Is Your K-6 Child Struggling with Science?
Searching for an innovative but fun method to maintain your child's attention for science? Luckily, science has the potential to become one of the most involved subjects, depending on how it is taught. If your child is struggling to enjoy science in school, you can try a few fun projects at home to change how they feel about the subject. Cool hands-on activities help to make science more engaging, and it nurtures a lifelong love for science. Try a few of the following experiments at home to spark your child’s scientific interest.
Making Invisible Ink
Kids are always fascinated with invisible ink, but they will love learning about the science behind it when they make their own. For this experiment, you will need:
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp of water
- Cotton swab
This experiment should take place under adult supervision because matches can be dangerous. For the first step, you will combine the water with the lemon juice and mix it together using the cotton swab. After you have finished that step, you will use the damp end of the cotton swab and begin writing your message. Encourage your kids to write any message they want, but be sure they write clearly. This method may be used to write secret message to friends and family. After the message has been written, light a candle and hold the paper a safe distance away from it. The lemon juice will start to turn brown because when it oxidizes, which is the oxidization of a compound.
A Close Up Look at “Water Creatures”
Numerous interesting microorganisms live in water. Take samples from different sources including ponds and near plants in order to show your child these microorganisms up close. Compare it to water from your tap. For this experiment, you will need:
- 1 dropper
- Concave slide
- 1 microscope (it is recommended that you try using microscopes that are easy for kids to use)
- Different samples of water (water near mud is a great sample)
First you will have to set up your microscope at the highest setting. In the second step, you will use a dropper from your sampler to place it on the concave slide. If nothing can be seen, check to see that you are in focus. However, if you still cannot see anything try taking a different sample. Finally, examine the movement of the creatures. Have your child draw them and record their behaviors. Next you will identify them using a book or the Internet. Some of the most common microorganisms include: amoebas, euglenas, protozoa and algae.
Soften Hardshell Eggs
For this experiment, you will need:
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of vinegar
- A clear glass or jar
For the first step, pour the vinegar into the jar and add the egg. Have your child record what they see. For example, are there bubbles rising from the egg? Leave the egg in the vinegar for one day, and after one day, have them remove it from the vinegar and feel it. The eggshell will be soft and squishy because of a chemical reaction between the calcium carbonate in the egg and the acetic acid in the vinegar. The chemical reaction involved the bubbles, which continue to release until all the carbon has been burnt out, which takes approximately one day.
Baking Soda & Vinegar Volcano
While a homemade volcano has become a “go-to” for elementary science fair projects, it is still an exciting experiment to try at home. For this science experiment, you will need:
- Play Doh or clay
- Warm water
- Baking Soda
- Dishwashing soap
- Food coloring
To start, you will fill the bottle using warm water, because it produces a better eruption. Add a squirt of dish soap and a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda. Once you are ready to begin, pour the vinegar with food coloring - it colors the lava - into the bottle. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and vinegar is weak acidic acid, which mix to form carbon dioxide gas that tries to escape the bottle. This uses similar principles to a real volcano.
Make a Cloud at Home
This experiment will require:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Empty plastic bottle that has been washed out
- Bicycle pump
- Cork with a hole in the middle
In the first step, you will pour a little of the rubbing alcohol into the bottle. Next, you will use the bicycle pump to force air into the bottle through the cork. You could have your child hold the cork as you pump the air because this will require two people. You count down from three to one and then let the air go out of the bottle. This creates a nice cloud. How did it work? The water vapor inside the bottle condensed into a cloud, which is what clouds are made from.
Science captivates a child's mind when it is presented correctly. You can get your child psyched about science by creating different experiments and cool reactions that they have never seen before. If you promote a love for science early, you never know, your little scientist may one day decide to become a real scientist. Most importantly, they won’t dread learning about science in school, and will have an increased confidence in the subject.
About Dixie Somers
Dixie is a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters, who are the inspiration for her writing.