St. Patrick’s Day Science
Liven up the holiday with a little green science!
We never miss an opportunity to teach a little science… even on St. Patrick’s Day. From Leprechaun traps, to green water, to Leprechaun eggs, we know how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Spangler Science offices. Trust us, none of us will ever forget the day the toilet and faucet water turned green. Below are some of our favorite tips and tricks for infusing a little science and a lot of fun into St. Patrick’s Day to get your green juices flowing.
This is not an ordinary science activity but you could certainly call it a human-science activity. You don’t need a lab to get kids to wonder, discover, and explore. It just takes a little creativity and a knack for having some fun with science. What would young kids think if the water from a tap briefly came out green during St. Pat’s? Those pesky leprechauns are at it again!
It’s as simple as adding a little green food coloring to the water, but the effect it has on a white carnation is very cool. Children will be able to see how the water is absorbed into the plant as the petals of the carnation change color.
Since everything else is green on St. Patrick’s Day, why shouldn’t the snow be green, too? With Leprechaun Insta-Snow, it will go from a white powder to a green snow pile in seconds! If you don’t have Leprechaun, snow, use regular Insta Snow powder! Place 20-30 drops of green food coloring in an empty cup and add about one tablespoon (about 10 grams) of dry Insta-Snow powder to the cup. Use a stirring stick to mix the powder and food coloring. The polymer will absorb the green food coloring, but it won’t fluff up. Add a few more tablespoons of the dry, white Insta-Snow powder to the green powder and continue to mix. Keep mixing in the dry Insta-Snow until you get the green color you want. When you’re ready to make green snow, place one teaspoon of dry, green Insta-Snow into a clean cup and add about 2 ounces (60 mL) of water. The erupting green snow will be a huge hit!
This is just one example of a simple Leprechaun trap that might spark a new idea for a trap of your own! This is where the art of S-T-E-A-M comes into play. Get creative! Consider other types of bait that might work, or other means to trap them!
At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold, right? How about a bag of white beads that change to green in the sunlight? If you have the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, the Leprechauns may leave some Blarney Beads for extra good luck. String the beads on a pipe cleaner and make a Blarney Bead Bracelet.
The beads are Color Changing UV beads (also known as Energy Beads). While you’re indoors, the beads remain white, but when you step outside into the sunlight the beads will change color. The beads contain a special UV sensitive pigment that changes color when it’s exposed to sunlight. The beads will change back to their original white color when you come back indoors. Use your creativity to weave a magical Irish legend that explains the power of the beads.
When times are tough, even Leprechauns feel the pinch. What if that pot of gold was actually a handful of pennies? Not to worry… here’s a way to make gold pennies. (This is a chemistry activity that requires strong adult supervision and some chemical know-how.)
Ever seen a Leprechaun egg? Neither have we… but if they laid eggs, they might be magical in their ability to vanish! You’ll need some of our Jelly Marbles and some green food coloring. Jelly Marbles start out looking like BBs but grow to the size of big marbles when you add water. Place a teaspoon of Jelly Marbles into a bowl of water (1-2 liters) dyed with green food coloring. Allow them to soak for at least 3 hours – overnight is even better. Once your Jelly Marbles have been in the water long enough they will have grown to an astonishing new size! And… they might look just like the kind of eggs a Leprechaun would lay!
Don’t be surprised if you don’t see the eggs in the bowl of water. They’re hiding right below the surface. Reach into the water and find them (and the kids will go nuts!). Take out a handful of Leprechaun eggs and drop them back into the green water to watch them vanish again. It’s the science of refraction… but just enjoy the fun of it today.
Hold the Leprechaun Detector tightly in your hand. If it starts to bubble, there must be a Leprechaun nearby! Hand Boilers are a classic science toy that lend nicely to a little science magic. The body heat added to the bulb increases the temperature of the liquid and air inside, making it boil!