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: , , ,
Easy No Sew Big Dipper Pillow – That GLOWS in the dark!

Some of my fondest memories of science as a kid were looking into the night sky with my Mom in search of the Big Dipper and another time trying to spot Halley’s Comet with my granddaddy’s old telescope. So it warms my heart when today my 7 year old daughter tells me that when she grows up she wants to be the first person on Mars. As her mom I cringe a little thinking of the long journey and the dangers of space travel, but I also want to help her reach for the stars. So, I decided we would make an easy no-sew pillow with a Big Dipper design to keep her dreaming big dreams while teaching her about my favorite constellation. You can try it too with your science girls!

I am so honored to write this post for a blogging friend of mine with a similar passion at Go Science Girls. For instructions to make this awesome pillow check out her site here

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, science art 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: , , ,
Empowering with Science: The Cell Respiration Song

One of my resolutions for She Loves Science in 2017 is to showcase girls doing amazing science in their homes, schools, and communities.  I want our daughters to see them  rocking the world with their imaginations, creativity, and especially their amazing knack for science. I have two reasons I want to do this.

  1. Empower her with science: It is my hope that we can show our daughters these girls going ahead of them having amazing fun with science and in turn empower them with their own confidence to take on science and make it their own.
  2. Shining a light: I want to shine a light on all the amazing science that girls are doing in school and at home and show a broader audience that girls love science and science needs their creativity.

The first Empowering with Science feature is very special to me since it is my niece Abbey. You are going to be completely blown away when you hear her creativity with her Cell Respiration Song (to Justin Timberlake no doubt!) I asked her a few questions about her project below. All I can say is… Science on girl.

What was the name of your project?  The Cell Respiration Song

What was the project for? “It was a project for science class and a unit on cell respiration. The project was to choose a way to express cell respiration and photosynthesis.”

What grade are you in? “7th Grade”

What was your inspiration? “I was inspired by doing a similar project a few years ago. This project gave a list of ideas one of which included doing a song. I wrote down a list of my favorite songs and this one caught my attention.”

What would you say to other girls doing science? “Some girls are scared about grades or are embarrassed about putting themselves out there. So don’t worry about what other people think. If they judge you then so what…do what you like and the teachers will love it.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “I want to major in Animal Science and work at animal shelters.”

You have got to share this video with the girls in your life. I hope this will show how much fun and creative science can really be.

Do you know someone that has done an amazing science project at school or within their community? Do you want to find a place to show off her talents to inspire others?  Contact me and she could be the next feature on the Empowering with Science series!

Categories: science art, STEM Tags: