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  • Build a Solar Cooker

    Parabolic Solar Cooker

    Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s so hot you could cook an egg on the sidewalk”? Have you ever wondered if it was true? With this experiment you can see how the heat (energy) of the sun can be captured and used to cook food.

    What you Need:

    • Cardboard pizza box.
    • Box cutter or scissors.
    • Aluminum foil.
    • Clear packing tape.
    • Cellophane (plastic wrap) or a heavy duty freezer bag.
    • Black construction paper.
    • Newspaper.
    • Ruler or wooden spoon
    • Thermometer

    Procedure:

    Cut a flap in the top of the pizza box. Make sure you only cut on three sides creating an attached flap. Leave about 1” between the flap and the edge of the lid of the box. Fold the flap up so it stands up when the lid is closed.

    Cover the underside of the flap with aluminum foil. Try to keep the foil as smooth as possible so it reflects the sun well.

    Using the plastic wrap or the bag create a “window” in the hole left behind by the flap. Fasten the wrap to the underside of the lid with clear packing tape. Repeat this process twice to create two layers of wrap.

    Now you will line the bottom and sides of your oven with black construction paper.

    Use the newspaper to insulate the sides of the oven by bundling it into roughly the shape of a paper towel role and lining the inside edges with it.

    The best hours to use your solar oven are going to be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Take your oven to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most possible light is reflecting into the oven.

    Choose the food you want to cook, perhaps something out of the recipes provided or you can try something else that you think will work well.

    Make sure that whatever you are cooking is placed on a clear glass plate or cooking dish. This will ensure that the heat from the sun reaches all parts of the food, not just the top.

    Place the thermometer in the oven so you can monitor the temperature.

    Once your food has cooked thoroughly use oven mitts or potholders to remove the glass cooking dish.

    Understanding how it works:

    The heat generated by the sun’s rays is trapped inside your oven, it begins to get very hot much like a traditional oven would. Ovens like this are called collector boxes, because they collect the suns energy. A well designed solar oven can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees, allowing you to cook almost anything whether it is hotdogs or nachos and cheese. If you don’t want to wait for the food to actually cook you can also use the solar oven to re-heat leftovers, since they are already cooked you do not have to wait for them to heat up to as high a temperature. Make sure that anything you cook in your oven is cooked entirely before you eat it.

    Enjoy!

    Building a solar cooker is fun but want to try something bigger? Take a look at this project: http://how-things-work-science-projects.com/learn-build-enti…solar-power-grid/

  • Leaf Collection For Children

    Nature Walk for Leaves

     

    Leaf Collection For Children – Identification

    This is a very simple yet fun and informative project that parents can do alongside their children. You can do this project during fall months and it can be as simple or extensive as you choose. While you can do the project during the summer months, it’s recommended that the leaves be collected during the fall months for various reasons. The biggest reason being that the leaves will be drier and are less likely to mold inside the binders where they will end up.

    Teachers and Parents:

    You can set the types of trees as well as the number of trees that are required. You can also do extra credit leaves such as Ginko or any rarer tree that you may only have a few of in your area.

    Age: 5 and up.

    Because of the young age, you may want to consider leaving such things as Poison Oak out of the project. If your child is at a more mature level, you could include them if you know that the child would benefit from the knowledge. Otherwise “If it has leaves of three, let it be!”

    What You Will Need:

    • A binder
    • Plenty of binder inserts
    • Paper to write the leaf information on
    • Wax paper
    • An iron
    • A towel
    • An ironing board
    • Pen or Marker
    • Leaf identification book

    Directions:

    1. Search and collect two leaves from each type of tree. (Sassafras will require all three leaves)
    2. Before you place the leaves into your binder you’re going to want to press them between wax paper. To do this you will need to have a parent set up an ironing board and place a towel (folded in half) on top of the board. Open the towel and place one piece of wax paper wax side up on the towel. Place the leaves of your tree onto the wax paper so that they fit. (Northern Catalpa will probably only fit one leaf). Place another sheet of wax paper wax side down over the top of the leaves. You now have wax paper sandwiching the leaves. Put the other half of the towel over the top of the wax paper and use an iron on the entire thing. (you’ll be ironing the towel top). This will melt the wax together on the inside thus sealing your leaves in the wax paper.
    3. Cut out the leaves making sure that you don’t cut the seal of the wax holding the leaves in place.
    4. Place the leaves into the binder.
    5. Using the Blank computer paper, you can either print out the information of the leaves or you can simply write it out using your marker or pen.
    6. Place the information sheet into the binder with the leaf sample.

