Category Archives: Seasonal Science

Valentines Science – Frozen Baking Soda and Vinegar Hearts

Baking soda and vinegar experiments begin with the classic science fair volcano and end with homemade rockets. It’s not surprising – this reaction creates bubbly, fizzing potions that are fun to create over and over.

Fizzing Baking Soda and Vinegar Valentines Hearts | Sick Science Steve Spangler Science

We decided to put a Valentines twist on the baking soda and vinegar experiment and try it with frozen hearts.

The best part? Even though this experiment stinks from all the vinegar, it’s safe to touch.

Fizzing Baking Soda and Vinegar Valentines Hearts | Sick Science Steve Spangler Science

Materials

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Heart shape bowl, ice forms or cookie sheet molds
  • Spoon
  • Bowl or plate

Fizzing Baking Soda and Vinegar Valentines Hearts | Sick Science Steve Spangler Science

Let’s Try it! 

(Measurements aren’t exact and will depend on size of mold. Proportions are more important)
1. Combine 3/4 vinegar to 1/4 water in heart shaped mold and freeze.
2. Combine 3/4 baking soda to 1/4 water in heart shaped mold and freeze.
3. Place frozen vinegar heart in 3/4 baking soda and 1/4 water solution.
4. Place frozen baking soda heart in pure vinegar bath.

Fizzing Baking Soda and Vinegar Valentines Hearts | Sick Science Steve Spangler Science

We found the frozen baking soda hearts fizzed and reacted much more than the frozen vinegar hearts.

The Science Behind the Reaction

The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) reaction actually occurs in two steps.

First, the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to make sodium acetate and carbonic acid. The carbonic acid is unstable and basically decomposes in a reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. The CO2 gas escapes as bubbles. These bubbles are heavier than air, so they sink or run over the plate edge, versus taking flight.

Some people add dish soap to this reaction to capture the bubbles and help the solution flow. Try adding a squirt or two of dish detergent on top of your heart and see if anything different happens.

Or try different proportions of vinegar, water and baking soda. What are your results?

Fizzing Baking Soda and Vinegar Valentines Hearts | Sick Science Steve Spangler Science

Thanks to Inspiration Laboratories where we found this original idea.

Coolest Yule Log Video Ever! A New Science Twist on an Old Favorite

YouTube recently challenged our Spangler Effect team to create a new twist on an old favorite – come up with a Yule Log video that breaks the mold of the old, outdated looping fire in the fireplace.

By Far The Coolest Yule Log Video Ever | Steve Spangler Science | The Spangler Effect | #NowCasting #YouTubeFireplace

This is not your mama’s yule log video. It’s by far the coolest science yule log video ever.

Steve and his team came up with different techniques to light and reignite the yule log of the future.

So warm up your holidays by casting this YouTube fireplace from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV using Chromecast. The video loops over and over for about 60 minutes so you can put it on and let it play during your holiday celebrations.

If you enjoy our video, please share it with your friends using hashtags #NowCasting and/or #YouTubeFireplace. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Spangler Effect channel so you don’t miss an episode. 

By Far The Coolest Yule Log Video Ever | Steve Spangler Science | The Spangler Effect | #NowCasting #YouTubeFireplace

 

After watching the video (it loops about every 5 minutes) come back and watch our Making of The Spangler Effect Yule Log. In the video, Steve explains the science behind each of the ‘tricks’ and how they made each one.

Here’s a special Behind the Scenes look at how we put together and filmed the Yule Log video.

Christmas Science Craft – Insta-Snow Globe Jar

Are you looking for a quick, easy and unique decoration to brighten up your home or give as a gift?

Make a festive Insta-Snow Globe jar.

Insta-Snow Globe Holiday Decoration | Steve Spangler Science

Materials

  • 4-5 scoops of Insta-Snow powder (depending on the size of your jar)
  • Jar with a lid (a wider, shorter one works best)
  • Miniature decorations
  • Candle or flameless candle (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Water

Insta-Snow Globe Holiday Decoration | Steve Spangler Science

Activity

1. Scoop Insta-Snow powder into a clean jar.

Insta-Snow Globe Holiday Decoration | Steve Spangler Science

2. Add water until Insta-Snow is fluffy but not over-saturated and gelatin-like.

3. Fluff and mix the snow with your hand to mix water and powder completely.

Insta-Snow Globe Holiday Decoration | Steve Spangler Science

4. Decorate by adding miniature trees, people and other holiday decorations.

5. Glue ribbon around lid and place on top of jar.

We used a tiny Santa, tree and snowman from a Christmas village set. Get creative – make people out of baked clay, foam stickers, Legos, Pom Pom people or branches and pine cones from your backyard.

