The Magic Science Bag

magicbag

Doing science with your kids can be a bit like performing magic tricks. I certainly got my kids attention when we attempted this experiment.

What you need: one gallon sized Ziploc bag and a dozen sharp pencils

How to do it:

  • Fill the Ziploc bag about 3/4 full of water
  • Close the bag and poke one sharp pencil at a time through the bag
  • Observe how the plastic bag seals around the pencil
  • See how many pencils you can poke through without making the bag leak!

Check this out

Simple. Easy. Science. Magic!

What is happening:

Ziploc bags are made from a polymer call polyethylene. Polymers consist of many molecules that are stuck together in long repeating chains. Some polymers you  might recognize include rubber, Teflon, polyester, and Kevlar! Polymers can be stretchy, hard, and even bulletproof!

This experiment demonstrates how polyethylene can be broken and will come back together to form a seal around the pencil. Science magic at it’s finest!

There are two great things that happen after you do this experiment.

#1. What’s more fun than poking pencils through a bag of water? Taking out the pencils poked through a bag of water. Try it, you’ll like it.

#2. After this experiment Allie’s skipped away looking for her own experiment to do. That is because when you introduce a little bit of science into your kids life they will “magically” look for more science to do.

How many pencils can you poke in a gallon size bag of water before it leaks? We tried 10 but I bet you can do more!

And for extra credit, how many times do I say “fun” in the video? Leave the answer below in the comments!

Categories: 5 minute experiments, how to videos, STEM Tags: , , , ,
Snowman Chemistry!

Snowman collageAllie had her preschool Christmas party this week and her teacher asked if I could do a science experiment.  I was so excited that I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration! I wanted to find something that wasn’t messy, didn’t require complicated ingredients, and most importantly had an amazing WOW factor. (Come on, I’m trying to make science look cool to preschoolers!)

I found the perfect non-complicated, low mess experiment here. It is a variation of the ol’ volcano eruption experiment using baking soda and vinegar. But this time it is Snowman chemistry!

Before I was going to take my show on the road, I wanted to try it out with Allie.

The experiment calls for vinegar, baking soda, blue food coloring, glitter, and some colored foam.  (I did not have a dropper so I used Andrew’s clean nose bulb syringe!)

Plan: First, I mixed about 2 cups of baking soda with water. I put enough water to make the mixture packable like snow. I added a bit of glitter to this mixture.  Then, I packed the mixture in a small plastic cup and placed it in the freezer for a few hours.  Once frozen, I dumped the frozen baking soda in a Tupperware bowl and added foam eyes and nose on top. Last, I poured vinegar in a separate cup, added some blue food coloring for a pretty effect, and squeezed some in the bulb syringe.

Doesn’t the snowman look like he doesn’t know what’s going to hit him?

snoooo

Here is our test run on Snowman Chemistry. Listen for Andrew – he is almost making the sound for the snowman, “No, No, NOOOOOO!!!”

What happened? That brave little baking soda snowman neutralized vinegar, an acid!  Baking soda is a base (sodium bicarbonate) and when mixed with vinegar creates carbon dioxide for that lovely fizzy effect!  Allie thought the fizzing and glitter was very cool.

When we did this for her Christmas party it was a hit — the kids even shouted that “fizz makes you burp!” and “we use vinegar to dye our Easter eggs!”.  After the experiment the look of wonder in their eyes was priceless!

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Follow up thoughts:  So, as you eat all the rich Christmas party food and reach for a Tums (like I did) think of this neat little experiment.  Tums is another base (calcium carbonate) and it will neutralize that sour stomach acid so you can get back on your merry way!  Have fun trying Snowman chemistry. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s science!

Update: 1/20/17

Now that Andrew is in preschool he loves when I come to do science with his class.  I typically bring an experiment that each child can touch or do (many of them involving carbon dioxide) and then read them a science-related book.

I just love this shot of rows and rows of little snowmen waiting to be “melted” by a bunch of three year olds! Aren’t they cute?


The kids had so much fun discussing snow, ice, shapes in a snowman, and what happens to snow when it gets warm. (Yes, Olaf came up several times!)

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments Tags: , , , ,