Scientific Test Tube Valentines
Here are some ideas to up your game and include science activities with your Valentine's Day cards.
It’s time to share a little science along with your heartfelt sentiments this Valentine’s Day. You’ll give a thoughtful, creative, and very unique Valentine to everyone on your list this year. It’s one that your friends will remember and learn from long after the party is over, too. You’re combining your love of science with your… uh, well, with your appreciation of someone at the same time.
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- Baby Soda Bottles (durable, plastic test tubes with caps)
- Color Fizzers - True Color Tablets
- Printed activity instructions
- Colorful ribbon, Decorative paper, Hole punch
- Adult supervision
You need enough Baby Soda Bottles for everyone on your Valentine’s Day card list.
For some activity ideas, check out the suggestions found in What is a Baby Soda Bottle? Choose a simple activity and print the instructions for how to do it. You might want to use one activity for all your cards or have a variety of activities.
For example, say you choose the Wave Bottle activity which is #4 on the “What Is a Baby Soda Bottle?” page. The directions for #4 suggest using food coloring and that’s fine. For an added science experience, however, you’ll want to include two True Color Mixing Tablets along with the printed directions inside the test tube with the cap screwed in place. Or you could even opt to fill the tube with the oil ahead of time, and then they can make the “lava lamp” tubes right in the classroom! Just put the instructions on your Valentine!
Also, it’s important that you clearly label the test tube and its contents as things NOT to be eaten! Your Valentine’s Day card has no candy with it at all. The science materials are safe for anyone to handle but not to eat.
Punch a hole in your Valentine’s Day card. Use the hole and the ribbon to tie your card to the top of the Baby Soda Bottle.
You can cover the caps with decorative paper for a more festive look since the Baby Soda Bottle caps can be various colors.
You’re all set!
How Does It Work
For the “How Does It Work?” part of your instructions in the BSB, it will once again depend on the lab you choose. For the Wave Bottle you may want to print something like this to go into the BSB.
“Oil and water do not mix. Even if you shake the tube, the oil just breaks up into smaller droplets but it doesn’t really mix with the water. Oil and water don’t mix because of how their molecules are constructed. Water is a polar molecule and vegetable oil is a nonpolar molecule. That means a water molecule doesn’t share electrons equally but an oil molecule does. Polar molecules hang out with other polar molecules and nonpolar molecules go easily to nonpolar molecules. Scientists say that oil and water are immiscible. Food coloring and the coloring tablets mix only with water because they’re both polar molecules which means they’re miscible with water. Vegetable oil is not affected by the coloring (either from tablets or food coloring) because these molecules are polar opposites and are immiscible.”
Add this explanation if you include the tablets: “The coloring tablets react only with the water and makes tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas (CO2). These bubbles attach themselves to blobs of colored water and carry the blobs to the surface. When the bubbles pop, the colored blobs sink back to the bottom of the tube, and the whole thing starts over. When the chemical reaction is used up and the bubbling stops, you’re left with a cool wave tube for your desk. It will remind you that we’re friends.”
Take It Further
As you can see on the “What Is a Baby Soda Bottle?” page, you have a ton of discoveries to make. On top of that, most of what you find there can be moved up to the plastic soda bottle level, too. You’ll find everything from growing plants to color mixing suggested there. That doesn’t include what you can do with superabsorbent polymers, UV beads, or a fortune-telling fish, either. You’ve got some serious science ahead of you!
This needs to be repeated: there can be NO items in the BSBs you give away that involve eating or food. It’s important that you stick to lab safety rules and never eat in your lab space or encourage others to do so. Good science is safe science!