Hello kitchen scientists. Whenever you mix two or more things together, you’re doing science – specifically, chemistry. In the kitchen, chemists are at work every day! Kitchen science is something we can all do, and usually the results are yummy. So, let’s be chemists, and create something new (and yummy) by mixing a few simple things together! Let’s start with some fresh strawberries.
Ordinarily, I talk about how students and young people of all types and sizes adore Insta-Snow and other products and experiments featured here. However, don’t think for even a second that you have to be a child to have fun with science. It’s not just children who are fascinated by Insta-Snow. Polymer science has the power to fascinate grown men and women – sensible adults who are attending a serious conference and sharing business techniques and practices and products and advice, for example. I’ve seen it happen.
The Sick Science Collection is one of our newest and largest additions to Steve Spangler Science. These kits were slowly released each week, beginning in April 2014. When the final kit is released this year, we will have a grand total of 24 new kits! Pretty amazing, right?
If you’re looking for some stupendously fun kits to add to your curriculum this school year, these Sick Science Kits are the kits to purchase! They are great for home schooling parents and teachers alike! The activity guides for these kits are packed with large, full color pictures and easy to read instructions. But, you’ll also get an exclusive link to special videos relating to the experiment where Steve is your teacher! He will explain the science behind the experiment itself, and how some steps on to take it further.
Sadly, the introductory sale price will not be around much longer, so this is the time to scoop them up!
(Spoiler Alert: I’m about to sound like an info-mercial in 3…2…1….)
But wait.. there’s more! The most unbelievable part is that for a limited time you are also able to purchase our complete Sick Science Collection Volume 1 (a compilation of our first 12 Sick Science Kits) for the price of 10! (Twelve, twelve, twelve kits for ten! Ok, I’m done now.)
As if all of this isn’t enough, do you know what else is exclusive to Steve Spangler Science? Teacher Training!
Prefer to get out of the house for educational experiences? Then you should look into Science at Sea! A one of a kind, inspiring, and educations cruise to Alaska for teachers, friends, colleagues, and family. Come set sail with us in June 2015!
Want or need more information about any of the items or workshops listed above? Contact our friendly Customer Service Representatives at (800) 223-9080!
Bio: Joy Gintzler is a jack of all trades. Currently a Customer Service Guru and Blogger for Steve Spangler Science. She mixes cereal without remorse and loves engaging with customers, especially when helping plan events.
There’s a saying in my head that food is the essence of life. And since science is the understanding of life, it only makes sense that when you can involve food in your science demonstrations, projects, and experiments, you most definitely should involve food in your science demonstrations.
Whether you call it kitchen science or delicious science or any number of cute and creative culinary catchphrases, you can’t deny food science ideas have a place in education. So hop aboard this magic cutting board through the marble countertops and linoleum floors of your neighbors’ kitchen (never try this at home, try it at a friend’s home).
5. Homemade Ice Cream
This classic is a huge hit in all kinds of settings. You can find homemade ice cream at barbecues, summer camps, science labs, and during afternoons around the house. Why is homemade ice cream so popular? Simple: it’s way better than any other ice cream you’ve ever tasted.
The first time I made my own ice cream was as a Cub Scout. Whether I was a bruin or dire wolf or feral cat, I can’t remember, but I was after a badge of some sort and making my own ice cream was a surefire way to get that badge. I made the ice cream, but I had no clue as to why I put all of that sidewalk salt in there.
The full scientific answer to why rock salt gets tossed into the homemade ice cream mix is, admittedly, a bit more complicated than my cubby noggin could handle. Still, I didn’t even get that ice made the temperature in the container colder. I just thought it was food magic.
When Should I Use It?
Ice cream is a year-round treat for many, but making it should probably happen during warm weather stints. Making homemade ice cream in cold weather… it just sounds like a poor life choice.
4. Strawberry DNA
Genetics may seem like a field of science that can’t possibly have a hands-on demonstration using food. That kind of thinking might be a result of my initial mistake. I didn’t know that less complex organisms, in relation to humans, also have DNA. For example, I hadn’t a clue that strawberries have DNA. Did you?
Whether you knew or not, there’s a fairly simple demonstration that will walk you through extracting the DNA from a strawberry. Fifteen steps may seem like a book, considering the 4 and 5 step procedures of some activities, but considering you’re extracting the DNA of fruit, it’s fairly simple.
When Should I Use It?
Use it whenever! It’s not like you have to wait for the strawberry to be ripe before killing it, removing it’s DNA, and putting it under a microscope. Heathen.
3. DIY Rock Candy
Rock candy is a county fair tradition. Giant, geometrical crystals of sugar that look like the most delicious creation from Krypton’s version of Willy Wonka’s factory. The looks of rock candy suggest an immaculate amount of craftwork from a sugar artisan. Realistically, it’s probably just a carney named Paul that doesn’t wash his hands.
