Science Experiments for Kids
Science experiments might seem too hard to do in your own home. You might imagine a laboratory with lots of special equipment. This is not true!
All you need is the scientific method and some simple household items.
Read on to learn more about easy science experiments you can do today.
The scientific method is the backbone of modern science. Scientists use this tool to discover cause and effect. It is composed of the following steps:
1. Ask a question
2. Do background research
3. Create a hypothesis
4. Do the experiment
5. Examine the results (did it prove or disprove the hypothesis?)
6. Report the results
7. Possibly ask another question to build another hypothesis
A hypothesis is the experimenter’s guess about what will happen in the experiment and why. The way you create an experiment depends on what your question and hypothesis are. What is it you actually want to know, and what could you do to find out?
Depending on your method, carrying out an experiment could be over in a matter of seconds or it could take months. Once the experimenter has their result, they need to compare what happened to their hypothesis. Did you get the result you expected? Were there any surprises?
Did you answer your question well enough, or do you need another experiment?
Here are two easy experiments you can try at home.
Take a look at the results of each experiment. Do you have another question to ask? What’s your hypothesis? Would you make up a new experiment after you tried one of these? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Air pressure experiment
Sheet of newspaper
Thin yardstick (about 1/8” thick)
Spread the newspaper out flat on a table. Slide the yardstick under the center crease of the newspaper with less than half of the yardstick extended past the edge of the table. Be sure no one is standing near the covered edge of the yardstick – you don’t want to be smacked in the face! Make sure there is very little air trapped under the newspaper before you do the experiment.
Quickly strike downward on the extended part of the yardstick. If done correctly, the yardstick should snap.
Result: There are miles of atmosphere pressing down on the newspaper. The air pressure holds the newspaper down when the yardstick tries to make it fly up. The thin yardstick snaps because half of it is trapped under the newspaper and air pressure, much as if it were being held down by cement block.
Surface tension experiment
Small dish or cup
Fill the cup or dish with water. Sprinkle pepper on the surface of the water. Notice how the pepper doesn’t move much from where it was originally sprinkled. Now add one drop of liquid soap into the cup. What happens?
Result: The pepper is initially held in place by the surface tension on the water. Surface tension is the result of strong attraction between water molecules. When they gather on the surface, they tend to stick to each other and to other things right on the surface. The pepper stayed put because of the water tension at first.
The drop of soap makes everything slippery, breaking the surface tension. The pepper pulls towards the outside of the cup because the remaining water tension “grabs” the pepper flakes away from the soap in the center.