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Static Electricity Science

The Young Scientists Club, Kit 26

The Young Scientists Club, Kit #26

I’ve got two new Young Scientists Club kits to review:#26 and #36. I ordered our subscription in 2013 with a steep discount through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. Now we get a new science kit every month for a total cost of about $9 a kit.

Kit #26 is about static electricity and is pretty cool, #36 was about famous scientists through the ages and was awful. If that had been our first experience with The Young Scientists Club, I would have been asking for my money back.

Kit 36 was a bust.

Kit #36 was a bust.

The main problem with #36 was that a lot of the experiments needed clay, but the clay the kit came with was all dried up and worthless. That meant that almost every experiment failed, which caused a lot of eight-year-old frustration, which caused mommy-frustration, which pretty much ruined a perfectly good Saturday morning. It was like a chain reaction of awful.

So if you engage in this science-by-mail adventure, don’t order kit #36.

#26: Static Electricity

#26: Static Electricity

Kit #26 however, was pretty good. Some of these experiments you can try at home for free. All you really need are balloons, cereal, and a comb.You just won’t have the nifty script that the kit provides.

Important science fact: When you rub a balloon on your hair, all of the negatively  charged electrons from the balloon jump to your hair. Then the balloon has a positive charge. When the positively charged balloon comes into contact with something that has a neutral charge, like cereal, water, or the wall, electrons from the new item will jump to the balloon.

Rub the balloon on your hair and then pick up rice cereal.

Rub the balloon on your hair and then pick up rice cereal.

Rub the comb on your hair and then hold it next to a stream of water to make the water bend.

Rub the comb on your hair and then hold it next to a stream of water to make the water bend.

Tie two balloons onto a string. Rub them both on your hair. See what happens.

Tie two balloons onto a string. Rub them both on your hair. See what happens when they touch.

There are lots of other static electricity experiments you can do with balloons. Use your imagination and have fun.

The Magic School Bus Science Club, Solids, Liquids and Gases kit

The Magic School Bus "Solids, Liquids, and Gases" kit

The Magic School Bus “Solids, Liquids, and Gases” kit

“Santa” brought Jenna(4) a subscription to the Magic School Bus Science Club this year. It was a 50% off deal through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. That comes out to $12 a kit, which is totally worth it.

A lot of these experiments you can do at home for free. The only drawback is that you won’t have the teaching script to read from. I’m not going to lie, the script is pretty nice because it’s so foolproof. But if you go to the library and check out some books, you’ll probably be fine.

Here are some titles to look for:

The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry

Solids, Liquids and Gases (Starting with Science)

Experiments with Solids, Liquids, and Gases (True Books)

Here are some experiments to get you started:

Dancing raisins. You need raisins and fizzy water.

Dancing raisins. You need raisins and fizzy water.

Drop the raisins in the water and watch what happens.

Drop the raisins in the water and watch what happens.

First the raisins sink because they are heavy. But then the gas bubbles (which are light) attach to the raisins and lift them up to the surface.

Blow up a balloon. You need at 2 liter bottle, vinegar, baking soda and a balloon.

Blow up a balloon. You need at 2 liter bottle, vinegar, baking soda and a balloon.

Drop baking soda and vinegar into the bottle and attach the balloon.

Drop baking soda and vinegar into the bottle and attach the balloon.

If we had used a 2 liter bottle this would have been better. What happens is that the baking soda and vinegar make carbon dioxide, which takes up room and forces the air out of the bottle up into the balloon. Our dinky little bottle didn’t have enough air in it to blow up the entire balloon. Note to self, buy 7-Up!

Fizzy tablets and water.

Fizzy tablets and water.

The citric acid and the baking soda inside the Alka Seltzer tablet react to produce the gas, which is lighter than water, so the bubbles rise to the surface.

Milk goop: you need milk and vinegar.

Milk goop. You need milk and vinegar.

Mix 4 parts milk, 1 part vinegar. Wait 10 minutes.

Mix 4 parts milk, 1 part vinegar. Wait 10 minutes.

The vinegar causes the protein casein to separate from the milk. The result is an ancient type of Egyptian glue.

More goop. You need cornstarch and water.

More goop. You need cornstarch and water.

Mix two parts cornstarch and one part water. Use your hands!

Mix two parts cornstarch and one part water. Use your hands!

This is an experiment you have to feel to understand. The result is not exactly a liquid, but not really a solid. It changes forms depending on how you squeeze it.

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That was a lot of  fun! We still have two more experiments to do before we finish the kit: making slime and a bouncy ball.

For more information about the Magic School Bus Science kits, visit the Young Scientists Club website.

The Young Scientists Club, Kit 30

Kit 30 from the Young Scientists Club is about owl pellets.

Kit 30 from the Young Scientists Club is about owl pellets.

Our latest Young Scientists Club kit has come in the mail! Kit 30 came with an owl pellet to dissect. There were also some food-chain pictures to cut out, but the main event was looking through poop.

This activity can last between ten minutes to an hour, depending on interest.

This activity can last between ten minutes to an hour, depending on interest.

The dissection begins!

The dissection begins!

This owl ate a lot of critters!

This owl ate a lot of critters!

If you’re interested in doing owl pellet dissection at home, you can find materials on Amazon. We’re kicking around the idea of doing an owl dissection birthday party when Bruce turns 9. That’s how much he loved this!


Pkg (2) Owl Pellet Kit with Tweezers, Pointing Stick and 8-Page Booklet

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The real question is, how long to I have to have a dead rodent skeleton on my kitchen counter?

The Magic School Bus Science Club, Human Body Kit

The Magic School Bus "Human Body" kit

The Magic School Bus “Human Body” kit.

“Santa” brought Jenna(4) a subscription to the Magic School Bus Science Club this year. It was a 50% off deal through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. That comes out to $12 a kit, which is totally worth it. (That deal expires on 1/12/14 btw, so if you’re reading this post way off in the future try hunting around on Groupon, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, or maybe the Young Scientists Club FB page for a discount.)

Here’s what the Human Body kit was like:

This dismembered soda bottle and balloon represents your lungs breathing in air.

This dismembered soda bottle and balloon represent your lungs breathing in air.

This straw, balloon, water and plastic person contraption represents the circulatory system.

This straw, balloon, water and plastic person represent the circulatory system.

A taste test with cocoa, sugar, lime juice and salt.

A taste test with cocoa, sugar, lime juice and salt.

Synovial Fluid in ear experiment: First you put glitter on top of a jar of water. It will float.

Synovial Fluid in ear experiment: First you put glitter on top of a jar of water. It will float.

Next, you spin the jar around. When you put the jar down, the glitter will keep spinning. This represents how the fluid in your ear keeps moving even after you stop, making you feel dizzy.

Next, you spin the jar around. When you put the jar down, the glitter will keep spinning. This represents how the fluid in your ear keeps moving even after you stop, making you feel dizzy.

Some of these experiments you can easily recreate at home. Try checking out The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body from the library first, or else watching the video on Netflix.