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Caroline Dennigan

Caroline Dennigan Blog Posts
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 3 fun and easy science experiments to do at home


Here are 3 very easy, safe and fun science experiments that you can do with children at home. No special equipment is needed and most of the things needed you will already have at home.


1. Make your own crystals

Probably everyone's favourite experiment and there are many variations on growing crystals at home but this one uses plain table salt and is probably the quickest and easiest.


What you'll need

Table salt - sodium chloride
300 ml tap water
Clean glass jam jar
Piece of string

Piece of card

• Under adult supervision pour 300 ml of tap water into a saucepan.
Slowly heat the water and gradually add the salt. Stir to dissolve the salt completely in the water and make a salt solution.

• Keep adding more salt and stir all the time until no more will dissolve. This is known in chemistry as a 'saturated solution' and defines a solution in which no more solvent can be dissolved. (And yes, Primary aged children NEED to know this!)

• Pour the solution carefully into the clean glass jam jar.

• Wet the string by running it under a tap.

• The pencil is going to be used to suspend the string into the salt solution so you will need to tie the piece of string around the middle of the pencil and use the paperclip as a weight by attaching to the other end of the string.

• Hang the string into the jar using the pencil across the top of the jar to keep it in place.

• Cover the jar with a piece of card and leave it in a warm spot or airing cupboard for a few days. Try not to move the jar while the crystals are growing!

• After a few days, salt crystals will grow along the string.

Next time, use different types of salt such as Epsom salt, sea salt, iodized salt and see if there are any variations in the appearance of the crystals. What happens if you use distilled water instead of tap water?


2. Soap powered fish or boat

What you'll need

A foam tray (like the type meat comes in) or a piece of card
Liquid hand soap washing up liquid

• Cut the foam tray or card into a fish or boat shape. A good workable size seems to be 2'' in length. The boat or fish will need to have a notch or V shape at the back.

• Decorate the boat or fish with your crayons.

• Fill a bowl or sink with water and dip the toothpick into the liquid soap or washing up liquid and dab it around the V shape of the fishes tail or end of the boat.

That’s it! Now put the fish or boat flat onto the surface of the water and watch it move across the water by itself.

Liquid soaps and washing up liquids are both surfactants - which means they break down the surface tension of water. This creates enough of a force to push the boat across the water.


3. Coin cleaner

What you'll need

A few dull pennies
2 oz white vinegar
1 tsp salt
Shallow bowl
Paper towels

• Pour the white vinegar into the bowl and add the salt, stir and drop in the dull old pennies. Count to 20 and then remove the coins. Rinse under the cold tap and dry them with a paper towel. Your pennies will now be nice and shiny!

Vinegar is an acid and the salt reacts with it.

The acid in the vinegar which removes the copper oxide that was making the coins appear dull and dirty.


Ready to try another experiment? Add a few more pennies to the bowl and wait for 20 seconds, only this time don't rinse them under the tap. Just leave them on a paper towel to dry. In the space of a few hours the coins will go a greenish- blue colour. This is because a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral called Malachite has started to form on the coins.


Finally, drop in a couple of nuts and bolts into the same bowl and if there is enough copper from the pennies, the metal in the nuts and bolts will attract the copper and they will take on a new colour!


If your child needs further help with science, why not book a tutor?

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