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

Science Takes a Summer Vacation – Selfies from the Road

Although our science kits and materials don’t sit on the shelves in our distribution center for long, they are still granted a summer vacation, like all of our human staff members at Steve Spangler Science.

Our science kits are also not exempt from the selfie craze.

Summer Science Selfies - Science Kits from Steve Spangler Science

We gave our science kits a one week summer vacation and let them lose in the world. They traveled from coast to coast and even checked out a little football in South America.

The Larry's Lab Crew Visits Times Square in New York City - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
The Larry’s Lab Crew Visits Times Square in New York City

Our products demonstrated that they can go anywhere and bring learning to everyone. This is road worthy hands-on science!

Saltwater Truck visits the Sand Dunes - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Saltwater Monster Truck visits the Sand Dunes in Colorado

The science kits have returned and are ready to head to your home or school in time for back to school learning.

Growing Creatures visit Washington, DC - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Growing Creatures visit Washington, DC

We want to hear where you like to do science. How did you bring Steve Spangler Science into your summer vacation? Did you make Insta-Snow on the beach in Hawaii? Or grow a lizard in Death Valley? Shoot soda geysers in Millennium Park? We want to see your summer science selfies.

6 Test Tube Experiments in a Rack visits the St. Louis Arch - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
6 Test Tube Experiments in a Rack visits the St. Louis Arch

Share your science selfies on InstagramFacebookTwitter or email them to us. Use #SpanglerSelfie so we don’t miss them.

Magic Sand visits Rio and the World Cup Soccer - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Magic Sand visits Rio and the World Cup Soccer

If you haven’t celebrated summer with science yet, what are you waiting for?  Get colorful, get geyser soaked,  slime it up,  wear growing gators as a mustache or whatever your heart desires.  Just make sure your selfie makes you smile!

The Growing Lizards Visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
The Growing Lizards Visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Send us your selfie by August 1st. Our team of science selfie experts will choose four favorites and notify the winners by Aug. 5th. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with email, phone and address. If they fail to do so in the time frame, another winner will be chosen in their place. Kits will be sent out after Aug. 6th.

Beaker and Instant Snow Day visit Mount Rushmore - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Instant Snow Day and Beaker visit Mount Rushmore

Our favorite four #SpanglerSelfies will win a science kit that you can take wherever you’d like.

Geyser Rocket Car visits the Beach - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Geyser Rocket Car visits the Beach

We also need your vote -

The products have a bet going on whose vacation was the best. What is your favorite #SpanglerSelfie? Is it Magic Sand at the World Cup or Larry’s Lab in Times Square or one of the others? Share it socially or leave us a comment below with your vote. Help us settle the bet and calm down our disputing product line. Those products can get unruly after returning from some down time.

Instant Snow visits the Grand Canyon - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Instant Snow visits the Grand Canyon

 

 

Science and Helping Verbs

I love teaching Einsteinian theory, physics, and non-linear time in my basic writing classes.

non-linear time

 

Oh, it’s called Chapter 10: The Perfect Tenses, but that’s just a cover for what it really is: our language’s ability to describe complicated scientific theories with just a handful of helping verbs.

How wondrous is our language, that with the simple addition of “had” or “have,” “shall” or “will,” we can demonstrate that two things happened in the past, but one was before the other. Or that something began in the past and is still happening. Or that something will be done in the future after something else is done in the future.

I think it’s fascinating that what a scientist must explain with diagrams and long complicated essays and models, any one of us can demonstrate with a helping verb.

Matchbox carsI love the whole concept of ‘time,’ anyway, and for this chapter, I try to remember to take three little Matchbox cars to class with me. I almost always forget, though, and I end up using something else to represent the little cars. Today I used tiny boxes of raisins, and pretended the little maiden on the cover was the driver.

Three cars on the highway, all in different spots, yet close by each other. Each is in a different period of time relative to the other. To the one in the middle, the one in front is in the future because it is where the middle car is going but hasn’t reached yet, and the one in back is in the past because it is where the middle car once was but has passed through.

To the car in back, both the other cars are in the future.

To the car in front, both the other cars are in the past.

To Superman, flying above, all the cars are in the present.

To the hitchhiker standing by the side of the road, each of the cars is in the future as long as they are moving, until which time they whizz past, one at a time, briefly sharing the hitchhiker’s present for a split second before zooming into yet another perspective of the future.

Scientists are still trying to figure out the whole space/time thing.  They haven’t figured out, yet, how to travel to the past or the future.

Writers have known how for years.

