This weekend we are providing free activities at the Engineering Festival at The Science Museum, and you can try some of these great activities to enjoy at home. PLUS you can enjoy fun Bitz and Bob classes in your local area.
Check out where your local Creation Station Bitz and Bob classes
Try these fun activities at home.
We know that some things are solid and some things are liquid. We know that if you put water in the freezer it will change to a solid form of ice. But what if a liquid was to turn into a solid whilst it was in your hand? Find out how and why and enjoy this fun activity at home.
You will need
- 1 cup of cornflour
- 1 cup of water
- Few drops of food colouring or paint
Mix the equal amount of cornflour and water to make a thick paste. Add a few drops of food colouring and mix in.
Scoop a handful and roll into a ball. Open your hand and watch your ball magically drip and slide off your hand!
How this works
In your mixture, large cornflour particles are 'suspended' (float around) in the water. This is what happens in a liquid. The mixture is thick because the particles are packed very closely together, but there is a bit of room for them to slip past each other. When you stir the mixture, it gives the mixture energy. The suspended particles now have more energy to move past each other. However, when you put sudden ‘stress’ (pressure) on the mixture, by rolling it, the particles are squeezed into one place. This makes your mixture more like a solid with particles tightly packed together.
2. From square to spherical or round bubbles.
We all love bubbles! Here you can learn why bubbles are always round.
- 2 plastic straws (reuse straws if possible)
- 4 chenille stems (also called pipe cleaners)
- Bubble mixture
- Vegetable Glycerin
Cut each straw into three equal lengths. Join the chenille stems to make a long chenille stem.
Thread four equal length straws onto the long chenille stem to make a square shape. Twist the ends of the chenille stems to make a handle. Add the glycerin to your bubble mixture. Dip your square bubble maker into the bubble mixture. Can you see a square ‘see-through flat layer’ of bubble mixture? Now blow on your bubble maker. What happens?
How Does It Work
Water is made from hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms. They are attracted to each other and also cling to other atoms in other water molecules too. The bubble mixture and glycerin get in the way of their attraction and this makes them behave in a more “stretchy” way. This means that when soap is mixed with water, the bonds or connections in the water are reduced. This is also called a ‘reduced surface tension’. As you dip your square shape into the bubble mixture, the bubble mixture stretches between the edges of the square and the mixture clings to the sides of your square. This is called adhesion. When you blow your bubble the mixture likes to use the minimum amount of surface area needed to hold the amount of air trapped inside. That is why your square bubble turned into a spherical or 3D round bubble!
3. Balloon Rockets
Rockets have always been an exciting phenomena for all of us, from landing on the moon to rocket propulsion. In this fun activity, you can start to learn what makes the rockets move.
Tie a piece of string onto a fixed point (a chair or door handle will do). Slide a small piece of straw onto the string.
Take the other end of the string and attach it to another fixed point. Then blow up a balloon.
Blow into your balloon and hold the end to keep the air in. Attach your balloon to the straw with sticky tape. Once secured to the straw, release the balloon and watch it zoom!
How it works
When you blow into your balloon you are adding particles of air and gas. The more you inflate the balloon, the more particles there are. This increases the pressure inside the balloon making it stretch. When you release the balloon, gas quickly escapes to equalize the pressure inside the balloon with the air pressure outside of the balloon. The escaping air creates a force on the balloon itself, the balloon pushes back. This is described in Newton’s third law of motion - ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. In this case, the balloon moves in the opposite direction to the air whooshing out.
We hope you enjoyed these activities. If you would love to find local creative classes, parties and events click here to contact your local Creation Station leader.
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