Posts Tagged ‘Experiments’

Those of us facing another Canadian Winter know that if you leave white glue out to freeze (i.e. packed in the car during the workday ready for that night’s Brownie meeting), you end up with a gloppy mess that does not resemble glue in any way.

We have discovered that CLEAR GLUE doesn’t change consistency when frozen. I’m not sure if it won’t freeze at all, but it is perfectly useable after being frozen. Further hint… If your kids are looking for a science fair experiment for school, this might work (and I’d love to know the result). And do people from warmer climates have similar issues with storing glue in a hot car?

Finding glue that can be frozen is a big deal for a Canadian Brown Owl that often has Brownie supplies in her car.

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Tonight’s meeting is a repeat of one of the first non-Key to Brownies meetings I ever planned (nine years ago!).  That original meeting was after an area training day where I took a class on how to teach STEM.  The trainer stressed that we should just let the girls get messy and that they’ll learn better if you let them try it for themselves.

Science night works best with stations to circulate through.

Science night works best with stations to circulate through.

But be prepared too:

  • Ask girls to wear play clothes that they don’t mind getting messy.
  • Tarp the heck out of the place: We’ve got lots of painter’s tarps (Walmart sells a three-pack for less than $4 and I have about 10 of those).
  • Have everything prepped and tested in advance.  My plan here has stations – make sure each station leader knows what’s going on (and why the chemical reaction or whatever it is, is happening).  Everyone needs to know how to explain what they’re explaining so that they can have the confidence of an expert. Try to do your experiment at least once before you talk the girls through it (it shouldn’t be a complete learning experience for the leader too).
  • Have lots of garbage bags on hand.  And camp wash bins.  This stuff is messy and you won’t have time between sessions to tidy.
  • My plan uses a lot of pop/water bottles.  If you go this route, line up your bottles in advance by asking families to save theirs.  Or raid the recycle bin at work.

The Plan:

6:15 – Guiders set up your stations and ask any last minute questions

6:30 – Arrival Game H2O Tag from the Brownie Leader book

6:40 – Brownie Circles

6:50 – Brownie Circle Time

7:00 – Program.  (10 minutes per station with a bit of travel time built in…)  Split into three or four groups for experiment stations.  We like smaller groups per session and have enough for 4 stations to run.

Instructions:  Everyone will have an opportunity to do each of the four stations (each leader ran the same program four times).  When you arrive at a table, Pause (without touching), Observe (what do you think will happen?), Listen to instructions, Do the activity, Observe what happened.

7:05 Station 1 – Non Newtonian Fluid Demo (Cornstarch and Water). The link has an excellent explanation.  Or call it Ooblek (this site has a good explanation too).

  • You need: A water supply (I had a Nalgene water bottle and we parked our table near a water fountain), water cups, disposable cereal bowls (cleanup is not possible between stations so it is nice to be able to dump the lot in the garbage, but you could get plastic cereal bowls and wash them at the end if you have the facilities), and cornstarch.

7:15 Station 2 – Baking Soda Balloon Demo (watch the video…especially the boy’s face at about the 2:30 mark as the reaction happens… everyone’s face did that!  Everyone’s!)

  • You need: Vinegar, baking soda, plastic bottles, balloons, funnels, measuring spoons.  We pre-loaded the baking soda in the balloons (wouldn’t that be funny to explain to police if I got pulled over?).
  • What’s happening: The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid which is very unstable, it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates all the fizzing as it escapes the solution.

7:25 Station 3 – Layers and Density. There are a couple of different methods.

  • This one is cool (but expensive with honey as one of the ingredients).  Shows different densities and different buoyancies at the same time.
  • Density Tower – Very pretty (Video)

7:35 Station 4 – Dancing Raisins to show Buoyancy.  This one isn’t as dramatic as the others, but it is still fun (the raisins go up and down with the bubbles).


7:45 Cleanup and a chat about Badges and how to earn them.  Then campfire (we sang The Littlest Worm – you know, with the soda fizz??)

7:55 – Close

It was a really super meeting.  Good Job Owls!

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I just found www.sciencebob.com and, in particular, this post about a Ketchup Experiment that could be useful the next time we do STEM.  Cool!

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STEM Caboosh night

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) is all about science.

One of my favourites is the Experiment night!

This is a great resource for stuff to do.  A Lemon Squeezy Home (I found it through the Craftzine Blog).

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