Pumpkin Powered Robot

Do you struggle with what to do with those cute little pumpkins after Halloween? I guess you could make them into a pie but around my house we like to experiment with them. This fall why not see if a pumpkin can be used to power a robot?

What you need: The Green Science Potato Clock components found here, a DIY robot, a AA battery, and two cute little leftover pumpkins.

How to make the DIY robot: 

  • Wrap two small boxes in aluminum foil. (I used a jello box and an old Alka Seltzer box.)
  • Wrap a cardboard tube with aluminum foil for the neck
  • Glue boxes, tube, and pipe cleaners on to complete the body. Make a face with permanent marker.
  • Hot glue or tape the clock components to the ‘belly’ of the robot

How you do it:  First, test out a AA battery to see if it will power the robot clock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does a battery work?

There are three main parts to a battery: two electrodes (of different metals) and a chemical that separates the electrodes. When a device is connected to the battery a chemical reaction causes the electrons to flow between the two metal electrodes using the chemical as a bridge for the electrons.

(Image Source: Wikipedia found here)

So can a pumpkin be a battery? 

Follow the instructions from the Green Science clock kit but instead of using a potato, try with two pumpkins instead as shown below.

What is the science?

The pumpkin acts as a bridge between the two electrodes just like the chemical between the battery electrodes.  When the electrodes are inserted a pumpkin and connected to the clock it completes the circuit and causes the stored chemical energy in the pumpkin to be converted to electrical energy just like in a battery. Question: Why does it take two pumpkins to power the clock? Answer: You need two pumpkins to be strong enough to power it.

What do you do with your leftover pumpkins?  What other fruits or veggies did you try to power the robot clock?

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, STEM Tags: , , ,
Rock Painting featuring Gutsy Girl Dr. Jennifer Wiseman

This female scientists is featured in one of my favorites book series, Gutsy Girls by Amy Sullivan. I just love how the book makes Dr. Jennifer Wiseman so relatable to our girls who may also love rocks, exploring outdoors, animals, and outer space.

Jennifer went on to pursue her love of science by discovering a comet and teaching children how awesome our God is by studying the wonders of His universe. The best part is she shows us that it’s okay to love science AND God! What a great role model for our girls!

I highly recommend this Gutsy Girls book for your science loving girl’s library. You can buy it here.

The book illustrations are amazing – so much that it inspired our rock painting craft! Check out our favorite page featuring a beautiful picture of outerspace. I just love how Allie is soaking up this picture. 

 

 What you need: rocks, black acrylic paint, Gelly Roll pens found here

 How you do it:

  • Clean and dry the rocks
  • Paint with acrylic black paint and let it dry
  • Use pens to create the art that inspires you!

Whats the science:

One of the five natural sciences is earth science. Exploring and finding rocks are such a great way to explore our earth and ask questions about how the rocks were made, what they are made of, and how they got their shape. My daughter likes nothing more than to smash rocks (with eye protection) to see what it looks like inside. No doubt she’s looking for crystals or geodes!

Enjoy learning about this female scientist and doing a sweet rock painting craft with your gutsy girl!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, lovely conversations, science art, STEM, thoughts of a girl engineer 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: ,