Closing the lid on the jar keeps the snow fresh and wet. You won’t need to re-hydrate it. If you decide to leave the lid off the top, you will want to spritz the Insta-Snow with water every few days to keep it moist.

One more thing, because the Insta-Snow is wet and will keep the jar humid, if you decide to use a flameless candle do not leave it in the jar. Remove it when it’s not in use or the batteries and switch may rust.

We found this originally on All for the Boys and their post Interactive Snowscape. They use sugar for the snow, but we swapped the sugar for our Insta-Snow. Thanks for the great idea!

Christmas Science Craft – Pearl Swirl Reindeers

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

My favorite part of my job as Social Media Manager at Steve Spangler Science is seeing all the amazing experiments and lessons teachers share with us on Twitter. Some of our nation’s best teachers share how they make science come alive in their classrooms.

Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottle Reindeers - A Science Craft for the holidays | Steve Spangler Science

This week, we received a tweet from Zachary Champagne, a district facilitator for the Mathematics Formative Assessment Project at the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He is also a fourth and fifth grade math and science teacher in Jacksonville, Florida.

Zak says one of his favorite things to do is be a guest teacher in his own children’s classrooms.

He explains, “Initially I would schedule time with my son’s teachers for me to come in and do some awesome science (all inspired by Steve and this blog!).”

Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottle Reindeers - A Science Craft for the holidays | Steve Spangler Science

About three years ago, Zak was planning to do a holiday-themed science activity and was brainstorming ideas with his son, Aiden.

Aiden really wanted to do something with Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottles and decided to turn them into reindeers. His dad wasn’t immediately sold on the idea, until Aiden explained, “we can glue eyes on the bottles and use pipe cleaners as antlers.” And that was the beginning of Pearl Swirl reindeers. 

Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottle Reindeers - A Science Craft for the holidays | Steve Spangler Science

They have made the reindeers every year since. This year, Zak made them with his daughter Anna and 36 third grade students at Greenland Pines Elementary. He explains the experience -

I think the highlight of the pearl swirl reindeers is that each child gets to keep their reindeer and take it home.  And it always reminds me of a lesson I learned from Steve years ago…if we can make it to the dinner table then we have won.  I just picture these 36 third graders teaching their parents and siblings over the holidays about how liquids move inside themselves and continue to move after a force has been applied.  It gives me chills.

- Zachary Champagne

Remember that we mentioned our teachers are the best of the best? Here’s a little additional info on Zak. He was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2006 (the Nation’s highest honor for a mathematics or science educator) and was named Duval County’s Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Not too shabby.

Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottle Reindeers - A Science Craft for the holidays | Steve Spangler Science

Materials

Activity

1. Fill each Baby Soda Bottle 3/4 full with water.
2. Add a few drops of food coloring or True Color Tables (won’t stain like food coloring).
3. Mix.
4. Add a few drops of Pearl Swirl and top Baby Soda Bottle with water.
5. Replace cap on BSB and tighten to prevent leaks.
6. Glue eyes, antlers and nose to make the reindeer.
7. Let dry.

Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottle Reindeers - A Science Craft for the holidays | Steve Spangler Science

If you have a fun, new and engaging activity that you use to make science come alive for your own children or in your classroom, share it with us @SteveSpangler or @SpanglerScience or use #MakingScienceFun.

 

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10

Are you looking for some creative, educational and unique things to stick in their stockings this year?

Did you know science comes in all shapes and sizes?

Do what Santa does…give the gift of science. Our top stocking stuffers are tiny in size but big in discovery.

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 | Steve Spangler Science

1. Baby Soda Bottle Test Tube Experiments $3.99 each
These small, durable test tubes are made from soda bottles. Soda bottles begin their lives as small “baby” soda bottles before having hot air expand them into their “adult” size. We use the baby soda bottles as test tubes and include a Steve Spangler classic science experiment. Mix and match and give everyone in the family a different science activity.

  • Insta-Snow Test Tube – Includes 7 grams of Insta-Snow Powder
  • Growing Gator Tube – Includes one large growing gator
  • Rainbow Test Tube – Includes 3 grams each of red, yellow and blue Water Jelly Crystals
  • Test Tube Garden – Includes 10 grams of clear Water Jelly Crystals and corn, pea and sunflowers seeds
  • Energy Bead Test Tube – Includes 15 Energy Beads and enough bracelet cord to make one bracelet
  • Magic Sand Test Tube – Includes 24 grams of Magic Sand in assorted colors (red, yellow and blue)

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Test Tube Experiments $3.99 | Steve Spangler Science

2. More Test Tube Experiments – Just Add Water $3.99 each
Just like the Original Test Tube Experiments, Just Add Water Experiments come in a Baby Soda Bottle. Choose from our popular polymers. Just add water and watch the polymer expand.