     

     

    … and while you’re out in the wild, take a pair of binoculars with you to catch the wildlife up close!

       

  • Science Projects – Quick!

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    Five Fast and Easy Science Projects

    Sometimes You Just Need A Project, Fast

     

    Ok, we know we have some pretty good science projects on our site right now, but once in a while, if you are anything like my kids were … the report is due tomorrow and “Johnny or Sally” forgot to tell you about it until just now.  Sound familiar?

    Anyway, yes – science experiments can be a fun and exciting way to learn with your kids, but  this project is due soon and you need something easy and fun to do right now!

    Enter 24 Hour Science projects guides. It is not free, and we do make a couple bucks allowing them to sell their products on our site, but fair is fair.  This is an emergency … no?

    Fear not.  Years of experience have been put into their material, and we recommend it without issue. So if you don’t have time to work through some of our projects, we think you’ll be happy giving these a try.

    Here’s what you get if you decide to take a look at the opportunity …

    A 24 Hour Science Projects guide that has super science projects for your kids with step by step instructions on how to complete them all the way to the end.

    They are centered around middle school student projects, but still detailed enough for science project submission if you need to do that.  And they are both fun and impressive.

    Check out their projects today Right Here and get started having fun … oh … and getting that assignment done quick!

    Enjoy ….
     
     

  • Tsunami and Bio-shield Simulation

    Huge Ocean Waves

     
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    In this project, you will be creating an experiment to show not just how a tsunami works, but also the benefits of a natural bio-shield to aid in the safety of towns and cities that are prone to tsunami hits.

    Some facts that will help you with your presentation:

    The word tsunami means “harbor wave”. The word “tsu” meaning harbor and “nami” meaning wave.

    A tsunami is a huge wave of water that is usually caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption under the water. Far out into the ocean, this shift or change will occur and cause the water to rise or fall. Directly above this shift the water may only rise a single foot, but when the wave starts to roll forward it builds. When it reaches more shallow water; that’s when the wave begins to grow in height and danger.

    An earthquake off of Indonesia began in the Indian Ocean and in December of 2004, caused a tsunami that killed over 200,000 people. The massive wave struck 14 different countries.

    The Tohoku earthquake in March of 2011 took place off the coast of Japan and caused a tsunami that killed around 15,000 people. This particular wave reached over 131 feet in some places and wiped out many towns and even caused nuclear accidents!

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    Now that you know what a tsunami can do and how it’s formed, let’s move on to the fun part!

    What you’ll need for your experiment:

    – 1 container long enough to suit the experiment. (In this experiment, we used a 90-quart tote. The length of this plastic crate was long enough to accommodate a decent wave build up.)

    – 1 Sunday newspaper

    – Mud (In this experiment we found a decent amount of mud and clay mixture outside. The clay in the mud helped allow us to sculpt the land area much more easily.

    – Sand (In this experiment we used two different colors of sand. 1 bag of green and 1 bag of blue.)

    – Water (1.5 to 2 gallons of water)

    – Houses (houses can be made of popsicle sticks or anything that you’d like.)

    – chicken wire or animal pen wire (You will need this to build your bio-shield)

    – Plants and rocks (You can use real plants or plastic ones for fish tanks)

    – 1 wide Tupperware lid or thin board in order to push the wave toward your land

    Creating your Tsunami Simulator

    Step 1 – The first thing that you need to do is to take sheets of your newspaper and ball them up. This will be the base and lift for your land. Use a level of newspaper to cover about 1/4 of the container at one end. Once you have placed a level of balled up newspaper inside your container you can begin putting the mud or mud/clay over the newspaper. Sculpt your land and slope it down to the bottom of the container.

    Step 2 – Once your land is sculpted and sloped you should add your blue sand. This blue sand symbolizes the beach and the area where the water meets the beach. It should cover the downward slope of your land build.

    Step 3 – Once you have your sand in place, you can begin adding little touches of a real village. Add your houses and get creative by adding people, cars, stop signs or anything else that will help people visualize the destruction of your tsunami!

