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: , , ,
The Ultimate Science Summer Bucket List

76 days. That is how long our summer vacation will be in my neck of the woods. It is my hope every summer that we can slow down, relax, reconnect, and rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary.

But I also realize that on the morning of day 7 I’ll be wondering what the heck I’m going to do to entertain my kiddos for the rest of the summer. Then I’ll panic a little.

That is when I’m going to reach for this Ultimate Science Summer Bucket List. I have made this list to help all of us when panic sets in. All you have to say is, “Kids, today we’re going to do science.”

Trust me, they will love:

Trying out a classic experiment:

Having a blast with bubbles:

Enjoying night science:

  • Have a glow stick pool party
  • Go outside at night find the Big Dipper and other constellations
  • Have a night time scavenger hunt with flashlights

Eating food for thought:

Celebrating Fourth of July with science:

Doing science magic tricks:

Making science a game: 

Giving a little science to a friend: 

Reading about science: 

  • Read the Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire series (out June 15) because every kid needs a book about a science hero…

Ok… the last one is a shameless plug, but I am so excited to share the project I’ve been working on over the last year. You’ve been asking for a science book for kids and she’s almost here!  Stay tuned for more updates and information on the first book of this series!

In the meantime, have an amazing summer doing science!

Categories: Summer Bucket List Tags: ,
Make Color Disappear with Science 

Do you need a few ideas on how to combine teaching science and teaching religion for Vacation Bible School? Have you volunteered to teach a religion class and need a bit of inspiration?  I recently gave a presentation to my church mom’s group on how to enhance a children’s bible study using science. You should have seen all of us moms trying out experiments and telling Bible stories. It was a lot of fun. You should also check out this amazing book here for more inspiration.

This one is my absolute favorite and it is so simple to do. All you need are things that you already have in your kitchen.  It is making color disappear to teach that Jesus washes away our sins AND I’m going to let you in on a little trick to give it a great wow factor!

Here’s what you need: 2 clear cups (one labeled “sin” and one labeled with a cross), food coloring, bleach, baking soda, and water

How you do it: 

  • Fill one glass about 3/4 full of water
  • Stir in 1 tsp of baking soda
  • Add food coloring
  • Next pour about 1/4 cup of bleach in the colored water

Check this out:

What is the science?

The oxygen molecules in water (H20) will combine with the oxygen molecules in the bleach (NaClO) causing the food coloring to neutralize and disappear. The trick is by adding baking soda this chemical reaction occurs more quickly making it a perfect demonstration for a group of kids (and moms!)

What is the Bible Lesson?

This is an easy and impressive way to demonstrate 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is the light then we have fellowship with one another and the blood of his son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

I have just loved sharing these science bible activities with you. I think you could turn practically any experiment into a great lesson about our Creator. Enjoy this one! Its so much fun!

Categories: 5 minute experiments 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: , , ,