Contributor Corey Emmons writes ..
So far I have 35 kids signed up from my church! We had our June meeting last weekend and it was a pretty good turn out. We discussed UV radiation and the importance of sunscreen then made UV color changing bead bracelets. While the kids put them together we discussed ways to protect ourselves from the sun and created 12 experiments to take outside and test.
I put a bag of beads in a pencil box with a dark cover on it so the sun couldn’t get to them. We labeled each box with what we were using to test:
The first set was different strengths of sunscreen. The baggies were long so we covered half of the bag with sunscreen and left the other half dry to see the difference. The kids liked seeing the changes as we went up the scale of SPFs.
1. SPF 4
2. SPF 15
3. SPF 30
4. SPF 50
5. SPF 100
Then we used other items to hypothesize if they would protect us or not
7. Safety glasses (this got them because they were clear but had UV protection so it taught them about UV coatings)
11. Fluorescent light
12. Black light (this one got them too because the beads immediately glowed)
They really enjoyed this experiment. The younger kids more so than the older ones. I’d keep this at Grades 3-4-5
Our second experiment was the Alka Seltzer rockets. This one was a hit with everyone! I used 35mm film canisters and set them up at a square table to test different variables/height ratios using water/number of tablets. They did not want to stop shooting them off…which is why I did this one last :)
As a finale, I had set up 100 rockets with different levels of water in the bottom and the tablet glued to the top. I also glued a small magnet to the outside of the top and set a board with a metal piece glued to it on top of them once they were put together. This allowed me to flip them all at the same time and let the kids enjoy the show. (if you sandwich them between two boards you wouldn’t need the magnets/metal, just flip both boards and remove the top one once flipped) They LOVED it! It was like fireworks. The adults really enjoyed it too. :)
For a take home experiment, I provided each child with a small milk bottle a stick and a clothes pin and instructions on how to make rock candy. I had my sample that had been growing for the week prior to show them what they would be making with their parents. My hopes with this was to keep them engaged between monthly meetings and to try to get the parents involved too. It also teaches them a little patience because it takes about 7-10 days to grow nice and big. Some of the parents are sharing pictures of their crystals growing with me.
That was it for the June class.
I’m working on what to do for the July class now. I have a screened in porch and a huge back yard so I may do the foam plate gliders as one of the experiments. I think I will do the chocolate asphalt as the take-home…and maybe the super ball polymer experiment…I haven’t ironed it out quite yet.