Week 8: December 8th, 2010

Today was Science-fest day and our last Science Club for Girls session of the semester. Last week, each club picked out their favorite activity of the semester to share with the other club. The third graders decided they would demonstrate their knowledge of chemical reactions to the forth/fifth graders using baking soda and vinegar. The forth/fifth graders decided they would show the third graders surface tension using milk, soap and food coloring. Everybody had a lot of fun and enjoyed interacting with students in the other clubs. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody again next semester!

Week 7: December 1st, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

The third graders had a fabulously messy time making their own ice cream!  We used sugar, milk, whipping cream and vanilla to make our own blend of SCFG ice cream.  Theoretically, an ice and salt mixture would freeze our ice cream mixture, however in practice we ended up with a very cold milkshake.  Even though our experiment wasn't completely successful, it was quite a delicious demonstration of a chemical mixture!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The fourth graders created Cartesian divers.  Each girl made their own using a piece of a drinking straw, some paper clips, a twisty-tie and a full water bottle. After properly constructed, the diver will float or sink depending on how much the full water bottle is squeezed. Cartesian divers may seem magical at first, but we soon discovered that their behavior was based on the principles of buoyancy.

Week 6: November 17th, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

The girls did some really fun activities today while learning the difference between a chemical reaction and a chemical mixture. First, we made playdough, a chemical mixture made using ingredients that you can find at home (flour, salt, oil, vinegar and water). After having some fun with our creations, we set off baking soda and vinegar volcanoes!  The volcanoes are an example of a chemical reaction, to contrast the chemical mixture we made earlier.

4th/5th Grade Group:

Today the girls learned about the relationship between temperature and the volume of a gas. We then used our knowledge to "magically" inflate balloons.  For one experiment, we put hot water into a plastic bottle and shook it around, then we emptied the bottle and placed a balloon over the mouth of the bottle. When we stuck the bottle into a bowl of cold water, the balloon inflated inside of the water bottle! This is because as the air in the bottle gets cooler, it contracts and sucks the balloon into the bottle.

Week 5: November 10th, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

Today we were able to see the results of our crystal gardens that we started last week and further delve into the science of crystallization. After examining the crystal gardens, an example of slow-growth crystals, we began an experiment with fast crystallization. We used dissolved epsom salts and a little glue into boiling water, and then painted this solution onto the sides of glass jars and construction paper.  After the liquid evaporated, each girl was left with a beautiful piece of crystallized art!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The 4th and 5th graders explored the properties of carbon dioxide. First, we learned how to "magically" blow up a balloon using the carbon dioxide produced by a packet of instant yeast. Our second trick of the day was to extinguish a flame by "pouring" carbon dioxide onto a candle.  We mixed baking soda and vinegar together in a cup to produce carbon dioxide. We then carefully tilted the cup over a candle. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, the gas flowed out and extinguished the candle's flame.

Week 4: November 3rd, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

This week the 3rd graders created beautiful crystal gardens! After learning all about what crystals are, the 3rd graders mixed bluing, salt and ammonia together to make their basic crystal solution.  They added food coloring to give their crystals some color and then added a piece of charcoal as a seed for the crystal to begin growing.  The girls are very excited to see what their crystals will look like next week after having a chance to grow!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The 4th graders did a variety of experiment to explored the amazing properties of dry ice.  We learned the concept of "sublimation" and how that is key to many of the abilities of dry ice.  For one experiment, we carefully put a piece of dry ice into a plastic bottle and then added water.  We put a ballon over the mouth of the bottle and watched as the balloon slowly filled up with carbon dioxide released by the dry ice. Next we added soap to the mix, creating soap bubbles filled with dry ice "fog".  Finally, we found that if a penny was pressed against dry ice, it produced a screeching sound!

Week 2: October 13th, 2010

3rd Grade Group
Last week we learned about physical changes, so this week we learned about chemical changes and chemical reactions.  We did two activities with baking soda and vinegar.  For the first activity, we combined baking soda and vinegar to watch their fizzy reaction.  The second activity used purple cabbage juice as an indicator of acids and bases. We added the juice to vinegar and saw by the color of the mixture that vinegar is acidic.  Next we added baking soda and watched as the mixture changed color, indicating that the mixture was now basic.

4th/5th Grade Group
This week we learned about surface tension.  First we went outside to do a trick with water. Because of surface tension, we were able to turn a cup of water upside down without any water spilling out!  For the next activity, we poured milk onto a plate, and then added a few drops of food coloring.  When we added a little dish soap to the mixture, the food coloring in the milk began to magically spread and swirl into beautiful patterns!  We learned that because milk is full of proteins, adding soap will change the proteins' shapes, which causes movement in the milk that we can see with the food coloring.

Week 1: October 6th, 2010

Today was our first day of Science Club for Girls!  The girls were all super excited about the start of the club.  Because of increased interest in the club, we now have two separate groups.  The first is for the 3rd grade, who will be doing a "Chemistry and Crystals" curriculum.  The second group is for 4th and 5th graders, who will be following the "Magic of Science" curriculum.  Before the start of each club, all students meet in the science room for a healthy snack provided by parents.

3rd Grade Group
Today we did an activity to learn about changes in state!  We learned about melting and the physical transition from solid to liquid.  In small groups, we melted crayons into a foil cup and then let them become solid again to make new crayons!

4th/ 5th Grade Group
Today we learned about inertia by performing the "magic" table cloth trick.  We made a place setting and were able to pull the table cloth out from underneath without moving a single item on the table!  We talked about Newton's Laws and how "an object in motion will remain in motion and at object at rest will remain at rest."

Week 3: October 27th, 2010

This week the 3rd and 4th grade science club joined forces to build home-made rockets!  After learning the basics of rocket building, we spent the rest of the session outdoors competing to see which team's rocket would launch the highest.  Our rockets were made by filling a film canister with an Alka-Seltzer tablet and water. The chemical reaction from the Alka-Seltzer mixing with water created a pressure build-up within the film canister.  Once enough pressure had built up, the canister was launched in the air! The girls did a great job determining the optimum combination of water and Alka-Seltzer for the highest rocket launch.