Cool science experiments

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru,

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Have fun with science at home.
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Learn how things work by doing experiments.

There are many cool science experiments kids can do with materials found at home. Here are some supplied by Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab online. After you try these, go there to find even more ways to have fun with science. Parents should be involved in this scientific exploration for safety reasons.

Making a fire extinguisher

Most people have fire extinguishers in their homes and they are required by law in businesses. Fire extinguishers work by removing oxygen, which is one of the critical ingredients for a fire - oxygen. In this experiment we demonstrate how this works.

What you need:

- a small dish - baking soda - a short candle and a slightly longer candle - a large bowl - a match or lighter - vinegar

Fill the small dish with baking soda. Place both candles upright in the baking soda. Place the dish on the bottom of the large bowl.

Have a parent light both candles. Then pour the vinegar into the dish of baking soda but not on the candles.

What happens to the candles? Which candle goes out first - the shorter one or the taller one?

When vinegar is combined with baking soda, the two react and produce carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas is heavier than the surrounding air so it sinks into the bottom of the bowl. As the reaction continues, more and more carbon dioxide gas is produced, slowly filling up the bowl. When the level of carbon dioxide has risen to the level of the flame, the flame will go out from lack of oxygen.

How to recycle newspaper

Everyone knows recycling is good for the environment. In this experiment, we'll recycle a newspaper into little sheets of fresh paper. It's another of the many cool science experiments that you can do at home.

What you need:

- several sheets of old newspaper - a blender - some hot water - an old metal coat hanger - an old nylon stocking - a large mixing bowl - two paper towels - a wooden cutting board - an iron

Tear the newspaper into little pieces. Put it in a blender. Add hot water and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Turn on the blender and blend the paper mixture up real well.

Bend the coat hanger to form a somewhat round loop. Cover the hanger loop with an old nylon stocking to make a screen. Place the 'screen' over the mixing bowl and pour the liquid mixture onto the screen. Let this sit for a while until all of the liquid has finished draining into the bowl.

Now place the screen between two paper towels. Take this paper towel sandwich and place it on the cutting board. With help from a parent, iron out the paper towels. Remove the paper towels and peel the paper off of the screen. You now have recycled paper.

How salt can be used to lower the freezing point of water

Ever wonder why people pour salt on icy sidewalks to make the snow melt or why lakes and streams freeze over solid while the ocean always remains flowing? Is there something magical about salt?

What you need:

- two cups, each containing the same amount of water - one tablespoon of salt - a freezer

Test #1:

Take two cups of water. Place the salt in one of the cups. Place both cups in the freezer.

Check each cup about every 10 minutes. Can you guess which one will freeze first?

What you need:

- an ice cube - a plate - some salt

Test #2:

Now take an ice cube from the freezer. Place the ice cube on a plate and begin sprinkling salt on the ice cube. Watch as the ice cube melts.

Salt lowers the freezing point, which is the temperature at which a liquid becomes a solid. Normally, water freezes when the temperature reaches about 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). When you mix salt with water you actually lower this freezing point. Salty water will still freeze but the temperature has to be colder than it would for normal water. How much colder? That depends upon how much salt you put in the water. The more salt you add, the colder it must get before water freezes.

Many more cool science experiments like these can be found on the Internet. Just do a quick search and you'll be amazed at what you find.

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