When I was growing up, my school did not do a science fair. I had never been to a science fair until my oldest was in kindergarten. All I knew was it had something to do with baking soda volcanoes.
Fast forward several years, and I now organize the science fair and encourage kids to get involved. Through Steve Spangler Science, I also help parents, teachers and students with their projects. Science fair and volcanoes may go hand in hand, but the ever popular demonstration is not actually a science fair project.
A science fair project asks a “what if” question, which leads to a variable and eventually finding an answer or at the very least, a big discovery. A science demonstration, like our volcano, is used to illustrate a science concept.
Another extremely popular demonstration is quickly taking over the volcano as a classic science fair project – dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. This is also a demonstration.
But can you take a demonstration and turn it into a science fair project? Absolutely. All you need to do is C3 it. The three C’s stand for Change,
Only a very cool teacher gives this kind of homework to her students… “Using only construction paper and tape, I want you to design a rocket.” Lisa Heaton, the Gifted and Talented teacher showed her students a specially designed rocket launcher made out of PVC plumbing parts from the local hardware store. The idea for the PVC rocket launcher comes from U.S. Space Camp for Educators curriculum. I had the privilege of assisting Mrs. Heaton with the launch of the paper rockets. As the students will share in the comments below, the first launch revealed their design strengths and flaws. The five students with the best launch served as mentors for the rest of the students as they returned to the classroom to repair and redesign their paper rockets. The second launch proved to be the real learning experience – be sure to read comments from the young rocketeers below.
“This rocket launch activity coincides with the students reading Rocket Boys (also known as October Sky) by Homer Hickam. I want these kids to experience first hand the feeling of failure and success
We’re excited about the official launch of our new Spangler Geyser Tube. Think of it as the perfect Mentos loading device to trigger a 30 foot geyser of soda. Just load the Mentos candies into the tube, lock the nozzle in place and pull the pin. Okay, it’s bes
t to pull the pin and then run away. The Mentos drop into the bottle triggering the reaction and the powerful soda geyser comes shooting out the top with enough pressure to reach an incredible height of 30 feet. Onlookers scream, “Do it again!”… and you do.
The Geyser Tube retails for $4.95 and is currently only available at www.SteveSpanglerScience.com However, as a result of our licensing agreement with the maker of Mentos (Perfetti Van Melle), the Spangler Geyser Tube will be released into mass market distribution (all of the major toy stores, print catalogs and online stores) in June 2007.
It’s great to get emails with this subject line… My science fair project placed 1st from an idea from your website! Grant Smith is a 4th grader at S&S Elementary in Sherman, Texas. The “S&S” two small towns, Southmayd and Sadler, are approximately one hour north of Dallas. Grant used our website as a resource to expand on the idea of the Growing Ivory Soap experiment. Here’s Grant’s email about his award…
Mr. Steve Spangler,
My 4th Grade Teacher has taught us many cool Science experiments from your website. I got on your website to give me an idea for my Science Fair Project. I proved that Ivory Soap has air inside of it by showing it floats and expanding it in the microwave. Last week I placed 1st in the 4th Grade that earned me the “Chief Scientist” Certificate. I am very proud of it. I wanted to tell you thank you for your cool website. My teacher loves going to your workshops and showing us your videos too. We learn a whole lot from your website, kits, and books.