    Step 4 – Now it’s time to add your “ocean”. Pour your water into the container. Add just enough so that your water goes half way up the “beach”. Some of your sand will mix with your water, but it’s an ocean so that’s ok!

    Step 5 – It’s now time to simulate your first tsunami. This simulation will show the destruction that takes place when a tsunami hits without a bio-shield or anything to stop it. Start at the far end of the container where there is only water. Place your “paddle” in the water. It should be big enough to push the water forward towards the land. If it’s too small, you will lose water force and you will not gain the desired effect.

    As you can see, before we were halfway to the “beach” the  tsunami simulation project wave had already leveled the village!

    Step 6
    – If your sand has washed into the water, gently push it back up onto the beach with your hand once the water settles.

    Step 7 – Now it’s time to sit down and put together your bio-shield. Have a parent cut a piece of chicken wire just big enough to fit the “beach”. Once you have your wire cut, you can begin sticking pieces of your plants through the holes in the wire. In this demonstration, we used a piece of pen wire because the plants that we had to work with were small and thin.

    Step 8 – You can now use your green sand. Place some of your green sand half way on the mud part and half way down the blue of your “beach”. Now place your bio-shield over the green portion and use your rocks to hold it in place. You can also opt to spread green sand over any mesh wire that is still showing. Set your houses back in place as well as the rest of your village.

    Now that your shield is in place you can proceed with the final step of testing your bio-shield to see how effective such a safeguard can really be.

    We made 3 waves toward the “beach” in an effort to get the You need to set the DNS to that in the page I sent. We made multiple waves in order to get our tsunami simulation project wave to destroy the village. In the end, all that we succeeded in doing was causing minor flooding and the only thing that was knocked over was the small traffic cone! This organic shield can help in keeping the worst of a tsunami from what it’s protecting. Of course, the tsunami simulation project wave size and the bio-shield size will vary and if the shield isn’t good enough then it won’t help on a massive level. However, any shield is probably better than no shield at all!

    Have fun with your tsunami simulator!
    … And if you are looking for video evidence on just how destructive Tsunami waves can be, these will certainly help:

      

    Reviewed by Robbi

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  • Wind Power Project

    Wind Power, Cheap and Easy

     
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    Harnessing Wind Power Isn’t Actually A New Idea

    Long before there was electricity, humans realized that you could harness the power of the wind. Both Europeans and Early Americans used wind to run the mills in which they ground flower. In later years windmills were used on farms as a way to pump water out of the ground.

    In more recent years we have seen wind “power” come back into play, by way of “wind farms” along predominantly the west coast. These farms use wind turbines to generate electricity. With fossil fuels becoming ever scarcer we are looking for alternative ways to power our homes and factories. Naturally we turned back to wind as a viable option, after all, humans have been using wind as a way to generate energy, and make otherwise back breaking jobs easier.

    Today we are going to take a look at one of the simplest forms of wind energy. We are going to construct a windmill; we will then harness the power of the wind to lift an object that is much too heavy for the wind to move by itself.



    Materials you will need

    • ¾” PVC or CPVC pipe (approximately 6 feet long)
    • 2 – ¾” pipe caps
    • 4 – ¾” elbows
    • 4 – 3/4 “ tees
    • 1 – 8” x 11” piece of thick card stock (for the rotor blades)
    • 1 – 3/16” diameter dowel rod (approximately 18” needed)
    • 3-6 – Popsicle sticks
    • Fishing line or string
    • Hot glue gun and approximately 3 sticks of glue
    • A small saw or pipe cutter to cut the pipe
    • A drill and 3/16” drill bit
    • Sand Paper



    Terms you might want to be familiar with (or look up) before you start

    • Wind power
    • Wind turbine
    • Rotor
    • Work
    • Aerodynamics
    • Efficiency
    • Energy
    • Tower
    • Foundation
    • Nacelle



    Wind Power Project - Base


    The first thing we need to do is assemble the foundation of your wind turbine.

    • Using a saw or pipe cutter cut 4 pieces of the 3/4″ pvc pipe at 5″ lengths
    • Cut two longer sections of 3/4″ pvc pipe (approximately 7″ lengths) for the two solid legs of the foundation.
    • Assemble the outer rim of the foundation with pvc fittings as needed as shown in the above photo
    • Measure the length you will need to span across the middle of your foundation then subtract approximately 2″ to allow for the “T” fitting and cut this piece of pipe as well.
    • Cut the cross member in half and finish assembling the foundation of your wind turbine as shown in the above photo.

