Tag Archives: Sick Science Experiments

The Secret to Releasing the Genie in the Bottle

The Genie in the Bottle experiment is a special effects secret used by the movie industry. It’s not really a secret, it’s science.

**This experiment is not intended to do at home. Your chemistry teacher is a great resource to demonstrate this reaction. The hydrogen peroxide used is 30% and can irritate the eyes and throat.

This experiment uses two compounds – hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide. The hydrogen peroxide is made up of water and oxygen (H2O2). The peroxide decomposes and releases the oxygen molecules as it breaks down. The manganese dioxide (MnO2) is used as a catalyst to tear apart the H2O2 molecules.

The secret to releasing the genie is to hang the manganese dioxide on a string above the hydrogen peroxide in a bottle. When the cork is pulled, the string drops into the liquid and starts the reaction. The reaction is gaseous oxygen propelling tiny water droplets which look like a genie escaping the bottle.

Heat is released during the reaction, making it an example of an exothermic reaction.

Best of Spangler Science 2009

It’s been quite a year for us at Steve Spangler Science… in fact, when the year starts out with 50 off your closest friends helping you wish Ellen DeGeneres a Happy Birthday, you know big things are in store.  Whether we were letting fans ride on the infamous Bed of Nails at NAEYC 2009 or launching trash cans with a police force audience, we can guarantee that 2009 was never boring.  We’ve compiled some of our favorite highlights from the year, so feel free to browse through them and go back with us as we reminisce about our favorite moments from 2009… can you imagine what 2010 has in store?

ellen-birthday-12-30-09Happy Birthday Ellen!

Our 2009 Boot Camp tour kicks off in Oklahoma City, with a great group of teachers.

Our team stormed Toy Fair and set off a few geysers in the process.

Steve Spangler Science Jelly Marbles were featured on the prime-time hit series Numb3rs.

I debuted what would become one of our most requested experiments… Laminar Flow.

The face of our Insta-Snow product, Arianne Heaton, headed to college, years after she was my student at Willow Creek Elementary.

I spoke to an awesome group of teachers at the Junior League of Greater Princeton.

I was honored to have the amazing opportunity to visit Ireland and present a seminar for the Irish Science Teacher’s Association.

My St. Patrick’s Day festivities earned me a (prestigious?) Geek Dad Honor.

We debuted our Experiment of the Week widget for fans and friends to post on their blogs and the downloads haven’t stopped since!

I had the opportunity to let Ellen DeGeneres ride the Bed of Nails on my March appearance on Ellen’s show.

We honored some amazing teachers when we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Month at SteveSpanglerScience.com.

We enlisted an unexpected “audience” when our Flying Trash Can experiments brought the police to our offices.

I am proud to say that we won two Multi-Chanel Merchant awards, including Best Website of the Year.

We received a Guinness World Record and educated over 5,000 students with our first annual Weather and Science Day at Coor’s Field.

We took our teacher training experience to a whole new level with our first-ever Science at Sea program.

In conjunction with Klutz Press, we launched a new book, Boom Splat Kablooey!, and a new depth charge for our Geyser Tube.

I had the chance to spend some time with the Evolution of Dance guy, Judson Laipply, and record one really cool video.

I took on the media hype and helped 9News determine if the “Balloon Boy” balloon could have lifted the weight of a small child.

We launched one of my favorite products at SteveSpanglerScience.com this year… Film Canister Rockets!

After the huge success of the Bed of Nails on the Ellen DeGeneres show, we decided to bring the experience to the teachers at NAEYC 2009.

I had the opportunity to speak to a great group of teachers at the Reach Them to Teach Them conference.

Our Spangler Science team pulled off a surprise assembly for some deserving kids in the community… and taught them how to make “snow.”

My son, Jack, tackled that age-old question, “Is double-dipping your chip as bad as licking the whole bowl?”

We debuted another line of educational toys in conjunction with SONIC restaurants.

Thanksgiving Table Tricks – Egg Drop Inertia

My relatives all know that any time we are gathered around the table is a great time for me to show off my newest table tricks… Thanksgiving is no exception.  But, with something like the Egg Drop it has to be just right, so why not practice with Mark Koebrich on 9News first?  But, when the segment starts out with a broken egg before we even start the experiment, I start to wonder whether this was a good idea or not.  In the end, Mark got the egg in the glass… thanks to Newton’s laws of inertia.  But, the real trick came when I broke out my new trick.  Five glasses of water, five toilet paper rolls, and, yes, five eggs to drop into the glasses… and, it was a success.  The relatives will be so proud.

Check out the video to see a sneak peek of what my Thanksgiving afternoon will look like and read the experiment so you can try it yourself.

Hardware Store Science – Secret Messages with Teflon Tape

It’s true that I find some of my best experiment inspiration in the hardware store. My team often likes to tell the story about spending five hours at Home Depot before a conference in Atlanta… don’t believe everything you hear. This Teflon Tape experiment is one of my favorites because young scientists get to use a pretty common household material to make their own secret messages. Check out the video below, then read the experiment for the whole story.

Mysterious Floating Water Science Experiment

Fill the glass jar with water and cover it with a card. As you turn the whole thing upside down, the audience can hardly contain themselves. The room quiets down as you precariously position the inverted jar and card a few feet above someone’s head. And yes, I love the look of terror on my “helper’s” face when I take the card out from under the jar. Watch the video below and read the experiment for a lesson on how to make some science magic.