Science can be fun for teenagers, although some activities require adult supervision. To allow students to actually see forces of nature like air pressure and centrifugal force in action, science teachers can allow them to conduct dramatic science experiments. These hands-on experiments engage the student and make for a memorable learning experience.
Egg in a Jar
In this physics experiment, a hard-boiled egg is sucked into a bottle by air pressure, and then pushed back out. The experiment uses fire and requires the supervision of an adult. To conduct the experiment, allow a hard-boiled egg to cool and place it pointy end first into the neck of a glass jar or bottle. The opening of the jar should measure a couple of millimeters smaller than the egg. Ball up a small piece of paper and light it on fire. Remove the egg, place the lit paper in the jar, and quickly replace the egg. Because the air pressure outside the jar becomes greater than the air pressure inside the jar, the egg gets pushed into the jar.
Fossils provide information about how plants and animals have changed over time. To create a fossil, knead softened modeling clay into a pancake shape. Press a leaf, shell, bone, or other natural object into the clay to form an impression; remove the object. Fill the impression is with white glue and dry overnight. The next day, remove the glue is; a “fossil” remains. This experiment shows how fossils are created, with the glue acting as rock that forms over plants and animals to preserve their shape for millions of years.
Tornadoes, weather events involving twisting wind funnels, can cause major damage and are awesome to behold. In this experiment, students create their own twister in a jar. To perform the experiment, remove the lids from two plastic soft drink bottles. Using a strong glue, attach them to each other, back-to-back. Adult supervision is required to punch a hole in the center of the lids using a nail or drill. Fill one bottle with colored water and glitter, and screw the lids down so that the two bottles are attached at the lid with the full bottle on top. When the bottles are rotated, the water twists down into the empty bottle and a vortex forms. Centrifugal force creates the resulting “tornado,” and the colored water and glitter make a dramatic display.
- glass beakers image by Mark Aplet from Fotolia.com