Make an easy thaumatrope (for the love of Texas)!

I’ll be completely honest, this is a hard post to write after experiencing Hurricane Harvey up close and personal. I didn’t know when it would feel like the right time to start sharing science experiments with you after such a devastating event that happened in Texas.

The cities that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey were places of my childhood. I was born in Corpus Christi, grew up in Victoria, spent many summers in Rockport and Port O’Conner and have tons and tons of friends and family up and down the Texas coast. Not to mention that downtown Houston was my home for 13 years before I moved north to the Woodlands.

Many of you that read this blog left before the storm only to come back to flooded homes and a future of rebuilding. Some of you stayed only to watch the flood waters rising, prayed that it would stop before it got in your homes, and hoped the tornado alarms wouldn’t wake your sleeping babies. It was scary. It was raw. I love you and I am still praying for each one of you.

I still remember the day that the sun finally came out. My 7 year old drew this picture about 20 minutes before it broke through the clouds here in the Woodlands. I’ve never been so happy to see the sun. (It beat seeing the solar eclipse any day.)

There are many places that are accepting donations for Hurricane Harvey. Please consider donating to the American Red Cross to continue helping the people that desperately need your support.

Many of your kids do not have school starting back up for a few more days. I hope this post will help you bring a little sunshine and science to them. Won’t you consider making this easy unique craft for the love of Texas!?

What you need: 8.5X11″ paper, tape, straw, scissors, crayons, black marker

How to do it:

      • Fold 8.5 X 11″ paper three times
      • Unfold and cut paper in half and cut in half again
      • Fold paper and write “WE” and “TEXAS” with a space in the middle
      • Turn the paper over and draw a heart in the middle of the paper and color
      • Tape a straw in between the folded paper
      • Tape the folded paper to make sure it stays together
      • Twist the straw between your hands and watch the thaumotrope in action!

    What’s the science: A thaumatrope is a type of optical illusion and an early precursor to animation. Assemble one with your kids and see how creative they can be with imagining shapes to fill the blank space. It will inspire their curiosity which of course is what science is all about!

Categories: 5 minute 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: ,
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: ,