Air Zookas

Air Zookas

Air Zookas deliver a blast of air across a room by simply trapping air and then firing it forward.

 

Equipment

  • Air Zooka (can be found online)

 

Method

  1. Construct the Air Zooka as per instructions
    2. Pull on the handle inside the Air Zooka attached to the strong elastic
    3. Let go of the handle and see what happens
    4. It is probably best if you have a wiling volunteer in front of you (preferably with long hair) so you can see what happens. Alternatively try and fire at a curtain or blind to see what happens.

 

The science

The Air Zooka contains air, when you pull back on the handle, more air is pulled into the Air Zooka. When you release the handle, the increased air is pushed out of the Air Zooka with force enough to disturb your friends hair and/or the curtains/blinds.

Balloon Hovercraft

Balloon Hovercraft

Make your very own balloon hover craft with nothing more than an old CD, sports cap drinks bottle, Blu-tack and a balloon.

 

Equipment

  • 1 balloon
  • 1 drink bottle top or fruit shoot top (with a sports cap)
  • 1 old CD or DVD
  • Blu-tack

Method

  1. Roll the Blu-tack into a thin sausage shape and stick it to the bottom of the sports cap
  2. Stick the sports cap onto the centre of the CD DVD
  3. Check that there are no air gaps around the bottom of the sports cap
  4. Push the sports cap down so that it is closed.
  5. Blow up a balloon and put it over the top of the sports cap
  6. Put your Hovercraft on a smooth floor (not carpet)
  7. When you’re ready, lift the sports cap top and gently push your hovercraft.

The Science

The air from the balloon is pushed down through the centre of the CD/DVD and the only way out is for it to push underneath the CD/DVD. This creates a cushion of air for the hovercraft to float on making it speed across the floor.

 

Balloon Kebabs

Balloon Kebabs

Can you get a kebab stick through a balloon without popping it? Is it possible? Give it a try with this experiment guide.

 

Equipment

• Wooden kebab sticks (thin ones are best)
• Balloons (the more expensive ones work best)
• Balloon inflators

Method

  1. Blow a balloon up to 2/3rds inflated and tie the end in a knot
  2. Take a kebab stick and see if you can push it through the balloon without popping it.
  3. Did the balloon pop?
  4. Try it now by pushing the kebab stick through the knotted end of the balloon and then out through the darkest part of the balloon at the other side
  5. Did the balloon pop? It may take several attempts but you should get there!!

The Science

There is a lot of tension on the balloon at the sides so pushing anything through this area will pop the balloon. However the darker areas of the balloon are under a lot less tension and therefore it is possible to push a kebab stick through without popping the balloon.

Health and Safety

Latex allergy
Be aware of the sharp points on the kebab sticks

 

Balloon Powered Car

Balloon Powered Car

Can you make your very own balloon powered car. Use this handy guide to help you propel your hand made vehicle.

 

Equipment

  • 1 piece of rectangular card
  • 4 milk carton tops (or circles of card)
  • 2 Kebab sticks
  • 3 straws (kebab sticks must fit through the middle of
    them) ideally 2 straight and 1 bendy
  • 1 Balloon
  • Sticky tape
  • Blu-tack

Method

  1. Stick 2 straight straws onto one side of the card to act as the axles of the car
  2. Put a kebab stick through the centre of both straw axles
  3. Make a small hole in the centre of the milk carton lids
  4. Attach a milk carton lid to either end of the kebab sticks and secure with a piece of Blu-tack
  5. Turn the car over and attach the bendy straw so that it runs front to back with approx 1/4 hanging out over the end
  6. Blow up the balloon and release the air several times to make it easier to blow up once it’s on the car.
  7. Stick the ends of the balloon over the short bendy end of the straw
  8. Blow into the other end of the straw to blow the balloon up – Pinch the end of it
  9. When you’re ready, release the balloon and watch the car go

The Science

The car only moves once you let go of the balloon and the air can escape. The air is pushed out of the straw and this gives an equal and opposite push to the car. The air comes out of the back of the car, so the car moves forwards.

 

Bath Bombs

Bath Bombs

Create your very own Bath bomb and make bath time more fun and exciting whilst exploring the science behind the chemical reaction.

 

Equipment

  • Selection of aromatherapy oils
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Tablespoons
  • Beakers (1 per child)
  • Bicarbonate of Soda powder (try www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk)
  • Cornflour
  • Citric Acid powder (try www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk)
  • 6 x Garden spray bottles
  • Small (100ml) plastic tubs with lids (1 per child)
  • Wooden tongue depressors (1 per child)
  • Food Colouring
  • Plastic Pipettes

Method

(The order in which bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and citric acid are added doesn’t matter)

  1. Measure 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into your plastic cup
  2. Measure 1 tablespoon of cornflour into your cup
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of citric acid to your cup and stir
  4. Add a couple of drops of food colouring and mix well
  5. Now add a few drops of some fragrant oil and mix
  6. Add water onto your mixture using a spray bottle a little at a time until it starts clumping together and looking a little like breadcrumbs
  7. Tip the mixture out into your bath bomb mould and press down
  8. Leave your mixture to set
  9. When it’s ready, pop it in the bath and watch it fizz!

The Science

When the bath bomb dissolves in water, there is a chemical reaction between the citric acid and the sodium bicarbonate. The result is called “sodium citrate”. During the reaction, carbon dioxide is released.
This causes the ‘fizzing’ that you see, similar to that in fizzy pop.

 

Health and Safety

Citric Acid can be an irritant and will sting if it gets into an open wound or an eye. Irrigate with sterile water if needed. It is also advisable that children with sensitive skin wear gloves for this experiment and do not use the bath bomb in the bath themselves. It is also a good idea to label the bath bomb so that its contents are clearly displayed.

Bouncing Custard Balls

Bouncing Custard Balls

How to make custard bounce. Follow this simple guide to make bouncy custard balls, and find out the science behind it.

 

Equipment

  • Non-latex gloves
    (for children with eczema/sensitive skin/open cuts)
  • Lab coats
  • Safety glasses
  • Disposable plastic cups
  • PVA Glue (Craft Planet is best)
  • 4% Borax Solution
  • Custard Powder
  • Tablespoons
  • Teaspoons
  • Pipette
  • Wooden tongue depressors

Method

  1. Pour 1 x tablespoon (2 lines from bottom of cup) of PVA glue into a plastic cup
  2. Add 1 tsp of custard powder to the PVA glue and mix using a wooden tongue depressor
  3. Add 4mls of borax solution to the glue mixture. Stir thoroughly until your mixture stiffens – you will have to spend a few minutes doing this
  4. Knead/rub the mixture using your hands until it becomes elastic, stuck-together and drier. Shape the material into a ball and check how well it bounces
  5. If it’s too dry, it needs more water. If it’s too wet, it needs more custard powder

The Science

A chemical reaction takes place. The borax cross-links two polymers (long-chain molecules) i.e. cornflour (contained in the custard powder) and PVA glue.

 

Health and Safety

Powdered Borax may be a risk to pregnant women. Please check online material hazard sheets for Borax prior to its use. Borax can be an irritant in liquid form so please ensure any children with sensitive skin are wearing gloves. To protect clothing and eyes from splashes, please ensure all children are wearing lab coats and safety glasses.