We have just whiled away a winter’s afternoon, having our brains blown by science. Our Whizz Pop Bang magazine arrived late yesterday, and thanks to the email that arrives with the shopping list prior to the magazine being dispatched, we were fully stocked up with necessary supplies for this month’s experiments…..we have lots of time to get our supplies now as the magazine has to come all the way to Sweden, and then this month it was competing with the Christmas post too. The main feature that my trio were interested in was the 12 days of Christmas, 12 edible experiments. So we set ourselves up for an afternoon of sugar based fun 🙂
First up was supersizing a marshmallow. A marshmallow was popped onto a plate and heated for 30 seconds, and they took it turns to watch one grow as it was heated. The children were learning about the water in air pockets heating up and bouncing around more, and so making it grow in size…..until three small mouths gobbled them up!!
Next up was making raisins dance, by plopping them into a fizzy drink (we used lemonade). This was teaching them about density and how something heavy could end up floating. The next experiment I couldn’t get any of them to do. All three refused once they felt the texture of the sprout in their mouth! They were supposed to be blind folded, and holding their noses and trying to eat sprout, onion, or apple…the theory being it would be hard to tell what was what….no chance with this one!!
The following experiment was one of our flops for the day. There was a basic ice cream recipe which you mixed up in a freezer bag, before crushing ice and mixing with salt in another bag. The ice cream mix bag was then inserted into the ice mix bag and shaken for around 10 minutes. We definitely felt the reaction of salt melting the ice and removing the heat energy to make the icy water even colder, but unfortunately our “ice cream” was still fluid 🙁 We are being true scientists though, with not everything being a success!!
Next up we headed outside to create an explosion. We took the lid off our coke bottle, and quickly emptied a tube of mentos into the bottle, and then “BOOM!!!”….well more like fizz fizz fizz with ours!! We had a tamer reaction than anticipated, but they still enjoyed it, and learnt about the bubbles and pressure. Our second flop of the afternoon was crunching mints in the pitch black to get friction light sparks from them….it didn’t happen at all. However, they weren’t extra strong mints as listed, but the nearest thing we could find in Sweden, so perhaps our resources were not up to scratch for this one. Growing the giant gummy bear, is a work in progress, as is the growing edible crystals experiment, so I shall post updates of those when they are completed.
The last 2 experiments were perhaps the 2 they liked the most, one of which was making lava toffee. It mainly revolved around learning about the release of carbon dioxide again, but the trio were also fascinated by the technique of dropping a small amount of mix in a glass of water to see if it turned hard immediately, and was therefore ready to set. We were in danger of losing the whole mixture to this little activity!! Once the mixture had bicarbonate of soda added, they loved the fact that it acted like a volcano spewing lava, and it was even better that it set so fast, they didn’t have a long wait until they could eat it.
The last experiment we had to modify slightly. We can not buy custard powder here, so we had to go with just cornflour, and the result was amazing. The children loved it and sat playing with it for around an hour. What was even better was mini man no.2, after an initial hesitation, got his hands and arms fully into the mixture and was squelching it around with great enthusiasm. The whole behaviour of the mixture blew our little lady’s mind…she kept saying things like, how, why, and what on earth?!! I have a feeling I will be buying up truck loads of supplies of corn flour! When mixed with water, the mixture behaves in a very strange way. It is solid as soon as you touch it, grip it or scratch it. But release the pressure, and it turns straight back into a liquid. It’s a non-Newtonian fluid, and great fun to mess about with.
We love doing our Whizz Pop Bang experiments, and the fact the we can do them for 5 & 8 year olds, and everyone gets something out of the experience, shows how well this magazine caters for children. We signed up for ours at www.whizzpopbang.com if you want to take a peek 🙂