February 22nd, 2024

Science Smarts: If you can’t have snow, at least you can still have science

By Patty Rooks on December 30, 2023.

What a winter we have been experiencing – unusually warm temperatures for this time of year for sure. I truly wish there was some snow. I am not sure if there will be any soon, so I have come up with my own way to experience the “magic” of the season. Not to mention, I can still stay warm!

*Remember to ask an adult before doing this experiment.

Materials

– Clear glass jar

– Alka seltzer

– Baby oil

– Water

– Glitter

– White paint

– Blue food colouring

– Measuring spoons

– Measuring cups

– Separate bowl

Procedure

1. Measure one cup (250 mL) of water and pour it into the bowl. Add one tablespoon (15 mL) of white paint and stir well. Set aside for now.

2. Fill the clear glass jar about ¾ full of baby oil.

3. Pour the paint water mixture on top of the baby oil. It Is difficult to tell you how much, use your judgement; you want the jar to be full enough so you can still get the lid on it.

4. Sprinkle some glitter on top of the water mixture.

5. Add several drops of blue food colouring.

6. Observe.

7. Beak the alka seltzer tablet into small pieces. Add a piece to the glass container.

8. Observe. WOW a snowstorm right before your very own eyes! NOTE: do not put the lid on until ALL of the alka seltzer has dissolved.

What is going on?

In this experiment, you have oil and water. These two substances DO NOT mix! You can clearly see the white water/paint mixture separate from the oil.

You may be asking why does this happen? Oil and water molecules are not attracted to each other because oil molecules are non-polar and hydrophobic or ‘water-fearing’.

Oil has a lower density than water, so it always floats on top. The alka seltzer tablet reacts with the water releasing carbon dioxide bubbles.

These bubbles are attracted to the blobs of coloured water allowing them to float back and forth to the surface. Enjoy your snowstorm inside the warmth of your house this holiday season!

We have a few spaces for our Operation Minerva Conference on Jan. 30. This is open to ALL Grade 9 girls that are interested in STEM. It is a day of STEM with mentoring and hands on workshops. Send me an email and I will get you an application – NOTE: space is limited!

Patty Rooks, Senior Scientific Consultant PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community”. Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook. Address: #12 826 11th Street SE, Medicine Hat, AB, T1A 1T7 Phone: 403-527-5365, email: praxis@praxismh.ca.

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