Category: Unplugged Project

Fireworks in a Dish

By , March 6, 2011 4:35 pm

If you have milk, food coloring and dish washing soap on hand…

you can have impressive rainy-day science fun!

Pour some milk into a plate:

Wait a minute for any motion in the milk to settle down, then add four drops of different colors of food coloring.  Place the drops next to each other near the center of the plate.

 

Wait a minute or so until the colors get a bit blotchy-looking:

 

Take a clean cotton swab and gently place it on the colors.  What do you think will happen?

(SPOILER ALERT:  Absolutely nothing.)

Now put a drop of dish soap onto the other, clean and dry end of your swab.

What will happen when you put the soapy swab gently onto the colors?  Look!

It even continues impressively swirling and churning after you have lifted the swab out of the milk!

Try putting your swab in different areas of the plate to see what new patterns form.

NOTE:  It is very important not to stir, just hold your swab still in the milk.

Make sure you have plenty of milk and food coloring on hand for this because your kids won’t want to do it just one time.  This kept my 5 year-old entertained for at least an hour!

Many thanks to Steve Spangler’s Science Experiments for this really fun idea! Steve Spangler has a good explanation of the science behind this colorful display. You can read it here.

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This is my contribution to this month’s Unplugged Project theme of soap.  Can you come up with a soap-themed project?  If so, please join in and add a link or comment to the original project post.  You can read more about the Unplugged Project here!

“Soap” – March Monthly Unplugged Project

By , March 1, 2011 10:18 am

The theme for March’s Unplugged Project will be (…drumroll please…):

Soap

As long as there is some arguable connection to soap, you are good to go!  Be creative, have fun, please join us.

Please share your project either via a link to your blog post, or, if you are blogless, describe your project in a blog comment.  The more projects we have to share, the more fun it is.

For more information on what The Unplugged Project is, I invite you to read-up on it here.

 

 

Magazine Page Valentine Pockets (“Page” Unplugged Project)

By , February 10, 2011 12:20 pm

Recycle your magazine pages into colorful valentines with this fun and very easy project!

At this time of year, there are lots of interesting pink, red, and valentines-themed pages in magazines.  First choose a pretty page and tear it out.

You’ll need a square section of the page for this, so fold up a corner of the magazine and cut around it.

Unfold and you have a square.

I used these origami heart instructions to make my hearts:  Origami Heart Instructions.  (Note, be exact with all your folds and your heart will turn out better.)

First fold the square precisely along the diagonal and press the fold with your fingernail to make a sharp crease. Unfold and refold along the other diagonal.  Trim any excess edges if necessary to get a perfect square.

Lie the square flat with the unwanted side facing up. There will be an “X” of creases on the square.

Fold the top corner down so the tip touches the intersection of the “X.”

Fold the bottom corner up until the tip touches the top edge of the page.

Next fold each side of your paper in so that the edge meets flush with the fold.

You should now see the heart start to form.  Flip it over so the “bad” side is facing up.

Finish off the heart by folding the side points in until they are halfway to the visible crease.

Then fold the top points down until the tips touch the top of the “good” side.

Turn over and you have a heart!

The hearts look best if you squash them flat overnight with a heavy book.  You can use them as decorations or as surprise pockets for love notes or messages, candy hearts, glitter, flower petals…

If you want to fill them with anything that could spill out, just tape together the two heart front flaps using a small piece of scotch tape applied to the inside of the pocket (so it won’t show).

By the way, this really is easy folding.  My 5 year-old learned it quickly and became obsessed with making hearts for her classmates out of origami paper squares. Here is a funky photo of her at work just ignore the dirty, inky hands :-) …

She made these all by herself!

[NOTE: If I confused you, be sure to go to the great description and photo-tutorial here at Origami-Instructions.com!]

Have you come up with a page-themed Unplugged Project this month?  If so, feel free to share it.  For more on how the Unplugged Project works, please read more here.

“Page” – February’s Monthly Unplugged Project

By , February 1, 2011 11:01 am

Wow, it is February already and time for a new Monthly Unplugged Project theme!  The theme for February will be:

Page

For more information on how to join in with the Unplugged Project, you can read up on it here.  You have until March 1st to post a link to your project (or a description of your project in the comments for non-bloggers).

I have also recently added a list of all past Unplugged Project themes with links to each post.  Check it out if you want a little inspiration in your life.

I hope many of you will join in this month!

(Please only link to “page”-related projects. In an effort to keep this a useful resource, I will have to remove unrelated links, no matter how nice your website.)

Invisible Ink Messages (“Messages” Unplugged Project)

By , January 23, 2011 4:00 pm

All spies love invisible ink.  In honor of this month’s Unplugged Project theme of messages here are two simple methods for making secret, invisible ink messages out of ordinary ingredients.

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LEMON JUICE:

Either squeeze a lemon or be lazy like me and use that store bought lemon juice that comes in the little plastic lemon!  Put the juice in a small dish and use a cotton swab to write your secret message.

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BAKING SODA & WATER:

Mix together equal parts baking soda and water in a small bowl.  Again, use a cotton swab to create your message.

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Once the messages are completely dry and can no longer be seen on the paper, hold the paper over a heat source and the message will magically be revealed to guaranteed “oohs and aahs!”  (Obviously an adult should complete this step, especially with young children, so as to avoid burns and flaming paper.)

By the way, we found that the baking soda produced a slightly darker result than the lemon juice.

NOTE:

For those whose children channel James Bond rather than Martha Stewart, a high-tech invisible ink spy pen complete with built-in ultraviolet decoding light might be just the ticket. My son found this one in his Christmas stocking:

LINKS – More about invisible ink:
The Naked Scientist – Secret Messages-What Makes an Invisible Ink?
Kidzworld-How Invisible Ink Works
Science Project Ideas – Invisible Ink (this site has some other interesting methods too)

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