Celebrate April Fools' Day with Floating Paper Airplanes, Three Cup Monty and the Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide
April Fools’ Day is one of our favorite holidays in the Steve Spangler Science office. Pranks are abundant and no one’s coffee, desk chair, or personal space is safe. The only downside is that April 1st falls on a Sunday this year and we won’t be able to prank our co-workers.
Here are three fun, science-filled pranks you can play on your co-workers, friends, or family.
The Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide
Every year thousands of people are put at risk from exposure to Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). Widely unreported by the media and virtually ignored by government agencies, this silent chemical remains unknown to the majority of people facing possible exposure. This new containment system provides users with an easy but effective way to carefully contain and transport DHMO for proper storage or disposal. Please consult local waste and disposal guidelines for compliance with county and state regulations.
If you are concerned about this dangerous chemical, you can purchase your own Dihydrogen Monoxide Containment Kit from Steve Spangler Science for only $7,950.
If you’re still reading this text… you’re either horrified by the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide… or you realized that you’ve been had. That’s right… punked… it’s a joke! Did it really take you this long to figure out what this chemical compound might be? The name dihydrogen (that’s two hydrogen atoms)monoxide (that’s one oxygen atom) is just another way of saying water – H20.
There is a serious side to this April Fool’s Day prank – it goes to demonstrate the extent of our science illiteracy issues in the U.S. It’s easy to fall victim to this kind of prank when science is considered “hard” or characterized as “something we just don’t get.” We take outrageous claims about a dangerous chemical to heart and treat the threats as fact before even attempting to understand the basic science of dihydrogen monoxide.
Do Not Open Bottle Trick
- Start with a new plastic soda bottle. Clean and dry the bottle and remove the label.
- Use the permanent marker to write” DO NOT OPEN!” in fat letters on the bottom half of the bottle.
- Carefully, use a sharp push pin (thumbtack) to poke tiny holes through the bottle along the lines of all the letters (the letters will help hide the holes).
- Place the bottle in a deep sink or pan and fill it with water. This is the tricky part. Water will leak out of the holes as you’re filling the bottle. Keep the water running as you screw on the cap. Don’t squeeze the bottle or it will start leaking before you’re ready.
- Carefully set the bottle on the kitchen counter (word-side out) where someone can see it as they pass by. Stay close enough to watch what happens. Eventually, someone is bound to ask about the bottle. Play dumb with, “I dunno,” when they ask about it. Let them unscrew the cap and you’ll witness science in action!
Visit the Do Not Open Bottle Trick Experiment for the science behind this prank.
Floating Paper Airplane Trick
We don’t know if the Wright Brothers ever made the attempt, but Steve Spangler has defied the odds to create a hovering airplane. We don’t suggest any passengers (because they wouldn’t fit), but this Floating Paper Plane is a great hands-on science tool for teaching the science behind airplanes, lift and drag, and principles of air.
So… the Floating Paper Plane experiment doesn’t actually work. It’s an April Fool’s Day (or if you happen to be reading this in any other month of the year) hoax. If you want to see how it was actually done, click here.
Water Gel Pranks and Tricks
Steve Spangler Science’s Water Gel is the perfect tool for teaching and learning about hydrogels and superabsorbent polymers. This white powder is able to absorb over 100x its own weight in water and is useful to farmers and ranchers in times of drought. What you may not have known about this amazing polymer, is that it’s the perfect prop for pranksters and magic tricks. We’ve got a sweet prank and two “magic” tricks for you to check out, but we think you’ll be able to come up with your own, too!
Water Gel, the Sugar Substitute
- Start by emptying the sugar from its container. Be sure to put the sugar into another container so that it can be replaced later. The prank is bound to take a turn from funny to tragic if you waste all that sugar.
- Once you have an empty sugar container, fill the container with Water Gel. Try to fill the container to the same level as the sugar you removed. The success of pranks is often in the details.
- Replace the lid of the container (if it has one).
- Sit back and watch as countless victims fall for your epic April Fool’s prank.
You are responsible for ensuring that your victim doesn’t actually drink the Water Gel. Make sure your prank is fun, but not dangerous.
I’m Going to Pour This Water on Your Head!!!
- You’ll need two colored plastic cups.
- Fill one cup with 8 ounces of water and the other cup with one blue scoop of Water Gel.
- Walk up to a coworker, a teacher, a student, or a parent and pour the water from one cup into the cup with the scoop of Water Gel.
- Say something like, “This is for taking the last donut,” or “This is for the ‘B’ I got on that physics test,” and tip the cup over their head.
- Nothing came out!
- Say, “Just kidding. April Fool’s,” and go on your way.