Easy No Sew Big Dipper Pillow – That GLOWS in the dark!

Some of my fondest memories of science as a kid were looking into the night sky with my Mom in search of the Big Dipper and another time trying to spot Halley’s Comet with my granddaddy’s old telescope. So it warms my heart when today my 7 year old daughter tells me that when she grows up she wants to be the first person on Mars. As her mom I cringe a little thinking of the long journey and the dangers of space travel, but I also want to help her reach for the stars. So, I decided we would make an easy no-sew pillow with a Big Dipper design to keep her dreaming big dreams while teaching her about my favorite constellation. You can try it too with your science girls!

I am so honored to write this post for a blogging friend of mine with a similar passion at Go Science Girls. For instructions to make this awesome pillow check out her site here

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, science art Tags: ,
Halley Harper’s Balloon Rocket Race 

In the newly release book, Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire, Halley and her friends need to solve this riddle about Newton’s Laws of Motion to win the challenge! You should try it too!

Blast off into the sky

You’ll see me moving by

Off to the moon into the stars

This law of motion could get you to Mars!

What you need: String, a balloon, a straw (cut in half), tape

How to do it:

Thread the string through the straw. Tie off both ends of the string to a doorknob and a chair. Blow up the balloon and hold the open end shut. Carefully tape the balloon to the straw. Move the balloon to one of the ends of the string. Let go and observe how the air in the balloon pushes the balloon forward.

What’s the science?

The air pressure inside the balloon is balanced when the balloon is closed. When the balloon is opened, the pressure inside the balloon is forced out. The forces are then unbalanced causing the balloon to shoot forward. It is an example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments Tags: ,
A battle of the slime recipes

Let’s be honest, slime is the new fidget spinner. It’s been so popular that making slime has literally impacted Elmer’s glue production! And closer to home, my kids and I can’t pass by an Elmer’s glue bottle or a contact solution display without them singing a slime jingle they’ve heard on TV!

I thought I knew all about slime too. I can’t count how many times I’ve made Gak with Borax and I’ve been super skeptical of making slime with contact solution ever since I heard the nonsense. I was a Borax girl all the way.

Until my curiosity got the best of me and I decided, let’s just do a little contest to see what’s better. I’ll show my kids not to fall for this new fly-by-night contact solution recipe that the commercials where selling them. So I grabbed a bottle of contact solution and a ton of glitter glue and headed home to pull out my years old Borax and set up a little experiment.

Contact Solution Slime: Glime (we had to give it a name!)

I used the Elmer’s glue recipe found here

What you need: 6 oz.Elmer’s glitter glue, Contact solution (containing sodium borate in the ingredients), and baking soda

What you do:

  1. Pour Elmer’s glue in a bowl
  2. Put 1/2 Tbsp baking soda in bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Put 1-1/4 Tbsp of contact solution in bowl and mix
  4. Knead the slime with your hands and add a squirt of contact solution if too sticky

Well that was too easy! And the results were astounding. Check out the stretch on that slime; we stretched it well over 8 feet at one point!

Slime Recipe using Borax: Gak

Ok, my preconceived contact solution ideas were shattered. But who can mess with a classic? So let’s compare by mixing up a bit of Gak with Borax. We’ve done this classic recipe before here and loved it.

But truth be told, when we used glitter glue the results literally fall apart.  Allie said it sounded ‘squelchy’. Gulp. My Borax argument was also falling apart.

So I would recommend when making Borax slime use plain Elmer’s glue.

What you need: Borax, 6 oz. regular Elmer’s glue, food coloring, and warm water.

What you do:

  1. Empty the glue into a large mixing bowl
  2. Fill the empty glue bottle with warm water, swish it around, and pour the glue-water mixture in the mixing bowl
  3. Mix glue and warm water with a spoon
  4. Add food coloring
  5. In a separate cup, mix a teaspoon of Borax with 1/2 cup of warm water
  6. Slowly pour the Borax and water into the glue mixture and stir with a spoon

How did our maroon slime turn out looking like a stretchy organ? Uck. 

So which slime won? 

There was no comparison really. Glime won hands down. Contact solution for the win.

Why Glime over Gak?

  • Gak can stretch but mostly squishes and breaks
  • Glime is glittery goodness that stretches and stretches and stretches……

What’s the science in slime?

Believe it or not, Borax and contact solution are derived from the same boron compound called sodium borate.  This compound is the linking agent that links the glue molecules together.  The linked glue molecules trap the water (in the solution) to make the amazing slime!

As much as I love my Borax, I think I’ll be reaching for contact solution and glitter glue in the future! What is your favorite slime recipe? I’d love to hear your slime making adventures!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments Tags: , , , ,
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: , , ,