Fun STEM projects for kids!
Whether you and your crew make it to midnight on December 31st or not, we’ve got some fun experiments for your young scientists to celebrate New Year’s Eve!
Noise makers, poppers, and fireworks are often part of ringing in the new year. Here are great STEAM ideas for kid versions of each!
Ms Carleen can walk you through the steps of each experiment in this video on Facebook: New Year’s Eve Experimentation!
Oil & Water “Fireworks”
- Clear jar or cup
- Small cup
- Food coloring
- Pour water into a jar or cup 3/4 full
- In a separate small cup, drop food coloring into the oil
- Blend food coloring with the oil
- Pour the blended oil and food coloring into the water
- What happens?
Water and oil don’t mix because they are very different on the molecular level. The oil likes to stay with the oil and the water likes to stay with the water. Food coloring is very similar to the water molecules, so they mix very well with the water, but not with the oil.
When the food coloring gets mixed with the oil, it makes little balls of color trying to separate themselves from the oil. When the oil with the food coloring gets dropped into the water, the oil forms a layer at the top of the water since water is more dense than oil. Since the food coloring is more like water, it gets pulled down to the bottom of the oil layer and, as soon as they get close enough to the water, they “shoot” down into the water below.
- Cut any bendy part off of the straw and bite down or flatten the part of the straw that you will put in your mouth about an inch. You can use your teeth, or just squeeze it or use something heavy to flatten just the top part.
- Cut off the two “corners” of the straw where you flattened it creating a point.
- Trim the very tip so that it isn’t so pointy.
- Put the flattened part into your mouth and blow until you get a sound. This may take several tries.
Sound is made by vibration. When we cut the straw to a point, we weaken it enough so that when we put it in our mouths and blow through it, it vibrates making a sound. That sound changes pitch depending on how long it travels along the straw. That’s why the different sized straws make different sounds.
TP Tube Popper
- Toilet paper tube
- Mini pom poms
(alternately: cut up pieces of construction paper/confetti/glitter)
- Tie the end of the balloon
- Cut off the top end of the balloon, opposite of the knot.
- Stretch the open part of the balloon over one end of the toilet paper tube, leaving the knot at the bottom.
- Fill the tube with mini pom poms or anything else you can find. (You can experiment with different materials to see what works best!)
- Pull the knot of the balloon down and release – shooting the pom poms up and out!
Potential energy is energy that CAN do something. This is the energy that YOU are putting into the popper by pulling back on the balloon. The popper isn’t using the energy until you let go of the balloon and send the contents of the popper flying!
When the contents go flying that is called kinetic energy. This is when the energy is actually being used to move an item.
Happy New Year wishes from Carleen and the WMFK team!