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June 04, 2020

Food Fun and Science Experiments

Ever wondered if science was also a part of what we eat? Or how food can be used in science experiments? Check out the following experiments that you can try from home!

1. The Lemon Experiment

This experiment is a good one to teach your child both about chemical reactions and how to form hypotheses! In this short experiment, all you’ll need are:

  • Half a Lemon
  • Some food colouring of your choice!
  • Baking Soda
  • A fork

Start by asking your child what he or she thinks will happen when baking soda is added to a lemon. Get them to form a hypothesis based on their scientific knowledge. Here are some educational resources on how to guide your child! Next, use the fork to pierce the flesh of the lemon thoroughly so that it becomes pulpy. This ensures that there is greater contact area of lemon juice later on, with the baking soda. Add a couple drops of food colouring, and continue to mix it with the lemon flesh. Then, add in about one teaspoon of baking soda to the lemon half. Bubbles should form on the lemon due to a chemical reaction that takes place between the acidic lemon juice and baking soda (an alkaline). Due to the chemical reaction, gas is produced, thus causing the bubbles to form!

2. Butter Making

This educational activity is both fun and practical! All you will need are:

  • A glass jar (about 16oz)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Cold water
  • A bowl

Start by filling the glass jar with the heavy cream. Ensure that it is only half full. Screw the lid on and start shaking away for about 7 minutes! Whipped cream should form in the first two minutes, and once you can hear that a lump has formed after more shaking, continue for about 30-60 seconds after that. Next, open up the jar and separate the liquid and solids. The liquid formed is buttermilk, which can be saved for other cooking purposes. Place the solids into a bowl and pour the cold water over it. Squish all the solids into a ball, and throw away the water. Continue rinsing twice more. All done – we now have butter! (Note: Other ingredients such as salt or herbs can now be added to the butter to flavour it if preferred!) 

Due to the constant shaking of the cream, this force caused the fat molecules clump together, thus forming the butter. During this process, the fat molecules are separated from the liquid in the cream, which explains the presence of the buttermilk!

3. Egg in a Bottle

The science behind this experiment is a simple one, but makes lots of great fun! This experiment is great to explain how air pressure works to your child. The heat from the fire caused the air in the bottle to be heated as well, resulting in an expansion of the air in it. When the egg was placed on top of the bottle, covering it, there was no longer a flow of oxygen to keep the fire burning. As it was extinguished, the air in the bottle cooled and contracted, causing a “suction” since the air pressure in the bottle was now less than the pressure outside. A greater air pressure on the outside thus forced the egg down into the bottle!

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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