     





    Now we need to assemble the “Nacelle” of the wind turbine.

    • Cut one piece of your 3/4″ pvc pipe approximately 12″ long
    • Then cut a piece about 2″ long off that
    • Connect these two pieces with a tee in the middle as shown above
    • Put the pipe caps on each end
    • Then drill a 3/16” or slightly larger hole through each of the end caps … and be sure to get them as close to center as possible since this will be where the axle of your rotor will be

     


    Wind Power Project - Rotor Blades


    Now we need to assemble the rotor and axle.

    • Take your three Popsicle sticks and tape them together on top of each other
    • Using the drill, make a 3/16″ hole through all three of them with the center of the drill point at about 3/8″ to 1/2″ distance from one of the ends
    • Cut your 3/16″ dowel to a length of about 18”
    • Attach the three popsicle sticks through the dowel holes drilled (adjust as needed but these should be a tight fit)
    • Make sure that the popsicle sticks are positioned in a Y formation as shown above, each one equal distance from the next. Then apply some hot glue to hold them in place.

     

     Next we need to construct the rotor blades.

    • Take the sheet of card stock and measure out three 4” x 8” rectangles
    • Cut them out
    • Using clear scotch tape fold each rotor section in half long ways and tape where they meet, ensure that you do not crush the paper (you want the end of the rotor blade to look like a tear drop)
    • Do the same with all three rotor blades
    • Using hot glue fasten the blades to the popsicle sticks that are serving as the frame work for your rotor (the popsicle sticks go inside the blade to keep them aerodynamic)

     

    Final assembly

    • Cut another piece of the PVC pipe approximately 24” long (this will be the tower of your turbine
    • On one end sand down the PVC pipe approximately 1” from the end (this will ensure that your nacelle will be able to rotate freely to face the direction the wind is coming from)
    • Place the axle of your rotor assembly through the holes you have drilled in the ends of the nacelle
    • Place the nacelle atop the tower

     

    Wind Power Project - Final Assy

    Let’s use the wind power now

    • From here you are going to want to tie the weight you are going to be lifting to the back end of the axle that is sticking out of the nacelle. (make the string a little longer that the length of the tower so the weight is lying on the ground to start)
    • Wait for the wind (if none is present you can use a box fan to simulate the wind)

    Now observe your wind turbine in motion. Notice how the wind alone would not be able to lift the weight you have tied to the axle of your rotor, but when it is harnessed correctly the wind can lift the weight. In fact if you experiment a little in windy conditions you will likely find that your turbine will be able to lift things that are quite heavy when you consider the scale of the experiment.


    For more on Wind Power see …

  • Glowing Liquid Experiment

    Ingredients:

    1 Black Light (easily purchased at Walmart or online)

    1 Bottle of Tonic Water OR 1 Highlighter Marker

    A Dark Room

    (If you chose a highlighter over the tonic water you will need a small glass with a small amount of water. Make sure that it is a clear glass.)

    Instructions:

    1. If you chose to use a highlighter, ask your parent or guardian to carefully break the pen open. Remove the felt from the marker and place it into the glass holding the water. Let the highlighter soak in the water for a few minutes. You can choose to leave this highlighter felt in the water or you can then remove it.

    2. Take the glass of water into a dark room.

    3. Turn on the black light and shine it near the glass of water. The water should be illuminated.

    Explanation:

    The ultraviolet light that is being emitted from your black light excited the phosphors within the water. The dye in the highlighter and tonic water have phosphors in them. This is what is causing your water to glow under the UV light. The UV light is light that we cannot normally see. The phosphors pick the light up and allow you to see the ultraviolet light. This is why the water is glowing! Did you know that a black light is also used in forensic science? Ultraviolet light helps catch bad guys! It’s pretty cool!

    There are quite a few different types of luminescence. Fluorescence is used in this particular experiment and will only glow when the black light is shining on it. Phosphorescence has a lasting glow even when the black light is not shining on it. Chemiluminescence is used in such things as glow sticks. Bioluminescence is when living organisms glow! You can use this experiment in a multitude of different demonstrations.

