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I’ve been teaching a science class this current co-op season. I had a couple of books that inspired me The Element in the Room and The Electric Pickle. Here are seven experiments for a co-op science class.
We discussed hydrogen and oxygen and learned to separate them with electrolysis.
We learned the iodine turns purple when it connects with a starch. This also gave us the opportunity to discuss diffusion.
We had a lot of fun playing around with mentos and pop. We got a lot of different pops, let the boys figure out an hypothesis, and test their ideas, their goal.. figure out why mentos reacted strongly with some pop but not with others. They got pretty close to figuring it out too! We ended up turning to the internet for the answers. It’s a combination nucleation and the the gum arabic and gelatin ingredients of the Mentos, combined with the potassium benzoate, sugar or (potentially) aspartame in diet sodas. The boys were shocked that the no sugar pepsi had the greatest reaction and had traced that down the aspartame. And my son had mentioned the bubbles that form on the mint mentos. We actually took two class periods to research this.
The boys were delighted to test out chip bags in the microwave. They excitedly showed them off to a homeschool mom who asked “did you do those in the oven?” They told her the microwave and she asked about sparks. We learned that two seconds in the microwave works fine. It was NOT my idea to do one with the contents still in it, but the boys thought it pretty cool. 🙂
One day we played around with magnets. I hadn’t anticipated this one but came prepared in case they were curious. I brought four different kinds of cereal and some milk. They floated the cereal and determined which ones had the most iron in them. Fruit loops of all things!!!!! Crushed them and discovered tiny amounts of iron filings. This was a total eye opener for them. Then of course, boys being boys, they played magnet hockey…in the process discovering north and south, and how magnets vary in strength.
Our last experiment was in discovering the joy of black snakes. Working with carbon was very exciting for these two lads. It was a windy day so we struggled getting things going and the bbq lighter was a bit of a challenge to use.
Since we are on vacation this week I didn’t actually plan an experiment for day six. I expect the lads will be too busy just setting things up and I always have stuff we can play around with. 🙂