Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fire and Pepper

This year we are doing something a little different for our Friday afternoon art.  First of all, I am trying to come up with a few more interesting hands-on art projects, such as quilling and decoupage, which we have already done.

But today I thought we would try two science experiments.  Before we began I paired a younger student with an older one, and gave them my, “Be very careful and don’t try this at home speech”.   Then I passed out the metal bowls-- one for each lab partner.  One of the students asked what they were going to do with their “helmets”, so I had them put them on their heads.  Teachers must have a sense of humor.  Then we got onto the real stuff. 

The first experiment is done by putting pepper in a bowl of water, squirting dish soap on a finger, and then inserting the soapy finger into the water.  We watched all the pepper scoot out of the way as the soap film spread across the top of the water.  Simple, but fun nonetheless.

The second experiment was bit more risky, but I had a plan.  There was an older student in each pair, I’d given them my speech, and I trust them.  We were very, very careful.  We also had pitchers of water at each table, and fire extinguishers available just in case.
 They rolled tissue paper in oil and wadded it up. Then I carefully lit it and they (or I) dropped it into the bowl of pepper-soap-water.   We all watched as the paper burned for quite awhile in the  pans full of water.  The oil is lighter, so it floats on top of the water, and the oil keeps burning even though it is in the water.

Next week we are going to make paper maiche volanoes which will eventually “erupt” with baking soda and vinegar.  Stay tuned.