  • Homemade Crystals Science Project

    Having Fun Growing Crystals at Home

     
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    How to make a basic crystal out of Potash Alum.

    Growing crystals takes a bit of time, but it’s a really fun project.  You never know what you’ll get until you try it.  We have several crystal growing projects planned for you on the site, but here is the first.  It isn’t to difficult and the results are pretty fun … so enjoy!

     

    Required materials for this project include:

    • Potash Alum
    • A piece of string or thread
    • Saucepan (for safety reasons, please use a saucepan that you will never cook food in again. Keep it for making more crystals or simply throw it away.)
    • A saucer
    • A pencil
    • A jar

    Growing your crystal will take about 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a waiting process so be patient and be sure to note what you see periodically (a daily photo log is great for this).

     

    Directions:

    1. Pour 1 pint of water into the saucepan.
    2. Add 4oz. of alum powder.
    3. Gently heat the mixture; stirring to dissolve the powder.
    4. After the initial powder dissolves, begin adding as much powder to the mixture that you can until no more powder will dissolve.
    5. After letting the mixture cool, pour some into the saucer and set the saucer in a cool place.
    6. Pour the rest of the solution into a glass jar and add 1 more tablespoonful of the alum powder to create a saturated mixture.
    7. Cover the jar with a cloth and set it aside for now.
    8. After a few days, the solution in the saucer should start to form crystals. Let them grow undisturbed in the saucer until the solution has evaporated.
    9. Choose the largest crystal from among those in the saucer. This crystal will be your “seed”.
    10. Carefully tie your string or thread around your seed crystal and then wind the rest of the length of thread around the pencil.
    11. Hang the seed crystal into the jar of solution letting the pencil sit across the top of the jar to hold the seed in place within the solution.
    12. Put the jar in a warm place and leave it completely alone for about 2 weeks. Your crystal will grow from that “seed” over this time period.

     

    So what did you find?

    Record your results. Again, a photo log is a great way to do this. You should take photos of the original liquid in the saucer, then document the growth of the seed crystals, tying the string around the seed, the initial seed+string in the jar of the saturated solution and a daily picture of what that jar/string looks like.

    Once you’ve done that, the report your teacher will probably ask for will be quite easy to write!

    Then, if you want to get fancy, note that different powders will yield different colored crystals. But you’ll need to experiment a bit on the amount of water and powder needed for each recipe to get a saturated solution for each.

    As examples (not a complete list for sure):

    – Potassium Ferricyanide will produce red crystals.

    – Copper Acetate Monohydrate will produce blue-green crystals.

    – Calcium Copper Acetate Hexahydrate will produce blue crystals.

    Try all of them and have fun!

     

    You can also grow crystals with sugar and these will be delicious edible ones if you do it correctly.

     

    … But if you would rather have pre-packaged materials for crystal growing, these should help:

     

    … and if you prefer to discover them yourselves, these should help:

    And for really “Big” Crystal hunters, you might want to take a look at curiosity stream:

  • Mummified Apples Experiment

    Normal Apple for Apple Battery

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    What role do you think dehydration could play on an apple? Would a dehydrated apple be protected from bacteria? In this experiment, we will be creating a simple and spooky mummified apple. All you will need are some basic household ingredients to get started with your dehydrated mummy apple.

     

    Carve the apple!

     

    Here’s What You Will Need

    • – One Apple
      – A thick wooden kebab skewer or popsicle stick
      – A locking plastic bag, such as a GLAD brand freezer bag
      – One fourth cup of salt, a half cup of powdered bleach, and a half cup of bicarbonate soda

     

     

    Preparing the Apple for Mummification

    Take the powered bleach, bicarbonate soda, and the salt, and mix them together in your plastic bag.
    Next it’s time to decorate the apple. Try carving a face into the apple, similar to a jack-o-lantern. You won’t need to hollow the apple, just make a design for the face.

    … be creative …

    Now you can impale the apple with the skewer or stick. This is so it can easily be picked up at the end of the experiment.

    Now place the apple in the bag with the mixture, seal the bag, and give it a shake so that the apple is mostly covered in the powdered mixture. Keep the bag in a place that is warm and dry.

    Observe the apple over the next week. What does it look like by day seven? If you had started with half an apple it would look something like this … ?