Luckily for you and other purveyors of geological delicacies, you can make your very own rock candy right at home. It really is as simple as heat, sugar, and more patience than a successful doctor. Seriously, you’ll need at least 5 day for a good-sized rock candy delight. That’s because sedimentation, the act of science that creates the rock candy, isn’t really a process that can be rushed.
When Should I Use It?
Homemade rock candy, although frowned upon by the frumpier home owners’ associations, is one of my favorite party favor ideas. The only thing to keep in mind… it is a lot of sugar.
2. Fruit-Powered Battery
When life hands you lemons, you pick four of them, connect them using alligator clips, and create a fruit-powered voltaic battery. Obviously, lemonade would be a tastier end-game for a bushel (gaggle? flock?) of lemons, but we’d love to see lemonade bring an LED to life like this food science idea. (Fun Fact: lemonade can actually conduct electricity and therefore, at least theoretically, could act as the acidic solution in a voltaic battery.)
The Fruit-Powered Battery will require a lot of people to go out an find the alligator clips, but these miniature jumper cables really are invaluable when it comes to experiments and demonstrations involving electricity and currents. Aside from that, everyone can get some nails and pennies. Just *send me your address (*don’t). I *will send you a ton of each (*won’t).
When Should I Use It?
This project is best suited for units involving circuits and/or chemistry. While the “wow” factor is pretty awesome, younger scientists may struggle getting more out of it than that.
1. GAK You Can Eat
Remember the first time you touched slime? Didn’t a tiny little piece of you want to bite into that ooey-gooey mass dripping through your fingers? I did, and whether that makes me weird or not, someone else obviously has, too. Otherwise, how would we have a recipe for perfectly edible slime? Huh? Answer me that one!
The truth is, this edible slime recipe isn’t the most delicious thing in the world. It is edible in the loosest since of the word. Meaning, that while this slime is edible, digestible, and actually good for you if you’re lacking fiber in your diet, it doesn’t taste very good. That’s why you get to experiment! Try to make your edible slime completely edible! Make it taste good!
When Should I Use It?
Once you’ve perfected your edible slime, making it taste like edible slime should (like unicorn poop, me thinks), it’s perfect for Halloween. I mean… c’mon! Kids eating slime around the most science-filled holiday around? Do it!
You’ve got plenty of food science ideas, now. So… make your lab, home, or classroom a delicious exploration of the world according to science!
Fresh Prince of the Science Fair. Writer for Steve Spangler Science. Dad of 2. Expecting 1 more. Husband. Amateur adventurer.
One of my many “parlor tricks” is to leave a restaurant with the salt shaker balanced on a single grain of salt. My kids just sigh and take it for granted now. It might look like a magic trick, but the the salt shaker balancing act is really a feat of science, plain and simple. The beveled edge of most restaurant salt shakers only needs a tiny flat edge to lean against, and voila: magic.
It’s also really easy to do. Easy, and impressive.
Just pour a small pile of salt onto the table top, or a plate, or any absolutely flat surface. Set the shaker into the salt and press until the shaker is well into the salt. Now, tip it and start trying to balance. There’s no rhyme or reason to this part; you just have to tip and balance until you feel the shaker settle, and then you let go. You’ll know when you can remove your hand. You’ll just. . . . know. Once the shaker is balanced, carefully blow all the rest of the salt pile away. All you really needed was one grain.
This is an activity that can easily become a habit.
Grains of salt are not symmetrical; they’re fairly square-ish but not perfect. They do, however, have several facets, or flat sides, and that’s what your salt shaker will find to lean on.
A salt shaker will balance more easily than will the pepper shaker because the weight of the salt helps with the balance. Pepper is a lot lighter. Oh, it will eventually balance, too, but it’s a lot easier to use the salt shaker.
If the shaker has even a slightly beveled bottom edge, balancing it is easier, but with some practice, you’ll be able to balance almost any kind of container on a grain of salt. Pop cans, glassware, coins, napkin dispensers. . . just be careful. A full or partially full container will balance more easily than will an empty container. You need a little ballast to lean against the salt facet.
My father used to say that he spent a lot of tuition money for me to go to college and learn this trick all on my own in the cafeteria, but quite honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more enjoyment and actual classroom use from the balancing salt shaker demonstration than I got from Intro to Aztec Sociology 216. Not but what all that digging into the human heart with the bare hands wasn’t interesting and informative. . . .I mean, when I saw that heart removal scene in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” I understand exactly what was happening. But I’d still rather share the salt shaker balancing act.
Jane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison for Steve Spangler Science. She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.