Science is cool! It’s the study of how our world works, and for elementary students there are limitless possibilities for demonstrating just how unexpectedly the world can function. By 6-8, most kids have been around long enough to have created general assumptions about the world. You drop your cookie into your cup of milk, and it becomes soggy, but it won’t explode. These easy home science experiments takes advantage of your child’s assumptions and demonstrate just how weird and interesting life on Earth really is.
Making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar is so pre-2000. For a much more vigorous reaction, it’s hard to beat adding mentos to pop. This experiment is going to get messy, so you’ll want to take it into the backyard or even your local park. Before you begin, have your child write down their prediction of what will happen. After completing the experiment and recording the results, research together what causes the reaction.
A funnel or test tube large enough to hold several mentos candies
Small piece of cardboard
One pack original mentos (the apple or other fruity flavours don’t seem to perform as well)
2L Diet Soda (diet pop is less sticky when it’s time to clean up)
- Place several of the mentos candies inside your funnel or test tube (10 or 12 candies works well). If using a funnel, be sure that the small end is large enough to allow the mentos to fall through.
- Place a piece of cardboard over the opening on your test tube or over the small end of the funnel. Orient your funnel or test tube so the candies will fall in a rapid stream once the cardboard is removed.
- Open your 2L of diet pop and remove the lid.
- Place your funnel or test tube directly above the opening of your pop bottle.
- When you’re ready, remove the cardboard, allowing the mentos to fall into the pop.
- Observe the reaction!
Project Zero Waste
If you have a little environmentalist or botanist on your hands, this easy experiment, where you regrow some of your food waste at home, can be pretty incredible. Green onion, lettuce, bok choy, celery, potatoes, and cabbage all regrow easily from food scraps. If your student has a favourite vegetable, check to see if it’s one you can regrow! To make the experiment more interesting, you and your student can adjust the variables. How much water does the growing food scrap get? How much light? When do you take the growing plant out of water and plant it in soil?
Exploring Solutes and Solvents
Your elementary student is probably already familiar with how some solids can dissolve into liquids. They’ll know that sugar and salt, for example, both vanish in warm water if you stir long enough. This experiment takes that knowledge to the next step. In this experiment, you’ll combine 12 different combinations of solute and solvent. Have your student write down their hypothesis for each combination.
12 small containers
3 tbsps Sugar
3 tbsps Salt
3 tbsps Egg shell (or 3 whole eggs)
5 cups Water
3 cups Vegetable Oil
2 tbsps vegetable oil dyed with food colouring
4 cups Vinegar
1 tbsp dyed vinegar
Label and Set up your containers as follows:
Container one: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp sugar
Container two: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp salt
Container three: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp egg shell or 1 whole egg
Container four: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp dyed vegetable oil
Container five: 1 cup water, 1 tbsp dyed vinegar
Container six: 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp sugar
Container seven: 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp salt
Container eight: 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp egg shell or 1 whole egg
Container nine: 1 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar
Container ten: 1 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp salt
Container eleven: 1 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp egg shell or 1 whole egg
Container twelve: 1 cup vinegar, 1 tbsp dyed vegetable oil
Leave the containers overnight, then make observations in the morning. Research together why certain things dissolve in one substance but not another.
In today’s world, STEM careers are more important than ever. Your family may consider it vital to establish a healthy curiosity about our world and how it works in each of your students, we’re here to help. Experiments like these can capture the imagination of your student by disrupting their assumptions about how the world works and allowing them to understand why certain things behave as they do.
The Centre for Learning at Home is a fully accredited Alberta School which supports Albertan students who learn online with our teachers or at home with their parents. Education starts at the home, and we’re here to help you give your student the gift of learning. For more home education ideas or to work with one of our dedicated teachers, contact the Centre for Learning at Home today.