This area is dedicated to our science outreach demos designed to inspire children about the process of doing science. This site is under development.
Sample Demonstration given to a group of sixth graders.
Begin with a slight-of-hand magic trick. We use a rope trick in which three short colored ropes appear to become one rope. Explain that you changed something and that it appear to be magic. Invite the children to explain how you did the trick. Once they have figured it out, explain that sometimes things look like magic until you understand them. Scientists try to understand things in a similar way.
Pour water into two beakers. Add some ice to one beaker and some dry ice to the other. Ask them to explain what is different about the two "kinds of ice." Explain that the water with the dry ice looks like it is boiling. Invite someone to test if it is getting hot. Lead them to realize that the dry ice is truning into "air" somehow. To test this idea, lead them to the experiment of containing the dry ice in a rubber glove or balloon (tied-off).
To test what kind of "air" it is, prepare a one liter graduated cylinder by filling it with water and adding a few drops of sodium hydroxide solution to make it slightly basic. In front of the students, add universal pH indicator to the graduated cylinder, the solution should be blue. Add some dry ice and observe the color changes to red. Explain that the "air" in the dry ice changes the water somehow.
Blue Bottle Experiment
Simple Oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) Reaction