Earth Day Science projects from “The Kitchen Pantry Scientist-Biology for Kids”

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

I demonstrated a couple of Earth Day science projects from my new book today on WCCO Midmorning! “The Kitchen Pantry Scientist- Biology for Kids” will be out May 11 and is available for pre-order now, everywhere books are sold.https://cbsloc.al/3dYOTUcHere’s how to make nature bracelets from duct tape and mason bee houses from empty cans, paper straws and rolled paper.

Five Ways Kids Can Decorate Eggs Using Science

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

It’s fun to create colorful, swirling marbled designs on eggs, and there’s science behind the fun! Here’s a brief description of each. Click on the blue titles for more instructions and science explanations.

Olive Oil Marbling: You’ll need hard boiled eggs, olive oil, vinegar, and food coloring. We used green, yellow and brown food coloring to make robin’s egg colors.

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Whipped Cream Faux Marbling: You’ll need hard boiled eggs, a shallow container, cool whip or whipped cream, food coloring, and a toothpick. (Project from Star Wars Maker Lab -DK Books)

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Lemon-Painted Eggs: Dye eggs with cabbage juice and use lemon juice and backing soda to “paint” pink and blue designs on the purple eggs. (Project from STEAM Lab for Kids- Quarry Books)

Natural Dyes: Experiment with fruit, coffee, tea, spices, veggies and even onion skins to create beautiful, natural egg dyes.

Nail Polish Marbling: This one is obviously inedible, but it’s a fun craft project! You’ll need eggs with the yolks and whites blown out, a container that can be thrown away, nail polish in two or more colors, and water. (Project from STEAM Lab for Kids-Quarry Books)

nail polish marbled eggs

The science behind the marbling fun: Egg dyes and food coloring require an acidic environment to form bonds. That’s why you add vinegar (also called acetic acid) to water and dye when coloring eggs. Things that are less dense than water, like olive oil and nail polish, float on top of water, allowing you to create designs that can be transferred onto your eggs.

Holiday Science: Candy Cane Art

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Crying over broken candy canes? Cry no more. Make art!

Candy Cane Art- image KitchenPantryScientist.com

Candy Cane Art- image KitchenPantryScientist.com

This project is from “Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science,” by Andrew Schloss.  For a cookbook full of delicious recipes and the Science-Behind-the-Fun, buy my book Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition here!

*Melted candy can get dangerously hot, so parental supervision is required!

You’ll need:

-candy canes (broken or whole), wrappers removed

-heavy-duty aluminum foil

-a cookie sheet

-a wire cooling rack

-an oven

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What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 250F.
  2. Cover cookie sheet with foil
  3. Place candy canes on foil, not touching each other
  4. Bake candy canes for around 10 minutes and have an adult check them. They should be stretchy, but not too hot to touch.img_5761
  5. When the candy canes are ready, bend, fold, twist and pull them into cool shapes. Try pulling one long and wrapping it around a chopstick to make a spiral. What else could you try?
  6. If the candy gets to brittle to work with, put it back in the oven for a few minutes to make it soft again.

Candy Cane Art- image KitchenPantryScientistcom

Candy Cane Art- image KitchenPantryScientistcom

The science behind the fun:

If you looks at the ingredients of candy canes, they’re usually made of table sugar (sucrose), corn syrup, flavoring, and food coloring. Glucose and fructose are sweet-tasting molecules that stick together to make up most of the sugars we eat, like table sugar (sucrose) and corn syrup. You can think of them as the building blocks of candy.

At room temperature, candy canes are hard and brittle, but adding heat changes the way the molecules behave. Both table sugar and corn syrup contain linked molecules of glucose and fructose, but corn syrup has much more fructose than glucose, and the fructose interferes with sugar crystal formation. According to Andrew Schloss, “the corn syrup has more fructose, which means the sugar crystals in the candy don’t fit tightly together. The crystals have space between them, which allows them to bend and move without cracking.

Here’s a great article on the science of candy-making.

If you’re looking for holiday gifts for a science-loving kid, my books Chemistry Lab for Kids, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids and Outdoor Science Lab for Kids include over 100 fun family-friendly experiments! They’re available wherever books are sold.

Chemistry for Kids book

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Here’s some fun footage of kids doing projects from Kitchen Science Lab for Kids. I miss those mask-less photo shoots! (Book Photos by Amber Procaccini and illustrations by @kellyannedalton.) If you’ve got a young scientist on your list, “CHEMISTRY FOR KIDS -Homemade Science Experiments and Activities Inspired by Awesome Chemists, Past and Present” is available everywhere books are sold!

Hot Chocolate Bombs (Holiday Science)

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Here’s a video on how to make hot chocolate bombs. My tips below.

