How to make a shrunken head

[dropcap1]M[/dropcap1]aking a shrunken head for Halloween is fun and it only takes a few items to get started. To create a shrunken head you need just a few items. Gather up an apple, granny smith, red delicious, whatever, pretty much any apple will work. The basic steps for making a shrunken head from an apple are: remove the skin, coat with lemon juice, carve features, soak in saltwater, let shrink for 2 weeks, decorate with optional features. See it’s so easy anyone can do it. Plus if you really mess up you can always eat the apple! Read more

Create a Gum-drop dome

[dropcap1]W[/dropcap1]ith just a few gumdrops and some toothpicks you can build some pretty cool structures that are amazingly strong yet simple in design.
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Cookie mining

Cookie mining is a fun activity that might get you thinking about what it take to mine for minerals in the Earth’s crust. Can you extract the minerals without making a mess or destroying the materials around it?

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Hoop Gliders

Hoop gliders are pretty cool cause they look like they shouldn’t really be able to fly as well as they do. Two hoops of paper taped to a soda straw actually fly pretty well. This is a pretty simple activity that you have to try just to see how well it really works! Read more

Make a balloon flinker

A balloon flinker is a fun thing to create if you happen to have some birthday party balloons just floating around the house. The idea is to add just enough weight to the balloon to balance out the lifting force of the helium gas in the balloon. Read more

Bubble makers

Here’s a way to make a simple make bubble making device using things around the kitchen. Read more

Ink Marker Chromatography

Are black inks all the same? This experiment will allow you determine what colors are combined to make black ink in some common water based markers. Read more

How to make Oobleck

[dropcap1]O[/dropcap1]obleck is a suspension of cornstarch and water that can behave like a solid or a liquid depending on how much pressure you apply. Try to grab some in your hand and it will form a solid ball in your palm just until you release the pressure, then it will flow out between your fingers. Materials that behave this way are classified as non-Newtonian liquids because their flow properties are not described by a constant viscosity.  The name Oobleck comes from the 1949 children’s book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, by Dr. Seuss. In the story a sticky liquid falls from the sky as a result of the king becoming bored with normal weather. Read more

Film Canister Rockets

Film canister rockets are always pretty amazing considering all that powers them is a little bit of Alka-seltzer and water. The launching time is always a bit unpredictable and that just adds to the fun. Read more

Make a Mentos Fountain

[dropcap1]T[/dropcap1]his is the now classic “mentos fountain” experiment with a little twist … use lifesaver candies. Since Lifesavers have a hole in the middle they are just begging to be strung on a paper clip, held in place with a binder clip and then dropped into a 2 liter bottle of soda! Check out the YouTube video at the bottom where we did this with over 360 bottles of Diet Pepsi and nearly 1,800 mint lifesavers.

What you need:

  • Binder Clip
  • Paper Clip
  • Mint LifeSavers
  • 2 Liter of Diet Soda at room temperature

This experiment should be done outside in an open area because it can get messy!

What to do:

    • Straighten out the paper clip to form a hook.
    • String 5 LifeSavers on the paper clip.
    • Clamp the end of the paper clip in the binder clip.
    • Carefully open the soda bottle without causing too many bubbles.
    • Suspend the LifeSavers in the bottle with the binder clip resting on the rim of the bottle.
    • Pinch open the clip and RUN.

What’s the science?

Soda (Cola or Pop depending on your location) is a liquid that is supersaturated with carbon dioxide gas. This gas will come out of solution if it’s just given a tiny place to start a bubble. These places where bubbles start are called nucleation sites.

Many things can be a nucleation site, a scratch on the inside of a glass, a speck of dust, a rough spot on a piece of candy. Mentos (as well as lifesavers, sweet tarts, etc.) have a lot of rough spots on their surface that allow bubbles to form. Mentos are also heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the bottle so they interact with lots of soda.

Once the bubbles start to form they grow and more gas starts to come out of solution. In a short amount of time there are so many bubbles formed that the pressure builds up and pushes the soda out of the top of the bottle.

In our experiment we created even more pressure by making use of a pre-drilled bottle cap that restricted the flow of liquid out of the bottle. The smaller the hole, the higher and longer the soda will shoot from the bottle.

We used diet cola since it has no sugar and is a bit easier to clean up. You can use whatever cola you have on hand, just be ready to clean it up afterwards.