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: , , ,
A Happy Scientist Costume

This year my older kids chose a profession for their Halloween costumes; one will be an astronaut and the other a policeman. Of course my youngest is still too young to have an opinion but I thought, “Hey, it may be my one of my last years to get to choose her costume so why not make her a scientist!”

But when I searched for DIY girl scientist costumes this is what I found – mad ones. What is to be mad about on Halloween? Why not make science just a tad bit sunnier? So I tweaked these Michael’s costume instructions to make my littlest scientist a happy one. 


What you need: 

  • Tie dyed t-shirt  (about two times bigger than normal size): I found mine here
  • Pink duct tape
  • A black sharpie marker
  • Safety glasses: These are old ones that we have but you can also buy safety glasses at Walmart or LakeShore Learning.
  • Plastic beaker

How you do it: I followed Michael’s tutorial here for turning a tshirt into a labcoat but substituted the white shirt for a tie-dyed one!  Easy-peasy!

Who says being a scientist means going mad and having crazy hair. Let’s have happy adorable scientists who can experiment AND rock the tie dyed lab coat!

I hope you are having as much fun as we are getting ready for Halloween!

Categories: science art Tags: , ,
Screeching Ghost Balloons 

Is it just me or when stores cleared their back to school items in late August then Halloween decorations were put in their place?  Stores have wanted us to feel like it’s fall but it’s even hard for me to drink a pumpkin spice latte when it’s still 90°F outside.

I do LOVE the fall especially because my youngest has her birthday around Halloween so I always have my eyes peeled for cute party decor and Halloween games with a science twist of course!

I recently saw this experiment on Steve Spangler and thought what a great Halloween science activity! All you have to do is draw a cute little ghost on the balloon and you’ve got a real haunted house sound! And of course my youngest really got the hang of it!

What you need: a white balloon, a black permanent marker, and a hex nut


 What you do:

  1. Place hex nut in balloon
  2. Blow up balloon and tie
  3. Draw a ghostly figure
  4. Twirl the balloon around until the hex nuts spin on the inside

Warning: Depending on the age of the hex nut it could cause the balloon to pop if it nicks the side. Supervise young kiddos when trying this at home.

What’s the science:

This experiment demonstrates centripetal force – the force that keeps the hex nut moving on a circular path. Other examples of centripetal force are satellites when they stay in orbit around the earth or when a hula hoop continues to spin around your body when you hula! The screeching sound is caused by the vibration of the balloon when the hex nut comes in contact with the latex.

For more fun Halloween experiments check out this blog’s header menu labeled ‘Halloween’.  It has my favorite She Loves Science Halloween posts over the years!

I hope you are able to enjoy this experiment with cooler fall temperatures!

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: , , , ,