment

Monday, August 11th, 2014

filtration-experimentThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today we will be doing a fun filtration experiment where salt goes through a filter like magic, while sand remains behind. This is one of the experiments in the book Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press. The book provides a chart to fill in as we examine the salt and the sand at the beginning of the experiment.

You will need some sand, some salt, a funnel, a coffee filter, a mason jar or large drinking glass, a pie plate (without pie in it!), a glass measuring cup, a bowl, a teaspoon, and a stirring spoon.


Place 2 teaspoons of salt into the bowl. Add one teaspoon of sand to the salt, but don’t mix it yet. It helps to put salt on one side of the bowl and sand on the other side. Now you will want to taste the salt and the sand. You can spit out the sand when you are finished tasting it. You will have to watch the video at the end of this blog post to find out what my daughter said the sand tasted like.

Look at the salt and sand and feel it with your fingers. Which one is more coarse? Write that down on the chart. What color is the salt? What color is the sand? Are there any other characteristics your kids would like to mention about the salt or the sand?


Write down each of your findings on the chart provided in the book, and then doodle all over the rest of the paper as if you were a mad scientist. Just kidding. You don’t need to doodle.

filtration-doodlesNow mix the salt and the sand together with a spoon. This is called a mixture. Pour 100ml of water into the salt/sand mixture, and stir for 60 seconds until the salt has dissolved.

Place the coffee filter into the funnel, and put the funnel on top of the mason jar. One child can hold the funnel while the other child pours the salt/sand/water mixture into the filter.

filter-experimentThe water will go through the filter, but the sand will be left behind.

Where did the salt go? It disappeared!

Pour the contents of the mason jar into a pie plate, and leave it for a few days. When the water has evaporated, voila! The salt grains re-appear like a magic trick!

evaporated-saltWhat happened? The salt became smaller when water was added to it, and the salt was then able to go through the filter. How sneaky is that?

And the fun thing is that the salt crystals re-appeared larger than what they were at the beginning of the experiment!

salt-crystalsTake a look at the filtration experiment, as we recorded the whole experience on video: