Free Experiments

  1. Magnetic Attraction

    A wonderfully simple exploratory activity for little scientists that incorporates plenty of scientific thinking.

    You Need

    • A magnet, such as a horseshoe magnet or magnet wand 
    • An assortment of metal and non-metal household items such as: A key, some coins, a food can, a soft drink can, a metal spoon, a wooden spoon, a gold or silver necklace, a paper clip, aluminium foil, a baking tray, a metal toy car, a plastic toy, a small piece of wood, a small glass marble or glass jar, a rubber band, and a cork.
    • Two large bowls or containers, labeled ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.


    What To Do

    • Hand the child the magnet and let them work their way through the samples, sorting t
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  2. Make Your Own Compass

    Turn an ordinary sewing needle into a compass, with the help of a magnet.

    You Need

    • A small bowl (not a metal one)
    • A small piece of cork or foam
    • A sewing needle
    • bar magnet
    • A compass 

    What To Do

    • Place some water in the bowl so the cork/foam can float easily.
    • Hold the needle firmly on the bench with one finger on one end.
    • Take the bar magnet and stroke the needle firmly with the South pole end, all the way from the eye to the tip. Do this at least 50 times, stroking the whole length of the needle in the same direction each time.
    • Push the needle through the middle of the cork/form, then float it gently in the water.
    • Allow the needle t
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  3. Buzzing Balloon

    Buzzing Balloon

    Learning Objectives:

    • To understand that the flower is the reproductive centre of the plant.
    • To identify the key parts of the flower involved in reproduction.

     

    What You Need:

    • A Balloon
    • A Hex Nut or a 50 Cent Piece 

    What to do:

    • Place the hexanut (or 50 cent piece) inside the balloon, inflate it and tie it off.
    • Hold the balloon as shown and move it around in a circular motion by rotating your wrist. The hexanut should spin around the inside of the balloon and create a strange buzzing sound. 

    Why is it so?

    As the hexanut moves around and rubs against the sides of the balloon, it causes the balloon to vibrate, which in turn causes the air both inside and outside the balloon to vibrate. The balloon acts as a ‘resonator’, or natural amplifier, of the sound.

     

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  4. Musical Drinking Straws

    Musical Drinking Straws

    Learning Objectives:

    • To understand that the flower is the reproductive centre of the plant.
    • To identify the key parts of the flower involved in reproduction.

     

    What You Need:

    • Straight drinking straws

    What to do:

    • Press the end of a plastic drinking straw flat and cut two triangular shapes off each side to make a pointy end.
    • Flatten this end some more, then seal your lips around the point, and blow. You will hear a squawky whistle, and the whole straw will vibrate. It's a bit tricky at first, so don't rush or blow too hard.
    Variations
    Once you have mastered the simple whistle, you can try these variations.
    1. As you are blowing, use scissors to progressively cut the end shorter and shorter, and listen to the change in the pitch of the sound.
    2. Cut tiny holes into one
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  5. The Anatomy of a Flower

    The Anatomy of a Flower

    Learning Objectives:

    • To understand that the flower is the reproductive centre of the plant.
    • To identify the key parts of the flower involved in reproduction.

     

    What You Need:

    • A selection of different flowers, particularly those with a ‘classic’ structure, such as hibiscus or lilium.
    • A pair of tweezers
    • A scalpel or another small, sharp blade
    • Any magnification tools, such as a magnifying glass, viewer or microscope will also be helpful.

     

    What to do:

    Use the tweezers (or very gently, your fingers) to remove the petals on one side of the flower.

    Use the diagram below as a guide to identify the following parts on your flower:

    Anther: The parts that produce pollen grains. Each pollen grain contains a male sex cell. There will be more than one anther on the flower.

    Filament: The long strands that att

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  6. STEM Bouyancy

    STEM Bouyancy:

    Book: WHO SANK THE BOAT? Pamela Allen

    Songs: “ROW, ROW, ROW Your Boat” and “A Sailor went to See See See"

    Key Concepts: Buoyancy, Hydrophobic materials, boat construction and mass.

    Bouyancy


    When a boat floats, it settles into the water, pushing the water aside to make room for itself. The force that it is pushing the boat into the water is called gravity. It is a two way pushing match, however. Water pushes back onto the bottom of the boat. This force, called buoyancy holds the boat out of the water. The more water a boat pushes aside, the more force there will be pushing back on the boat and supporting it. This is why a boat’s size and shape makes such a difference in how much of a load it can carry without sinking.

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  7. Marshmellow Challenge

    Marshmallow Challenge:

    STEM Challenges

    Build the highest, free-standing structure from 20 sticks of (uncooked) spaghetti, one metre of string and one metre of masking tape, in just 18 minutes. The tower must be able to support a marshmallow at the top.

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  8. Spaghetti and Marshmallow Tower

    Spaghetti and Marshmallow tower:

    Spaghetti and Marshmallow Tower

    A variation on the Marshmallow Challenge, where this time marshmallows can be used to form part of the structure. Build the highest, free-standing structure possible out of 30 marshmallows and 20 pieces of raw spaghetti. (For extra challenge: The structure must support the weight of a book).

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  9. Bridge Challenge

    Bridge Challenge:

    Bridge Challenge

    Design and build a free-standing bridge that will support as much weight as possible. The bridge must span an opening of 30 cm and must be wide enoguh for a toy car to drive over it. (Materials can vary for this task: Spaghetti could be used again, or plastic straws, balsa wood, string, paddle pop sticks, masking tape, drawing pins, etc.) 

    Extra challenge and extra maths: The bridge must be as light as possible. The bridge with the best ‘strength to weight’ ratio wins.

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  10. Egg Drop Challenge

    Egg Drop Challenge:

    Egg Drop Challenge

    Design a contraption that protects a falling egg (or water balloon) when it is dropped from a set height. Set a limited amount of resources. Resources could be anything recycled.

    Possible contexts could be helmet design, parachutes, landing a rover on Mars.

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