     

    apple-847088_1280

     

    … and if you had started with apple slices … maybe something like this …

     

    apples-888229_1280

     

    So, what did your whole mummified apple look like? Send us a photo in the comment box below to let us know!!

     

    Results of the Experiment

    Throughout the experiment, you will notice that the apple gets smaller and smaller. Typically, if you left an apple to sit in the open air, it would begin to rot. Your mummified apple doesn’t rot because there’s no moisture to allow for bacteria growth. This means that the apple simply shrivels and remains in a mummified state. The salt and other ingredients help to draw out the moisture before rotting can occur.

    Does your mummified apple have a spooky quality to it? What other fruits or vegetables do you think could be mummified and preserved through a similar process? Remember, the mummified apple is not for eating, but it can be safely displayed for a long time without causing odors or attracting unwanted insects. Mummified humans are sometimes preserved for thousands of years. How long will your apple last?

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  • How to Make Your Own Crystal Geodes at Home

    Geode

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    This project covers how you can use a chicken egg, Elmer’s glue, alum, a large plastic container (the size of a quart jar), water, and egg dye to make a real looking geode. Depending on what type of gemstone you’re looking to make, you’ll need to have that color of dye to make the color of your gemstone geode. Purple for amethyst, Red for garnet or ruby, blue for sapphires, and so forth. This method of crystal production doesn’t take as long as making a large crystal, which can take up to 3 weeks.

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Elmers Glue
      • Alum Powder
      • Quart sized container (disposable plastic soup containers work well)
      • A paintbrush
      • Chicken eggs (blown out and gently broken in half the long way for a shallow bowl or broken in half the short way for a deeper geode.)
      • Very hot water
      • Egg Dye (The better the egg dye the deeper the color of your crystals.)
      • A large wooden craft stick
      • Latex Gloves
      • Drying Rack
      • Kitchen Tongs or Spoon
      • Scissors
      • Sewing needle

     

    Directions:

    Step 1: The first thing you will need is a (washed) chicken egg. Take a needle and make a small hole in the top and bottom of the egg then gently blow the yolk and egg white out of the shell. This will take some time, but be patient … it is worth it!

    Step 2: Next, take a pair of sharp scissors and carefully cut the eggshell in half lengthwise. Then rinse the inside of both shell halves with warm water until clean.  Remove any loose shell chips and use a tissue or paper towel to blot excess water out of the shell.  Be sure to let the egg shell halves dry in the open air (6 – 12 hours or overnight). The shells need to be clean and dry before proceeding to step 3.

    Step 3: Pour in some Elmer’s glue and use the brush to paint the inside and the edges of your eggshell with the glue.  Then sprinkle dry alum powder inside the shell to coat it completely. Don’t be shy about how much alum powder to put in the shell.  What doesn’t stick will be removed in the next step (and reused for another geode if you wish). Set the egg aside to dry.

    Step 4: Once the glue is dry, dump the excess alum out of the eggshell (on a piece of paper or in a bowl).  You can gently tap the shell, but still be careful not to break the shell doing that, then proceed to the next step.

    Step 5: Prepare the crystal growing solution by pouring of 2 cups of nearly boiling, hot water into your quart container.  Put on your latex gloves (to prevent staining your hands) and add enough egg dye to the hot water for a deep color of your choice (or 30 to 40 drops of liquid food coloring). Stir the mixture with a large wooden craft stick until the egg dye (or food coloring) is completely dissolved and the solution color is uniform.

    Step 6: Add 3/4 cup alum powder to your dye solution. Stir the mixture with the same craft stick used above until all of the powder is completely dissolved. (If you still have crystals undissolved in the container, microwave it for a few minutes to make sure it’s hot enough to dissolve all of the powder.  But be careful not to let it boil over in the microwave.  Just heat it until you see bubbles and stop, then carefully remove the container from the microwave and stir until the alum is all dissolved.

    Step 7: Allow the solution to cool for about 20 to 30 min. Then use the tongs or a spoon to gently place one of the egg shell halves inside the container and submerge it in the alum and dyed water. Make sure the broken side of the shell is facing up and that it settled nicely on the bottom. Leave the egg shell in there for about 12 hours. (The longer the shell is in there the bigger the crystals will be in your geode.)

