I will be posting DIY science experiments, from 1st to 30th April, Mondays to Saturdays.
As I start the first post in this series today, I am wondering if I can intend my science posts to a specific age group. As a mom, I keep age aside from a child’s interests, thinking, and abilities. I don’t think age should be the sole determining factor to introduce science to kids. To me, it doesn’t matter if a child is 3 or 8. What matters is if the child is excited about setting up or observing experiments, and demonstrates understanding.
And, ‘understanding’ can be as quiet as being engrossed without oral discussions or as eventful as asking a zillion questions. Also, as adults, our ability to follow what’s happening within the child without being judgmental or pushing the child into something we fancy them to learn is a key component of a child’s education. The moral of my short story is that the experiments that will follow in the next 30 days are not targeted to an age group. Said that, at 40, if you want to blow a balloon to experiment on things, don’t think again – do it!
A for Air
As children begin to experience air, they develop their own inferences about this material. Most often, they don’t require an adult to teach them to know that there’s something invisible around us that we can feel when the fan is switched on or when the wind blows. They will also soon reason out that air cannot be simply contained within, say within their palms, among a number of others.
An interesting experiment to add another element of air in their learning is the weight of air. You can be as creative as you can in introducing the concept.
Tips to introduce
- First, you can begin singing a song on air. I mean it! Indian film songs are abundant in it. Some lyrics can be great stimulants for a healthy science discussion. Continue to bring out their perceptions about air and its properties.
- Next, you can ask them if they think air has weight. They might have visualized air as something very light or weightless. Some might have formed the idea that air cannot be contained that makes it not possible to measure the weight of air. Whatever it is, let them try to explain in the vocabulary they are familiar with.
- Tell them you have an idea to experiment it. Write down on a sheet the things you’ll need and direct them to collect it all at one place. Fix a time and place and let them know you’ll meet them there, then.
- When you are at the experiment venue, explain to them what you are going to do without revealing what you are likely to observe.
- Set it up and let them observe what happens. Allow them to explain their inference if it is of their interest. Don’t push or annoyingly try to bring explanations out of them. Most importantly, enjoy if their rationales are not logical or correct. They are still children, and being right is not as important as being interested to observe and have fun with science. And then follow their cues to build on.
Things you’ll need
How do you do it?
1. Tie a thread to the middle of a straw/rod/scale such that when you lift the straw holding the thread, the straw remains horizontally straight (balanced).
2. Blow two balloons equally (approximately) and tie one each to either ends of the straw. Make sure the straw still remains horizontally balanced when you lift the straw by the thread.
3. Paste a small piece of cello tape on to one balloon.
4. Poke a needle/pin through the cello tape into the balloon (be surprised that the balloon wouldn’t pop).
5. Take the needle out.
6. Again lift the straw along with the tied balloons by holding the thread.
7. Observe what happens.
The Science behind
As air begins to leave the balloon that’s poked through, the weight of the balloon decreases. As the weight decreases, the straw tends to lift up on the side that has the lesser weight (the end with the poked balloon), while the other end with the blown-up balloon moves down.
Share your experience
Was it helpful? Was it fun? Was it utter boring? Did it work? Or didn’t? Leave a word in the comment section. I would love to hear!
Here’s the full list of DIY Science Experiments in this series:
A for Air – Does Air has Weight?
B for Buoyancy – Can Egg float on Salt Water?
C for Capillary action – Rainbow Walking
D for Density – 3 Layer Density Experiment
E for Earth & Moon – Why does the Moon change its shape?: Phases of the Moon
F for Fire – Does Fire need Oxygen to Burn?
G for Gravity – Defying Gravity