What better time than Halloween to try out some spooky science experiments with your troop? Grab your fellow Girl Scouts and try out one of these fun STEM-inspired projects to set the mood for the upcoming holiday.
Flying Ghost Rockets
- Film canisters
- Corn starch
- Black marker
- Alka Seltzer
- Stir stick
- Start by drawing ghost faces on your film canisters – make them as scary as you want!
- Add a bit of corn starch to each film canister, then fill roughly 1/3 of the way with water and stir well.
- Take a piece of Alka Seltzer and break it into 3-4 pieces. Set off one rocket at a time by quickly dropping the pieces in the canister, put the lid on, flip the rocket over, set it down, and stand back.
- Watch your ghost take off! Have the girls experiment with varying amounts of ingredients. Does the ghost fly higher with more or less Alka Seltzer, corn starch, etc.
If you look at the ingredients for Alka-Seltzer, you will find that it contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When you drop the tablet in water, the acid and the baking soda react, which produces the fizz. As the tablet fizzes, it releases carbon dioxide into the film canister. When the pressure from the gas builds up, the lid pops off and the rocket flies!
- 2 bottles of Elmer’s white school glue
- 1 bottle of glow-in-the-dark paint
- Food coloring
- 1/2 cup of liquid starch
- Black light (optional, but will charge the slime brighter than a regular lamp)
- Empty the 2 bottles of glue into a large bowl. Fill the empty bottles with warm water, shake to remove any remaining glue, and pour into the bowl. Mix together well.
- Add 4 tablespoons of glow in the dark paint and a few drops of food coloring to the mixture. Stir until combined.
- Slowly add the ½ cup of liquid starch to the mixture and watch as it begins to thicken.
- Knead the slime with your hands, and “charge” it under a black light to watch it glow.
By mixing glue and starch, you form a polymer. A polymer can act like both a liquid and solid, due to the fact it is made up of long chains of molecules. When the long chains of molecules can flow and slip past each other, the polymer acts like a liquid and will take the shape of the container it’s in. When the molecules stick together in a few spots, the polymer acts like a rubbery solid and can pick it up and mold it. Adding the starch hooked the molecules of glue together, forming the slime polymer.
Glow in the Dark products contain a substance called a phosphor. Phosphors slowly re-emits visible light after being energized. When you “charge” your slime using a strong lamp or the ultraviolet light of a black light, the phosphors become energized and will radiate after the lights are turned off.
Pumpkin Lava Lamp
- Clear plastic bottle or jar
- Vegetable oil
- Orange food coloring
- Alka Seltzer
- Black marker and green pipe cleaners to decorate
- Fill the bottle or jar a quarter full with water, add orange food coloring and mix.
- Fill to the near top with vegetable oil, watch the layers separate and add glitter.
- Draw on a face with a permanent marker and add a pipe cleaner as the stem.
- Drop in half an Alka Seltzer table and watch what happens.
Teach your Girl Scouts about density properties – water and oil will not mix! Because water is a polar molecule, it’s structure means that is has a positive charge one end and a negative charge the other. Water molecules stick together because the positive end of one water molecule is attracted to the negative end of another. Oil molecules are non-polar and are not attracted to water, so the layers separate. Oil rests on top of the water rather than underneath it because it has a different density to water.
As the Alka Seltzer is added, it reacts with the water to form carbon dioxide gas and sodium citrate. The bubbles of carbon dioxide carry the colored water to the top, creating a lava lamp effect.
Interested in more fun activity options? Check out what we have on our GSCCC website!