This just another thing that can be done with these amazing hydrospheres.  Over the past year I have used their index matching and absorbing properties to show fluorescence, density, and now art.

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This activity is a very simple application of hydrophobic and hydrophilic propoerties.  The result is a multicolored Easter Egg.  It makes a wonderful scientific mess, and it is well worth the clean up. (more…)

This post is written by Derek Gallo, a junior at XXX High School.  He is one of the Boeing Scholars.  His team STEM Ed(you)cation is working on science outreach, through a family science night at Darwin Elementary School.

Making slime is a perfect entrance into the world of polymers.  Just a little bit of glue, water, and borax, and you are off to the races!

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This blog post was written by Vincent Zarate, a junior at Mt. Carmel High School.  He is one of the IIT Boeing Scholars, and with his STEM Ed(You)Cation team, is working on science outreach for family science nights.

Engineering is all about problem solving.  Given a set of tools, materials, and some basic rules, engineers are trained to identify problems and come up with creative solutions.  In this activity, people are asked to make a structure out of rolled up newspaper.

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This blog post was written by Amy Tan, a junior at Whitney Young High School.  She is one of the IIT Boeing Scholars, and with her STEM Ed(You)Cation team, is working on science outreach for family science nights.

It seems like a lot of people are making interesting things.  Chef’s are getting famous for making interesting foods, and a new web application seems to come out every day.  Looking at things like Make Magazine, you can see that people are making some interesting electronics too. (more…)

This blog post was written by Kelly Zhu, a junior at Whitney Young High School.  She is one of the IIT Boeing Scholars, and with her STEM Ed(You)Cation team, is working on science outreach for family science nights.

Thionin Demonstration

Light reactions are one of many science experiments that are totally illuminating. It is a fun way to expose and engage children to science. The thionin reaction is an example of something that uses light as a reactant.  This intensely purple solution changes color in the presence of white light.  When the light is removed, it changes back to purple, so it is completely reversible!

Note:  This reaction calls for things that really should be handled and stored in a lab.  As a result, you couldn’t and shouldn’t try this at home.

Materials:

Procedure:

Safety Note:  As a safety precaution, be sure to wear goggles, gloves, and chemical resistant apron thought the experiment

  1. Prepare a 0.001 M thionin solution be adding 100 mL of water to 0.023g of thionin.
  2. In a 1-L beaker mix together the following chemical: 50 mL of 0.001 M thionin solution, 100 mL of 1M sulfuric acid, and enough water to make the solution about 600 mL. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Take 2.0 grams of iron(II) sulfate and mix into the solution. Turn off the lights.
  4. Place the beaker on the overhead projector stage. Turn on the overhead projection and observe that the solution changes from purple to clear.
  5. Now turn off the lamp and allow the purple color to return.
  6. To make things more interesting, take the aluminum foil and cover half the surface of the projector. Make sure the foil is several layers thick so no light can pass through.
  7. Place the beaker on the projector stage so that half the beaker is on the aluminum foil.
  8. Turn on the projector lamp, and see what happens. The half of the beaker that is not exposed to the light will remain purple while the other half is clear.
  9. Turning off the light can reverse this reaction. This solution will last several days.

What is Going On?

Thionin is an organic compound that comes in two forms. When thionin is in its oxidized form it will be purple and when it is in its reduced form it will be colorless. A thionin reaction is basically converting light energy to chemical energy and vise versa with the help of light. In this demonstration, by adding a reducing agent such as iron(II) ion (Fe2+), the thionin molecule accepts two hydrogen atoms from iron and is reduced to its colorless form. However, this only happens when there is an intense light source to catalyze the reaction. Therefore, when the light source is removed, the thionin will return to its oxidized state and the purple color will reappear.

 

 

This blog post was written by Connie Machuca, a junior at Lane Tech High School.  She is one of the IIT Boeing Scholars, and with her STEM Ed(You)Cation team, is working on science outreach for family science nights.

Elephant’s toothpaste is a classic science demonstration. The beauty of it is its simplicity.  A small amount of catalyst (yeast) in this case speeds up the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, making water vapor and oxygen gas.  More importantly, it makes a giant bubbly mess.  Here is what you’ll need, and how to do it.

A little hydrogen peroxide, food coloring, soap, and yeast can make a giant mess!

A little hydrogen peroxide, food coloring, soap, and yeast can make a giant mess!

Materials

Procedure

  1. Hydrogen peroxide can irritate skin and eyes, so put on those safety goggles and ask an adult to carefully pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
  2. Add 8 drops of your favorite food coloring into the bottle.
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle and swish the bottle around a bit to mix it.
  4. In a separate small cup, combine the warm water and the yeast together and mix for about 30 seconds.
  5. Now the adventure starts! Pour the yeast water mixture into the bottle (a funnel helps here) and watch the foaminess begin!

What’s Going On?

Foam is awesome! The foam made here is special because each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen gas.  The soap isn’t even needed for the reaction, it just ends up capturing the oxygen and giving you something to look at.   The yeast acted as a catalyst (a helper) to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created lots and lots of bubbles.

You might have noticed that there is a little steam coming off the foam, and your bottle is now warm.  That is because this is an Exothermic Reaction – that means it not only created foam, it created heat! The foam produced is just water, soap, and oxygen so you can clean it up with a sponge and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain.

Be careful with the foam and your clothes.  Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizer, and it could leave a white stain on your clothes.

When a team wins the Stanley Cup, every member gets one night with the cup, and I hear that there have been some pretty amazing nights.  Every now and then, my wife and I have a night with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), our version of the Stanley Cup.  (more…)