Category Archives: Sick Science! Videos

5 Viral Science Experiments You Didn’t Know We’ve Done Already

The term “viral” has undergone quite the makeover since the end of the 20th century. A word that used to have a connotation on par with “bacterial” has now become something that is sought after.  Going viral entails that something is spreading like proverbial wildfire. There’s viral marketing, viral memes, viral video, and viral photos. There are even viral science experiments.

*cough* Viral: definitely a good thing. *cough*
*cough* Viral: definitely a good thing. *cough*

The problem with things going viral is that, oftentimes, the originator of the content gets lost in the shuffle. Whether it’s from oversight by the sharer or just another detail lost in internet translation.

Here are some instances where Steve Spangler Science got lost in the shuffle. (Note: I’m not saying that we were the first to come up with the experiments. Many of them have been around for years and years.)


 

5. 9 Layer Density Column


You can count 'em. It's all there.
You can count ‘em. It’s all there.

In the last year, we’ve seen the picture above shared more than any other. But did you know that the original experiment only featured 7 layers and no solid objects? It’s true. Our video team decided to take it to another level by adding two additional layers and objects of varying densities. For our money, it’s still the best density demonstration (especially visually) available. Since our 9 Layer Column made it out among the people, you can also find 12 layer columns like this one:  http://youtu.be/4EMUsPJtCoc

Here’s the original video: http://youtu.be/-CDkJuo_LYs


 

4. Mentos Geyser

Secretly powering Old Faithful since 2004.
Secretly powering Old Faithful since 2004.

If you ask someone at the Spangler office what they think is our most famous experiment, they’ll tell you either Insta-Snow® powder, or the Mentos Geyser. The latter has been featured on MythBusters and, more recently, Epic Meal Time (although everyone knows the fruit Mentos don’t work as well, guys). It’s had a couple of viral rounds, but we’re pretty sure it started here.

Here’s the original video: http://youtu.be/rlSMNQ5K51c


 

3. Color Changing Milk

A more "colorful" liquid than is found in the East River.
A more “colorful” liquid than is found in the East River.

The Pinterest fanatics will recognize this one. It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of food coloring, some milk, and dish soap. The newest alteration involves using some Elmer’s glue instead of milk to create a permanent work of art that’s as cool as it is colorful.

Here’s the original video: http://youtu.be/Hr6dZ6aWpF4


 

2. Monster Foam

No monsters were harmed.
No monsters were harmed.

Over the last few years (since the demonstration’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show) we’ve received more calls about this one than any other. Unfortunately, the results are a bit caustic, so we don’t provide the step-by-step process for this one, like we do the others. But it’s still a reaction that is sure to catch some eyes.

Here’s the original video: http://youtu.be/XVLCQYBQPQY


 

1. Instant Freeze

I was going to drink that...
I was going to drink that…

This is the most recent viral experiment that had our team going, “Hey, we’ve done that!” While many variations have come about (including hot ice), Steve has featured it during winter segments on 9News to show people what can happen when they accidentally leave their water bottles in their freezing car overnight.

Here’s the original video: http://youtu.be/sh1Ulhh4pgk

Homemade Juice Bottle Rocket Launcher

All those juice boxes, pouches and bottles hold a little science inside – give them a squeeze, force the air out and shoot the straw at your sister. The only problem is the larger hole around the straw allows the air to leak out and the straw doesn’t travel far.

So grab a few straws, some modeling clay and an empty Kool-Aid juice bottle to make a launcher that will shoot that straw across the room while demonstrating Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

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Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction Sick Science!

After the long holiday weekend, it’s back to work and business as usual. During the break, all of us at The Spangler Labs enjoyed our time off and ate a few too many popsicles to stay cool. With all those popsicle sticks laying around, we had to come up with a science activity.

Want to try this at home? Save your popsicle sticks (we also painted ours for more flare and color) and try out this tension-building activity. Keep in mind that this is a challenging activity. It isn’t easy to hold the popsicle sticks down to keep them from going off. It took us several tries and a lot of hands to get it as long as we did without popping. Start off small with a short chain before going the distance.

Materials

  • Lots and lots (did we mention lots?) of popsicle sticks
  • Tons of patience
  • A friend (optional, but can make the process much easier)

Experiment

  1. Start off with two popsicle sticks. Lay them in an “X” on a flat surface.
  2. Weave the end of a third popsicle stick underneath the end of the popsicle stick on the bottom of the “X.” The rest of the third stick should go over top of the popsicle stick on the top of the “X.” Make sure to keep pressure on the third stick.
  3. Repeat step 2 with a fourth popsicle stick. This time, start underneath the second popsicle stick and weave over the third.
  4. Continue adding popsicle sticks in this fashion until you have a really long chain!
  5. Once you’ve extended the chain to your heart’s content… let go! The popsicles will release in a chain reaction that will have everyone in the area jumping for joy.

Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction Sick Science! Steve Spangler Science

 

Questions to Ask

  • What is the difference between potential and kinetic energy?
  • At what point does the energy change from potential to kinetic?
  • Where is the potential energy stored?

For the complete Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction and the science behind how it works, visit the experiment page.