  1. Buy thin silicone molds like these that make it easy to pop chocolate half-domes out.
  2. Melt chocolate (chips or a chopped chocolate bar) in the microwave at 15 second intervals until almost all of it is melted, but there is still some solid chocolate. Stir until the last of the solid chocolate melts. (If you get the chocolate too hot, it ruins the crystal structure of the fat in the cocoa butter and it won’t re-harden very well.)
  3. Use a spoon or brush to coat the sides of the mold. Put in the freezer (or outdoors if it’s below freezing) for five minutes.
  4. Add a second layer of chocolate to cover any holes and thicken the structure. Put outside for five more minutes and then carefully remove the chocolate.
  5. Put hot chocolate mix and marshmallows in half of a dome.
  6. Add melted chocolate to a small plastic bag, cut the corner off and pipe the chocolate around the edge of the filled half-dome.
  7. Put a second half-dome on top, smooth the seam with your finger and allow the chocolate to hard.
  8. Decorate by piping more chocolate on top and adding crushed candy or sprinkles.
  9. Add to hot milk, stir and enjoy!

Science Books for Kids (Holidays 2020)

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas for the young scientist on your list, here’s Science Magazine’s 2020 list of science books for kids and teens! They’re all finalists for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)/Subaru Science prize and I’m thrilled to have my latest book, Chemistry for Kids, included on the list.

Find the entire list here, along with descriptions and brief reviews of each book: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/books/2020/12/01/books-for-young-readers-2020/

From the Science Magazine review of Chemistry for Kids:
“If you were to choose 25 discoveries to document the progress of chemistry through millennia, what would you pick? In Chemistry for Kids, Liz Lee Heinecke takes us on such a journey, using familiar objects and simple scientific instruments to create straightforward chemistry experiments that chart the field’s evolution over time.
Each chapter is centered on a different experiment and begins with a vivid illustration that highlights a scientist and his or her work. A few paragraphs of engagingly written introduction are followed by colorful photographs of youngsters demonstrating the steps of the experiment. A brief explanation of the chemistry that underlies each experiment wraps up each chapter”


“If you were to choose 25 discoveries to document the progress of chemistry through millennia, what would you pick? In Chemistry for Kids, Liz Lee Heinecke takes us on such a journey, using familiar objects and simple scientific instruments to create straightforward chemistry experiments that chart the field’s evolution over time.
Each chapter is centered on a different experiment and begins with a vivid illustration that highlights a scientist and his or her work. A few paragraphs of engagingly written introduction are followed by colorful photographs of youngsters demonstrating the steps of the experiment. A brief explanation of the chemistry that underlies each experiment wraps up each chapter”

Hard Candy Stained Glass- Edible Science

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Most clear hard candy has what scientists call a glass structure. It’s a disorganized jumble of three kinds of sugar: glucose, fructose and sucrose, which can’t assemble into organized crystals, so it remains transparent when you melt it and allow it to re-harden.

 

Hard Candy Stained Glass “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

To make stained glass for our gingerbread house windows, I adapted the crushed stained glass candy project from my book “STEAM Lab for Kids.” The challenge was figuring out how to create perfect rectangles. After some trial and error, I discovered that scoring the candy when it was still warm and soft created weak points, which allowed me to snap the candy into clean shapes once it had hardened.

Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

You’ll need:

-Jolly Ranchers, Life Savers or another clear, hard candy

-a baking sheet (spray or grease the baking sheet, if not using a silicon liner)

-a silicon liner for the baking sheet, if you have one

-a metal spatula or dough scraper

-an oven

Safety tip: Adult supervision recommended. Hot, melted candy can cause burns. Don’t touch it until it has cooled.

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Unwrap the candy and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet so that they’re close together, but not touching.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  3. Bake the candy for 7 to 8 minutes, or until it has melted. 
  4. Remove the candy from the oven. Tilt the baking sheet, if needed, to fill gaps.
  5. Use the spatula to score (make lines in) the candy, creating whatever shapes/sizes you need.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  6. When the candy has cooled, snap it carefully along the lines you made. (See photo at the top of this post.)
  7. Eat your creations, or use them to decorate some edible architecture.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  8. Try crushing the candy before you melt it for different visual effects. What else could you try?

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

 

 

 

Tabletop Science Trick- Balancing Forks on a Toothpick

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Every object on earth, whether it’s a boat, a person on a bike, or two forks attached to a toothpick, has a single point called the center of gravity (or center of mass) which gravity acts on. This fun trick demonstrates how you can balance the mass of two forks and a toothpick sitting on the edge of a wineglass. The center of gravity on a curved glass exists in the space between the glass and the forks! Amazing!

If you light the toothpick inside the glass on fire, it will burn out when the flame hits the cooling glass. Because the toothpick is so light (has very little mass), the center of gravity doesn’t change much, so the forks remain balanced.