Summer Science

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

science fun

So, I am a little deficient in the fun science experiment stuff department.  But, I’ve turned over a new leaf and that’s all changing.  It all started when my friend Annie sent me the Summer Science issue of Alphabet Glue.  I printed it, punched holes in the pages, and bound it in a folder.  My next step was to read through, and then request the “featured reads” at the library.  I knew my kids would especially enjoy Moonshot, a book for children about the flight of Apollo 11, and indeed they did play “rocketship” for hours after Jonny read it to them.  I made my guilty “oops” face though when I started reading about the experiment Annie details in the Summer Science issue to go with Moonshot.  She writes, “Alka Seltzer rockets might very well be the classic science experiment.”

I was a science geek in college.  My tutoring skills in organic chemistry were what I used to snare myself a husband.  (I am only slightly exaggerating there.  He says it was chem 2–whatever– we took both classes together.  It’s possible that we met during Chem 2 and were married the following semester halfway through organic chem.  Yes, it was that quick.)  However, I had never heard of Alka Seltzer rockets before last week.  Wanting to quickly make up for my deficiency, I went to the recommended Steve Spangler website (be careful there–don’t go without a list and then stick to it) and ordered the old school plastic film canisters necessary to make the rockets.  I managed to escape without ordering anything else except the crazy jelly marbles that you can see in my photos above.  My kids had a lot of fun playing with them (but keep them away from the baby!)

Back to the rockets, they are incredibly easy, really fun, and quite addictive.  I wonder if Costco sells giant packages of Alka Seltzer?  In an effort to provide more science fun, I’ve also added bothof Steve Spangler’s booksto my wishlist.  Do any of you have them?  Are they good?

I’m excited about this new path I’m on.  Up next, homemade lava lamps.

Comments

  1. I’ve been visiting your site for a long time, and when I saw this post, I just had to share– I’ve just started a site http://www.liebacklookup.com that is filled with info on stargazing as a family. Thought you might be interested, it would go along with the rocket experiment!

  2. OH, yes, do make the lava lamps! We did that earlier in the Summer and it was so much fun! (keep your alka seltzer tabs and you can reactivate it) 🙂

  3. Don’t feel bad about not knowing about the rockets. As a teacher, I feel strongly that Alka Seltzer rockets are not a “science experiment.” I refuse to call anything a science experiment unless it involves testing a hypothesis – no matter how young the students. Alka Seltzer rockets may be fun – I have nothing against them – but they are an activity, not an experiment.

    • You know, I think I’d have to respectfully disagree. I think that if you test out different methods for getting more or less height from the rocket, it is indeed an experiment. We tried shaking the canister after adding the Alka Seltzer, putting the lid on more tightly vs. more loosely, using hot water vs. cold etc. I think that qualifies as experimentation 🙂

  4. Some nice science tips, thanks! I too struggle often with doing science experiments with my kids. Somehow I do plenty of art projects but fewer science projects. The rockets look like a sure bet. I am going to check out that website, thanks so much 🙂

  5. Hi Ginny,
    Sorry this is unrelated to your post but I have a quick question. I am due to have my third child mid September and have noticed that you quite frequently use a baby carrier with Silas. I have used a few myself including baby hawk, and hot sling. I am curious to know which carrier is your favorite so far. I have a 16 month old son also and will probably use it with him as well. Thanks, Love your blog! Erin

    • Congratulations! September will be here so soon! My favorite newborn carrier is the Sleepywrap (similar to the Moby wrap) and for older babies I like the Ergo.

      • Ergo is *the* name in mei tais, and everyone who uses one loves it, but it’s pricey. If you sew, there are a LOT of tutorials for mei tai style carriers online, and youtube is filled with videos on how to use them. I highly recommend giving that a shot. I also recommend the DIY solution to the Moby or sleepywrap, which is to buy 4 yards of stretchy knit fabric and cut it in half the long way. Yay frugal babywearing!
        Also, Steve Spangler’s books are a ton of fun. Yay science!

  6. This sounds like something I need. My boys love science experiments, but I never know what to do with them, never want to dig around for the stuff, don’t really know how to explain the science either…

  7. So much fun! Thanks so much for posting about this. I’ve downloaded the PDF and will get it printed tonight. This will be such fun when we learn about space this year!

  8. Ooo! Homemade lava lamps! That sounds so exciting! 🙂 Do a DIY, do a DIY! 🙂

  9. I’m a high school science teacher and you did all the fun science stuff I wish I could do with my students! Unfortunately those activities don’t work into my curriculum very well. But I can’t wait to do this stuff at home with my son when he’s old enough 🙂

  10. Kirsten Kinnell says:

    We did something similar, but used a paste of baking soda and water packed into the well on the inside of the film canister, then filled the canister half-way with vinegar. That allowed us the time to put the lid on, flip it over, and step away. Exploding things are awful fun!

  11. Oh Ginny, what fun!! I think we are going to have to do the lava lamps as K is obsessed with lava right now (recent trip to Mt. St. Helens) and this would tie in quite well. I’ll have to try Amy’s trick instead of the Alka Seltzer, too.
    Thanks for the inspiration! <3

  12. how fun. those jelly marbles look fun. and those rockets, i think the kids would love to try that. i wonder if we have any alka-seltzer.

  13. Sound great, thanks for the suggestions, I’m ashamed to not provide my son with experiments that he had request, but I’m clueless, maybe this could be a good start.

  14. We made a version of the lava lamp experiment, but instead of using Alka-Seltzer (which we didn’t have and is expensive), we froze cubes of water and baking soda. It worked spectacularly! I’d suggest giving it a try.

    • that sounds neat. what exactly did you do? put it in vinegar??

    • Thanks for the tip! Yes, mass quantities of Alka Seltzer really isn’t in the budget 🙂

    • Okay, that is super cool… What proportions did you use?

      • I’m not one to follow directions, but the instructions called for 1 inch of vinegar and 2 inches of oil in a clear container. The baking soda ice cubes were at a proportion of 2/3 baking soda/water. You can add food coloring to the baking soda, or to the vinegar, or if you have three small children, to everything in the world!

        Another great project is making “elephant toothpaste” – the directions are on the Spangler website, but the ingredients are also household: peroxide, yeast, soap. It’s a great messy variation on the baking soda/vinegar project.

        • Ah, so that is actually pretty different from the version of the lava lamps that we did. I think we will have to try that out and see how it works for us since we had such a good time with the ones that we did! We didn’t use vinegar, so I think that’s why the Alka Seltzer was called for… Always more fun to be had!

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