Our language makes this complicated concept of time into a relatively simple thing.  A tiny little helping verb can illustrate the past, present, future, and any combination thereof.

Back in the middle school, the students fought for the little cars or whatever substituted for them, after this lesson.

Today, at the college level, I asked if anyone cared to have the tiny boxes of raisins and every hand went up. And because I am ever the cool, level-headed, serious professional, I placed all three little boxes on the floor in the middle of the room and walked out. I heard chaos behind me but it really wasn’t any of my business.

Time. It may not be as linear as you think. I am sometimes more inclined to believe that time is more like a tree, or a spiral, than a flowing river. Yes, a tree that grows upward and at the same time puts out intertwining branches that touch, or don’t touch, or a spiral that coils round and round. . . .

Then again, perhaps I’ve been reading too much Madeleine L’Engle. If there is such a thing as too much Madeleine L’Engle, which there isn’t.

Chapter 10: Non-Linear Time and Its Relation To Tiny Boxes of Einstein, raisinsRaisins Which I Understand Einstein Was Very Fond Of The Perfect Tenses.

It’s the same thing, you know.

Relatively speaking.

 

Jane GoodwinJane 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.

The Fresh Prince of Science Fair

“The Fresh Prince of Science Fair”
(To the tune of Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”)

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 12.17.05 PM

Now these are some lyrics all about when
My board got judged with a pad and a pen.
If you have a few seconds, just hang right there,
I’ll tell you how I got a blue ribbon in the last science fair.

In back of the library, past the stairs,
that’s where my school has our science fairs.
Hypotheses, procedures, results, and conclusions
about weird topics like germs and pollution.

...and bowl cuts...
…and bowl cuts…

But a couple of kids didn’t do what they’re told,
forgot to test their guess with any variables.
All those kids got an “F” and then I got scared,
but I remembered all I learned and that I came prepared.

Poster board feelin’ fresh when the judges came near.
They were quickly impressed and said, “It’s looking so clear.
If there were a science band you’d be sitting first chair,
but for now here’s a ribbon. Good job, at this fair!”

I got back to my house about 3 or 3:30
and I yelled to my mama, “It’s cool to be nerdy!”
She smiled at me and had some ice cream to share.
Life is good, as the Prince of the Fair.

ice-cream
Time to invent a time machine.

© DJ Souza for Steve Spangler Science

Show us your Science Selfie & Win a Science Kit

Gone are the days of searching for a good-willed and trustworthy  passerby to ask to take a photo of you and your friend.  (Which has greatly decreased overall camera theft! )

No more sitting still while your Grandma took your picture. Well, I guess we still have to do that..

Actually, we LOVE this photo, and are so happy this grandma (Diane Gribosky) snapped it!
Actually, we LOVE this photo, and are so happy the kids sat still while this  amazing grandma (Diane Gribosky) snapped it!

Thank you technology, for allowing us to turn the camera face around to our selves and take …YES, you know what I’m talking about… The Selfie.

It seems everywhere you look, someone it taking a Selfie.  If you look over your shoulder, the girl who sits next to you at work is probably taking a selfie right now.

Yup, see…

#OFFICESELFIE
#officeselfie

You find Selfies splashed on Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. They are filling up your Snap Chats, and even being sung about on your radio! Maybe, you even see them on our website?!? (Hint, Hint)

So do you embrace the trend, or run away screaming?

NOT ANOTHER SELFIE

No. Stop that… come back here!  We  want you to embrace the selfie.  Love your selfie.

Why, you ask?  Well, because we’d like to ask a favor.

I see you hesitantly nodding in agreement… you know this will be fun!  Ok, ready for the deets?  Here is what we want you to do:

Grab your favorite Steve Spangler Science experiment.  Did you find the one that makes you smile the biggest? Good! Now, get your trusty smart phone in hand, because…

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR BEST SCIENCE SELFIE!

That’s right! Get colorful, get geyser soaked,  slime it up,  wear growing gators as a mustache or whatever your heart desires.  Just make sure your selfie makes you smile!

Here are some examples:

IMG_47190294276284
Not a selfie!
Selfie!
Yay! Slime Selfie!

 

What do you do with your Science Selfie?  That’s a great question! Send them off to us! Share them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or email them to us. Use #SpanglerSelfie so we don’t miss them.

**Our favorite four selfies will win a science kit from Steve Spangler Science.**

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on Selfies by leaving a comment below!

**Send us your selfie by August 1st. Our team of science selfie experts will choose four favorites and notify the winners by Aug. 5th. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with email, phone and address. If they fail to do so in the time frame, another winner will be chosen in their place. Kits will be sent out after Aug. 6th.