  • Spikes Test Tube – Includes 10 polymer Spikes
  • Orbs Test Tube – Includes 15 grams of Orbs polymer in assorted color mixture
  • Water Gel Test Tube – Includes 9 grams of Water Gel powder
  • Jelly Marbles Test Tube – Includes 10 grams of Jelly Marbles polymer
  • Water Cube Test Tube – Includes 10 grams of Water Cube Polymer
  • Insta-Snow Test Tube – Includes 7 grams of Insta-Snow Powder

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 | Polymer Test Tubes $3.99 | Steve Spangler Science

3. Geyser Tube $4.99
Steve Spangler popularized the Diet Coke and MENTOS® experiment years ago when a video of a newscast personality was drenched in soda on live TV went viral on a brand new network called YouTube. The Geyser Tube™ is a loading tube for MENTOS® . Attach it to the top of a soda bottle, pull the pin and stand back! The MENTOS® drop into the bottle and the powerful soda geyser comes shooting out the top with enough pressure to reach an incredible height of 30 feet.

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 | Geyser Tube $4.99 | Steve Spangler Science

4. Energy Stick $7.99
The Energy Stick is the newest tool in experimenting with open and closed circuits. Completely safe to touch and handle, the Energy Stick features electrodes on each end of its 7.5″ long tube. When these electrodes are touched simultaneously, long-lasting LED lights inside the tube flash and the tube makes a noise. Release one or both of the electrodes and the flashing lights and noise stop. Do it over and over again… it works every time!

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Energy Stick $7.99 | Steve Spangler Science

5. Tornado Tube $2.99
Create a tornado in a bottle! This exciting experiment is a hands-on demonstration of “VORTEX ACTION.” Use this experiment to study kinetic and potential energy, as well as the atmospheric conditions needed to create a tornado vortex.

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Tornado Tube $2.99 | Steve Spangler Science

6. Bernoulli Wind Bag $4.99
How many breaths does it take to inflate an 2 meter (8 ft) Windbag? 70 breaths, maybe? Why even try? With a simple science secret you can amaze your students and friends by blowing up your Windbag in one breath! If you don’t believe it, try this amazing science activity! Windbags are so light and strong that even the smallest scientist can demonstrate the amazing properties of air!

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Wind Bags $4.99 | Steve Spangler Science

7. Space Age Crystal Growing Kit $9.99
Some crystals can take hundreds or even thousands of years to be formed, but not the crystals in the Space Age Crystal Growing Kit. In this kit, you will see crystals beginning to form in as little as 12 hours! Using the Space Age Crystal Growing Kit, you’ll have full grown crystals in just a few days. And these aren’t tiny little crystals – they will grow to as big as 4″ in diameter.

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Space Age Crystal Growing Kit $9.99 | Steve Spangler Science

8. Giant Growing Lizard $4.99
It’s the conversation piece in the Spangler Labs… people walk in and say, “Holy Fright! Where did you get that?” This lizard starts out 30 cm (12 in) long and grows to an impressive meter (36 in). We’re not sure just how big he’ll get because he just keeps growing. Of course, you can dry him out and watch him shrink back down over time (just how much time depends on your humid climate).

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Giant Growing Lizard $4.99 | Steve Spangler Science

9. Giant Growing Frog $4.99
You guessed it… this frog grows to an enormous size when you soak it in water. The frog starts out 8 cm (3 in) long and grows to 23 cm (9 in). Remember, it grows in all directions, so this frog is huge. Dry it out (if you’re patient and careful) and watch it return to its original size.

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Giant Growing Frog $4.99 | Steve Spangler Science

 

10. Square Bubble Maker $7.99
Do square bubbles really exist? That’s the question of the day and the answer is yes… if you know the science secret. Square bubbles are easy to make and serve as a great learning tool as students explore the concepts of soap films and surface tension. We’ll provide all the tools you need to build your own “square bubble creator” and even give you the recipe for our favorite bubble solution. Get ready to amaze your friends!

Top 10 Science Stocking Stuffers Under $10 |  Square Bubble Maker $7.99 | Steve Spangler Science