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August 20, 2020

3 Fruity Science Experiments for Some Weekend Fun!

Fruits are one of the most convenient sources of vitamins and nutrients! But instead of just eating them, did you know that there are also different chemicals in fruits that make for fun science experiments? Check them out below!

1. Oxidizing Apples

Have you ever wondered why the apple slices you eat turn brown if you’ve not consumed them fast enough? A process called ‘oxidization’ takes place that causes the brownness! Oxidization takes place because the flesh of the apple comes into contact with oxygen in the atmosphere when it is left exposed. This eventually causes the apple to spoil faster than it should. So how can we prevent it? Let’s test out how by conducting an experiment by soaking apple slices in different liquids to see which one prevents the apple from turning brown! You will need:

  • plain water
  • salt water 
  • sugared water 
  • pure lemon juice
  • lemonade
  • orange juice
  • 1 Apple – 7 apple slices
  • 6 small cups
  • Labels for each liquid
  • A plate
  • A timer

Start by filling each cup with a different liquid. Next, place one apple slice into each cup, and soak them for 3 minutes. Remove them one by one, and place them onto the plate. The last piece of apple slice that was not soaked in any liquid should be used as the control. Remember to label them so you don’t forget which  liquid each apple slice was soaked in! Immediately after taking the apple slices out, record down a first set of observations. Then set the timer for 6 minutes, and observe what happens – record down your second set observations, and see what differences you’ve found!

Which apple slice is the least brown? In the liquids that contain ascorbic acid (such as lemon juice), less oxidization would have taken place. This is because the ascorbic acid reacts with oxygen before the other chemicals found in apples does!

2. Fruit Battery Lamp

This fun experiment will make your jaw drop! We know that lamps light up because of electricity, but have you ever wondered if a fruit can do the same? All you will need are:

  • A citrus fruits (Lemon or an Orange will work best)
  • Copper nail (At least 2 inches)
  • Small light bulb 
  • Duct tape
  • Zinc nail (At least 2 inches)

Start by rolling the fruit against a flat surface to get extract the juice without breaking the skin of the fruit. Then,  insert the nails into the fruit. Leave a 2 inch gap between the two nails and ensure that the nails do not puncture all the way through the fruit. Next, peel off the insulating on the light bulb to expose the wire underneath. Wind the exposed wires around the head of the 2 nails, using duct electrical tape to secure if needed. Once everything is properly secure, the bulb should light up!

This happens because the acid compounds contain both positive and negative ions. When the nails are inserted into the fruit, the negative ions from the compounds move towards the zinc nail, leaving behind the positive ones behind. This transfer of electrons generates electricity, and when the circuit between the nails and wire of the light bulb is closed, this causes the bulb to light up!

3. Fizzy Fruit Fun

This experiment is a simple and fast one, that leaves you with some fun, fizzy fruit! All you will need are:

  • Fruit of your choice (Citrus fruits and apples work well, but you can also experiment with berries!)
  • Dry ice (Food grade)
  • Plastic bowl
  • A lid for the bowl (or you can use a chopping board)

Start by making sure that the dry ice are in small blocks or chips. If the dry ice you have did not come in this form, wrap it in a towel and whack it gently with a hammer to break them into smaller pieces. Place the dry ice into the plastic bowl. Next, slice the fruit of your choice up into slices – this makes sure that the fruit becomes more saturated with carbon dioxide from the dry ice, making it more fizzy. Then, place the fruit on top of the dry ice directly – you can stir if you like, but it is not necessary. Leave the fruit in the dry ice for at least 10 minutes, placing the lid above the bowl to ensure it is covered. After 10 minutes, remove the fruit – it is now fizzy! The fizziness should last for up to an hour.

We hope you and your child enjoy these educational activities! Should you and your child be interested in science and scientific endeavors, check our our YMCA Learning Centre STEM programme! This programme aims to spark an interest in students in learning how the world around us works, through experiential learning. Do contact us to find out more! 

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