    Step 8: After 12hrs or more, use a spoon to gently remove your eggshell from the solution. But be careful … wet crystals are very fragile! Place your geode on a drying rack to dry being careful to touch as little of the shell or crystals as possible until it’s completely dry.

    Tip: (If you want to do the other half of the egg, simply microwave the leftover solution and stir well. Place another prepped eggshell half into the newly heated solution and wait another 12 hours. This project can be done with ANY egg. Try an ostrich egg for some seriously awesome geode!)

    Also – You can prepare several containers, each with a different colors and make them all at the same time for your geode “collection”.

     

    So What Just Happened?

    We heated the water so it could become supersaturated with dissolved alum.  As the liquid cools, it cannot hold as much of the dissolved alum, so some of it turns back into alum powder (or crystals) and sinks to the bottom.  As it does that, it starts to crystallize.  The powdered alum inside the eggshell acts like small seed-crystals, and the alum coming out of solution can attach itself to those quite easily.  As more and more of the dissolved alum comes out of solution and settles to the bottom, the larger the crystals being formed will grow (to a point).  Since they can start easier on the alum we put inside the eggshell, they grow faster there.

    As an extension to this project, think of other things you might try instead of alum.  Something that crystallizes … like maybe sugar or salt or even borax (and there are quite a few others).

     

    … Or … if you prefer a kit for crystal growing, these should help:

     

    … and if you decide you would rather find them yourselves, these should help:


     

    And for a really “Big” geode …

  • Make a Home Made Terrarium or a Rainforest Habitat

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    A terrarium is used to simulate a rainforest-like effect by containing the moisture inside of an object and maintaining a suitable habitat for plants and animals. You will want to choose small plants and/or animals that prefer shade and are water loving and do well in the humidity.

    Some plants to consider are the venus fly-trap, moss, ferns, ivy, violets, and orchids. You can make a terrarium out of nearly anything that will allow you to form humidity to build up condensation. It really just depends on how big you want your plants. If you want to have bigger plants, you need to have a bigger container. In this design, you’ll be shown how to make a terrarium out of a glass jar but you can make a terrarium out of much larger items.

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    In our test terrarium we’ve set up a humidity monitor and incorporated animals that are native to the rainforest habitat– a Chinese Water Dragon and tree frogs. To make a miniature rainforest:

    You will need:

    1 glass jar and lid or cork stopper (Any size – Bulk food jars are great)

    1 small bag of activated charcoal, which can be purchased at a local pet supply store

    1 small bag of soil (dirt)

    1 small bag of fish tank rocks (or small pebbles found outside)

    Choose a few plants (such as a small fern and a small African violet.)

    Peat Moss or dark potting soil

    Directions:

    Step 1: Make sure your jar is very clean. Fill 1/5th of the jar with your small pebbles.

    Step 2: Add a thin layer of the activated charcoal to the top of the pebbles. (The charcoal will help filter impurities from your plants water source.)

    Step 3: Cover the charcoal with a 1/2 inch layer of peat moss.

    Step 4: Now add a 1/2 inch layer of your soil over the peat moss. (If the root system of your plant is longer, add a bit more soil if need be.)

    Step 5: Plant your fern and violet in the dirt. Tip: If your hand can’t fit into the jar, try using small tongs, chopsticks, or even a fork to dig out a small hole and to help lower the plant into place.

    Step 6: Lightly water the soil until it’s moist and then place the lid on the jar. Place your terrarium in a spot where it will get plenty of sunlight, but do not place it in direct sunlight.

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    Do not overwater your terrarium.
    If it seems dry you may mist it lightly with a spray bottle. Using a humidity gauge you can judge how humid the atmosphere is inside your terrarium. Keep the heat fairly high, ranging from 80-95 degrees.

    If it’s too wet inside the terrarium, you run the risk of mold growing inside and killing your plants. After a short while, you should see condensation build up and this is what your plants will use to survive. Very rarely will you need to water the plants inside the terrarium.

    If there are animals in your terrarium bear in mind that you will need to screen the top and spray it regularly to keep the humidity high as well as give them good air to breath.

    See how long it takes to build up the humidity so that it actually rains inside your terrarium. Test and keep track of how well the plants do and how quickly they grow as well as whether or not they prosper.  Determine which plants grow best in this type of environment.