DIY Bernoulli Balloons

Summer is more than half way over for us but that doesn’t mean there is an end in sight to the scorching Texas heat.  Check out this week’s weather screenshot and the image the Weather Channel chose underneath Spring, Texas. That’s right, they chose firemen putting out flames because it feels like 106°F outside!

But it gets better, my air-conditioning is now on it’s last leg. And when you live in Texas, the worst possible thing to happen in the summer to your house is losing your air conditioning. Currently, my house hovers around 79°F during the day. Not terrible but definitely not comfortable.

So as we wait for the A/C to be replaced, I found my old college fan to keep the kitchen cool during the day. Having that fan out reminded me how I’ve always wanted to recreate the cool floating balloon display at the Children’s Museum (which by the way has amazing air conditioning!) After finding inspiration here I decided how hard could it be and it turns out the kids LOVED it!

What do you need? small fan – (here is the one similar to mine), 2 to 3 sheets of cardstock, balloons

How you do it:

  1. Form a tube with card stock and tape that has a diameter about the size of the fan face
  2. Tape the tube of card stock to the fan
  3. Blow up balloons, turn the fan on, and place the balloons in the vortex created by the tube.

What is the science?

This is an example of Bernoulli’s Principle. Bernoulli was a mathematician in the 18th century and I’m fairly certain would have loved how excited my kids were to do this experiment.

The reason why the balloons float in mid-air is because the air in the middle of the tube is a lower pressure than the surrounding air. This lower air pressure causes the balloon to want to stay floating in the middle!

We tested to see if the size of the balloon mattered on how it stayed in the vortex. At one point the kids were modifying the vortex and making paper airplanes to test to see if they would fly.

If you give a mom a broken A/C… 

She is going to do find her fan from college. When she finds the fan from college, she’s going to look for balloons.. And chances are when she finds the balloons, she’s going to conduct a science experiment to pass the time in the blazing summer heat…

Have a great weekend and stay cool!

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Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, STEM Tags: , , ,
Hello Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire

Just in time for summer reading, Halley Harper is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle complete with action packed adventure and do it yourself science experiments!

Watch the book trailer below!

This is the first book of a series of children’s chapter books that follow the adventures of 9 year old science whiz Halley Harper.

Science camp is all about learning the laws of motion but someone wants to put the brakes on Camp Eureka for good. Can 9 year old science whiz Halley Harper find the culprit by using her knack of turning ordinary into the extraordinary? Will she find out who is sabotaging the experiments before anyone else gets hurt and camp closes forever?

Get your copy today here for yourself, your friends, and for your kiddos. It’s time for the world meet Halley Harper!

Ge

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, gift guides, he loves science too!, lovely conversations, STEM, Summer Bucket List, thoughts of a girl engineer Tags:
Cotton Ball Science

Are you planning a Vacation Bible School this summer? Have you ever wanted to combine teaching science with teaching religion with your kids?  Then you must check out this book of science activities that illustrate Bible lessons!

I found this gem when I was preparing to give a talk to my church’s moms group. The topic is how to teach your kids about science and God’s creation. And of course I had to plan a talk to include a hands-on experiment!  I think this cotton ball experiment will be perfect to do with a large crowd (and inexpensive!)

So of course I tested it out with my kids and they LOVED it! The object is to see how many cotton balls you can place in a glass of water without it overflowing. The bible verse the book pairs with it is “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20)

Check this out. I just love how her expression changes from skeptical to magical.

What is the science?

Cotton is made of a plant fiber called cellulose. Cellulose under a microscope would look like tiny tubes filled with air. A cotton ball is made up of many tubes of cellulose. A cotton ball itself has a volume that is mostly empty space filled with air. So when you place the cotton ball in the glass it will mostly absorb the water instead of displacing it. Who knew a cotton ball is basically an air ball?

Q: How many cotton balls you can place in a glass of water without it overflowing?

A: We had to stop at 30 because I ran out of cotton balls. How many can you do?

What is the Bible lesson?

The cotton ball is surprising in it’s properties just as God capacity to love us is beyond our imagination.

I hope you enjoy sharing God’s creation with your little scientists!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, lovely conversations Tags: , , ,
Science Music to my Ears 

Several years ago I thought it was so cute when Allie asked to get my husband bells for his birthday. Of course this turned out to be more of a present for her than for him.

Since then we’ve had two more kiddos and the bells have been stashed around the house because it turns out that noise exponentially increases the more kids you have. I’m sure there is a mathematical equation to prove this but I digress..

This afternoon the kids found one of the bells and began bickering over who was going to drive mom crazy with a bell solo. I figured it was the perfect time for a science experiment together while I put the bell away from reaching distance. Little did I know how much the kids would enjoy this experiment making music together.

What you need: 

  • Several glasses
  • Tap water
  • Metal spoon
  • Food coloring (I got the idea to color the water from this post… it really is genius.)
  • Optional: These trays will mitigate messes

How you do it:

  • Fill the water glasses with different levels of water
  • Add food coloring for fun
  • Gently tap the glasses
  • Discuss how the different water level changes the sound

 

Beautiful isn’t it? I think they were surprised too! We ended up taking the bells down and tried matching the bell note to the water glass. Now that was fun.

What’s the science? 

Sound occurs due to vibration. When you tap a spoon on glass, the glass vibrates at a certain frequency.  The lower the water level, the higher vibration frequency causing a high tone. The higher the water level, the lower the tone.

So thanks to science, what could have turned out to be a loud-bell-ringing-sibling-argument instead turned out to be a beautiful science symphony.

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments Tags: ,