Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Halloween III

I love sour flavors. My daughter is right there with me so it was difficult for her to part with sour candy. But part with it she did. We gathered all the sour candy including funny sour french fries. We added a quarter cup of water to each candy and let them sit long enough to dissolve. Only Nerds really dissolved, everything else just started to melt. We predicted the sour patch kids would be the most acidic candy since it tasted the most sour.

Then we added 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. The more acidic the candy, the greater the fizzing will be. The  smarties gave a nice fizz. It didn't last very long though.
Nerds fizzed a lot and for a very long time.
The french fries fizzed a lot at first but not for long.
The sour grape was a dud. It barely fizzed at all.
The sour patch kids fizzed well and for a long time.
The super sour jaw breaker fizzed a lot but didn't hold it's fizz. Once the outside coating was dissolved, it pretty much stopped fizzing.

In the end, our prediction was not correct. Nerds fizzed the longest and the most. We all talked about why this might be and decided that it was because they were also the smallest candy and was the only one to really dissolve in the water. Next time, we could crush them all or cut them up so they dissolved in the water.

Guess what we are doing next year!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

I love this idea - a day set aside in this crazy shopping, buying, and spending season to remember to give.

If you can today, give to your favorite charity. And if you can't give money, give time.

If you aren't sure what charity to support,  I would be delighted to recommend the Friends of the Millbury Public Library, sponsors of Messy Fingers. You can support them in a number of ways.

1. Give money - they are an IRS designated 501(c) 3 organization. Find them at the library.

2. Give books - recycle your already read books to the Friends for their seasonal book sale. They will be selling seasonal books this weekend at the Chain of Lights in Millbury. The shelves are quite bare at the moment - so clear some space on your book shelves and donate books.

3. Give time - volunteer to be a part of the Friends of the Millbury Public Library. Dues are inexpensive and time commitments are modest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Float and Sink Halloween Style II

Testing the floating and sinking of candy is a fun way to play with candy.  Your dentist would totally approve.

At the top of the picture you can see all the wrappers from the candy in the tray. We used starburst (strawberry), snickers, butterfingers, a mini jawbreaker and 3musketeers. The 3Musketeers is the only candy that floated (lower left corner).

We ended up trying all kinds of candy and crowding the pan. Eventually the water turned brown with the dissolving chocolate and candy coatings. In the end only 3Musketeers floated.

Science Moment: If you break apart a 3Musketeers bar you will see that it is whipped and frothy inside. The air bubbles help to create buoyancy. The candy is positively buoyant - it is less dense than the amount of water it displaced. Here is a nice blog written for older kids with some experiments on buoyancy.

Next we thought we'd test an urban legend  We had heard legend that the "s" on skittles floated so we tried both skittles and M&Ms to see if the letters floated off.  The yellow and blue are M&Ms and the red and green are skittles. The candy coating melts off quickly.
And the "s" really does come off of skittles and float. 

And so does the "m" on an M&M!

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the other ways we played with candy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thunder and Lightning!

We explored weather at the library in the latest Messy Fingers program and I thought I would share some of the things we did so you can join us!  All of these are fun, easy activities to introduce weather to your preschooler.

Rain - We put boiling water into a glass jar and then a plate on top. This made a cloud. Then we put ice on the top of the plate and this cooled the cloud and water began to drip down the sides making rain.

Lightning - We tried the old trick of biting wintergreen lifesavers but this time it didn't work. Normally when you bite down hard on anything with sugar it emits light - cool right?  However this light isn't in our visible spectrum, it is ultraviolet. Wintergreen oil changes the frequency of the light making it visible to the human eye. What we found is that most wintergreen flavored candy don't have wintergreen oil or not enough to make the sparks visible.  If anyone has a source for wintergreen life savers in rolls that are not artificially flavored, please let me know.

Thunder - We made our own thunderstorm by rubbing our hands, clapping, stomping and snapping our fingers. This is amazing in a very large group and was a lot of fun in our small group.


Wind - We made classic pinwheels to find the wind. Using 8.5in squares of paper, we folded them twice corner to corner to make an X on the page. The we cut almost to the middle of the paper along the lines we made. Using a hole punch we made one hole on each flap and then threaded the flaps on a push pin. We put the pushpin into nifty color change pencil's erasers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 things to do in a blizzard

One of my favorite MF devotees, C., wants to do somethings in the snow falling here in New England. Because Hurricane Sandy wasn't quite exiting enough, now we have a crazy N'or Easter pummeling us! Rather than whine, let's do some fun science.

Sadly, there is no where near enough snow yet to make a decent snowball but here are a few ideas to bring a little science to this snowstorm.

1. Snowflakes.  Put some black construction paper in the freezer, or just leave it out to get cold. Once it is cold you can catch snowflakes on it and look at them with a magnifier.

2. Tracks. The squirrels and birds are leaving lots of little tracks in the snow. What sorts of stories are they telling?  Can you leave a snow story with just tracks?  How do your tracks change as you run or jump?

3. Ice Cubes. Put out two ice cubes in cups or containers. Put one where you think it will stay frozen and the other where you think it will melt. Let them sit for a period of time, an hour or so. Then check your predictions. Did your predictions (guesses) turn out correct?  What do animals do to keep warm in the winter?  They usually add layers of fat and fir to stay warm and they make some sort of den to retain heat. Can you do that for your ice cube?  Did it help it melt faster?

4. Measure it!  Put out a can or cup with straight sides and wait for it to fill with snow. Using a ruler or stick, mark how full the container is by putting one end of the ruler in the container until it touches the bottom and marking how high up the snow went. Now let the snow melt. How much water was really in the snow?

5. What is in snow? Scoop up some snow and put it in a container to melt. Pour it through a coffee filter and see what was in it. Now try again with the cleanest snow you can find. How clean was the snow really?  Snowflakes usually form around some little tiny piece of dirt so no matter how clean the snow looks, the center has a speck of dirt.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sink and Float - Halloween Style

Tomorrow we are going to start some simple experiments with Halloween candy. We are going to see what floats and what sinks. There are still a few spots open, so call the library if you want to join us.  We will be sinking and floating other things too!

Floating and sinking is a basic experiment and a good place to start.  But don't let me stop you from trying other things such as melting and testing acidity. Here is a link to a list of really cool ways to get started testing candy. In our town since voting is done at a school, they turn it into a teacher work day and a day off for the kids, so I will have my kids home. Do you think they will let me play with their candy?