5 simple science activities you can do with your child today.
If you’re wanting to engage your children in learning at home, there aren’t many better ways to do it than with science. Children are natural scientists – endlessly wondering about the world and how it works; and for them, science is a kind of dynamic, hands-on learning for which they can understand the need. Ask them if they’d rather do a science experiment or practise their times tables (both equally important of course) and I can lay odds that they’ll choose science every time.
And so, as part of British Science Week, My Primary Tutor have curated 5 science activities that are both simple to set up but fun for kids to take part in. We’re giving you the links to how to go about the experiment, and will try to explain a bit of the science behind them!
Bouncy balls are usually made of rubber, but you can use cornflour in this experiment, to make and decorate your ball.
Cornflour is made up of tiny grains of starch. When you add water to them, the grains become suspended in the water. If you then heat it in the microwave, the starch swells in the water, and some of the glucose (sugar) bonds in it break. This causes the starch to release the glucose into a gel. As the mixture cools down, amylase, which is also in the starch, binds together in a molecular mesh that holds the ball together.
This involves loads of shaking, so your arms get a great workout too!
Milk is made up of fats and proteins which are suspended in the liquid – the scientific word is an emulsion. When the milk is shaken, the fat molecules start to clump together, while at the same time trapping tiny bubbles of air between them – whipped cream to you or me.
If you then carry on shaking, the air bubble burst, and the skin around the fat globules bursts, and all the fat particles spill out. As the shaking continues, they start to join together into a solid mass of fat. This solid mass is the butter – the liquid leftover is buttermilk, which is great for loads of cookery, such as pancakes or scones!
Sunlight contains all the colours of the rainbow, and using a glass of water is one of the simplest ways of showing this to children.
Light from the sun is made up of white light – which contains all the colours of the rainbow in approximately equal measure.
When light passes through water, it slows down. Because each colour of light in the white light has a different wavelength, it will slow differently, and bends as it passes through the water. This process is called refraction. Because each colour bends by a slightly different amount, as the light exits the glass you will see the different colours – a rainbow!
This one is a classic! Attach a balloon to a straw and thread the straw onto a line of string – let go of the tail of the balloon and watch is go!
The science behind it is surprisingly simple too. It’s all to do with Newton’s third law – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The action is the air escaping backwards from the balloon – the reaction is the balloon rocketing forwards along the string!
Add any old colour you like to change the flowers’ colour – we found that white chrysanthemums worked best for us – and don’t be shy with the food colouring!
This experiment demonstrates something that all pants do – transpiration. This is the process of drawing water up their stems and into their leaves, where it evaporates. The evaporation causes a drop in pressure which, in turn, allows more water to be sucked up into the plant – a bit like how we suck liquids into a staw.
What are your favourite science experiments to try out at home? We’d love to know!
At My Primary Tutor we’re invested in helping your child to follow their interests and passions. We have a science specialist on the team – if you’d like to know more, get in touch via our Facebook group or email – email@example.com