3 DIY Science Experiments You Can Do At Ho Ho Home!
The person writing this blog is a massive Christmas nerd. She’s the kind of person who would have the Christmas tree up in October, if there was any chance it would survive until Christmas! But this year there’s been a real lack of pre-Christmas cheer. Thanks to Covid, there’s no wandering through early Christmas markets, no big ‘Christmas Light Switch-Ons’, no promise of large carol services throughout December. And as for our children… do they know it’s Christmas time at all?
So here at Empiribox, we’re here to bring some festive flare to some science lessons! Whether done at home or in the classroom, these easy DIY experiments bring a little bit of magic into your science lessons.
1. Crystallised Snowflakes
This experiment allows you to explain a whole host of scientific principles, ranging from how crystals are formed, to evaporation, to saturation. Plus the results look awesome, and can be hung on the Christmas tree or in the window afterwards. What’s not to love?!
Tray or dish
Ribbon (to turn them into ornaments!)
1. Make your paper snowflake in the classic method. You know the one- cut your piece of paper into a circle, fold repeatedly until it looks like a slice of pizza and then cut shapes out of the edges and unfold to reveal your unique paper snowflake
2. Create your salt-water solution by filling a measuring jug with very hot or boiling water. Gradually add a tablespoon of table salt, stirring it thoroughly each time until full dissolved. Repeat this process until the water is saturated.
3. Place the opened snowflake flat on a tray or dish and pour the water solution over it until it’s just submerged.
Set aside the tray or dish and wait for the water to evaporate, leaving behind your crystallised snowflake!
How does it work?!
Ah, the magic of chemistry! As your salt solution cools and the water evaporates, the sodium and chlorine atoms start to bond together because they’re no longer separated by the water molecules, leaving behind unusual cube-shaped salt crystals.
– Hot liquids are able to suspend solubles in them more easily
– Saturation points in liquids
– Symmetry (good way to integrate maths into your science lessons!)
– Crystal formation
2. Festive Skittles Magic!
A science experiment that’s festive, seems magical AND involves sweets?! What’s not to love! This experiment is super easy and fun to watch as it goes. Depending on the age of the kids you’re teaching, you can keep it simple by using the experiment to discuss water density, or if you want to make it more advanced, you can use it to talk about water stratification (but we’ll get to that later!)
Red and Green Skittles (you know what to do with the rest!)
Christmas Cookie Cutters
1. Ask the children to arrange the skittles around the edge of the plate in any pattern they like
2. For an additional Christmas touch, place a Christmas shaped cookie cutter in the centre of the plate
3. Before pouring the water onto the plate, ask the children to hypothesise what will happen to the Skittles when they get wet
4. Carefully pour water into the centre of the cookie-cutter. The water will spill out from underneath the cookie-cutter. Keep pouring until it just starts to cover the Skittles. Take care not to shake or move the plate once you’ve added the water, or it will disturb the effect.
How does it work?!
As the sugary coating on the outside of the skittles starts to dissolve, the water will take on the colouring and gradually start to be drawn to the centre of the plate towards the cookie-cutter. In what’s called “water stratification”, the density of the water and food colouring across all the Skittles is the same, which means the colours don’t mix (initially, at least)- resulting in perfect stripes towards the centre!
– Water density
– Water stratification
– Dissolving substances in water
– Water saturation
– Developing a hypothesis
3. Christmas ‘snowball’ catapult
This is a great cross-curricular/STEM activity, as it straddles physics, maths and engineering all in one- with a little bit of a creative, festive twist!