Coffee as Science

Coffee. How many of us can’t get our day started without a cup of coffee? It seems like everyone has a saying or joke about it. Today, I wanted to share this very clever fabric expressing a love for coffee. It’s called Coffee as Science by Virginia Odien.

Coffee as Science

This design is so creative! Coffee is being brewed in a chemistry lab setting, creating happiness in a mug. Coffee beans, a coffee pot, spoons of sugar, pitchers of milk and water are placed together with flasks, tubes, a Bunsen burner and the chemical structure of caffeine. It’s a fun scene where one mug filled with water is sad, and the other mug, filled with coffee, is happy. I love the little hearts inside the structure of caffeine!

This fabric, and all of Virginia’s amazing designs, can be found at her shop on Spoonflower, here.

What’s your favorite expression about coffee?

Mad Science Lab Trunk or Treat

Adventures in creating a mad science laboratory for Halloween Trunk or Treat.

Have you ever participated in a Trunk or Treat event for Halloween? I participated in my first one this year. It was so much fun!

Of course, the big decision was, how am I going to decorate my trunk? How do you decorate a trunk? How do you fill a whole trunk with stuff and not go broke?

By now you probably know that I love science. I really wanted to make a science lab. I don’t have any official scientific equipment, though. I have a lab coat, safety glasses, and gloves to use for a costume, but nothing to fill a trunk.

I went shopping at Dollar Tree, hoping to find something there. I found some caution tape, creepy bugs, glow in the dark rats (lab rats!), plastic eyeballs, and nasty teeth. I even found some green candy fingers. A plan was beginning to form…

I’d set up some jars of disgusting stuff to look like a mad scientist’s storage room. I could use a few old peanut butter jars to hold my “specimens”.

Specimen_Jars

Every lab has liquids for experiments. I filled a few plastic orange juice containers with water, colored them with food coloring, and put “poison” and “acid” signs on them.

Poison_And_Acid_Bottles

I added mineral oil and colored water to small bottles for bubbly concoctions.

Oil_And_Water_Bottles

Then I made a batch of slime and added a few plastic baby spiders to it to make it look extra creepy.

Slime

Free scientific icons can be found on openclipart.org, like the Radioactive and Biohazard symbols, a skull and crossbones for Poison, and images of a beaker and flask.

Science_Signs

I made a sign for my laboratory: “Science Lab. Danger. Do Not Enter” using a neon green poster board and pasted the beakers and flasks on it.

Science_Lab_Sign

Although this sounds like a lot, it was definitely not going to fill up my trunk. It was just a couple of peanut butter jars and orange juice containers with a bowl of candy in the middle. I really had to think about how to make my idea work. I had to make my trunk smaller. It took a while, but I finally had an idea! I had a bunch of cardboard boxes sitting around. I used them to block off the deepest part of the trunk, and to fill up the sides, leaving a much smaller area in the center. I threw a black plastic table cloth on top of the boxes to clean it up. Then I stacked everything on top. It worked!

Mad_Science_Trunk

Now, I wouldn’t be Zinnia’s Closet without my goody bags. I made MINI bags for everyone. They were big enough to hold 3 Fun Size pieces of candy, just enough for a trick-or-treater.

Mini_Goody_Bag

Trunk or Treat was a success! Almost 100 kids came to the event, it was amazing!

Halloween_Goody_Bags

In case you are wondering, here’s how much it cost:

  • Eyeballs: $1
  • Teeth: $1
  • Bugs: $1
  • Rats: $1
  • Fingers: $1
  • Caution Tape: $1
  • Poster Board: $0.72
  • Mineral Oil: $1.98
  • Baby Spiders: $0.98
  • Glue for Slime: $1
  • Black Table Cloth: $0.94

Not even $12 in total! (I had borax for slime and food coloring already, that will add another $8.)

Happy Halloween!

Happy National Chemistry Week!

Celebrating National Chemistry Week with Science Fair 2 fabric by Robert Kaufman.

Science Fair 2 Laboratory

National Chemistry Week is October 21 to October 27, 2018.

I am so excited to share this amazing new science fabric with you! The series is called Science Fair 2 by Robert Kaufman. The official name for this pattern is SRK-17929-205 MULTI, but I like to call it Chemistry Lab.

This multi-colored fabric contains scenes from a chemistry lab on a gray background. A flame heats a beaker on a ring stand, while liquids in flasks are distilled into other beakers. Single beakers, flasks and small tubes are scattered throughout the pattern. Colors include red, orange, yellow, lime green and sky blue.

I hope you enjoy this fabric and have fun during National Chemistry Week!

Family Science Night

Planning science night for 500 kids on a $150 budget.

Every year my son’s elementary school has a Family Fun Night hosted by the PTA. This year’s theme was science! Many of the area STEM camps and science companies had displays and activities for the kids. The PTA asked if any parents had ideas for experiments, and I volunteered. There are so many things you can do to teach science to young children! 

Picture this: Hundreds of families milling about on the soccer field. Music is playing. Food trucks are lined up with concessions. There are inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses. Drones are flying overhead. Companies have booths set up with information and activities. Now throw in a laboratory. This can be quite challenging.

My first thought was: science and food do not mix. You never eat in a lab. It’s not safe.

My second thought was: kids are literally going to be running around everywhere. Who is going to pay attention long enough to do a science experiment?

Now throw in a few more challenges:

  1. Only three weeks to prepare.
  2. Budget of $150 for up to 500 kids of all ages, mostly grades K-5.
  3. No electricity available in the middle of a soccer field. No flames. No dangerous chemicals. No dry ice.

I really wanted to do experiments that were different than the classic baking soda and vinegar reaction that most kids have seen. Isolating DNA from bananas or strawberries would be cool,  but that would take too long. Making plastic milk would be interesting, but that reaction requires heat if you want to do it quickly. Making bath bombs or perfume or lip gloss would be interesting for the girls, but it would break the budget. The goal was to get a bunch of experiments together, allowing about 500 kids to participate in each activity.

Two experiments were requested by the PTA members: Mentos Geyser and Slime. Slime for 500 kids can get expensive. A gallon of glue costs $15 in the craft stores, and they don’t allow coupons. There goes a third of the budget just for slime!

I spent a few days thinking about appropriate experiments and here’s what I came up with. Clicking on each experiment will take you to a website that describes how do it. 

Mentos Geyser Add a few Mentos to a bottle of Diet Coke and watch it explode.

Slime Add Borax to Elmer’s Glue to make slime.

Can you fit through an index card? Fit your body through one index card using only scissors.

Tie Dye Milk: Drop some food coloring in milk, add a drop of dish soap and watch the colors run.

Dancing Raisins: Add raisins to a jar of carbonated water and watch them dance.

Toothpick Race: Float toothpicks in water, add dish soap and watch them race.

Stained Glass Glue: Drop some food coloring onto glue, add a drop of dish soap and watch the colors spread.

Magic Mud: Add water to cornstarch- is it a solid or is it a liquid?

Water Beads- Add water to polymer beads and watch them grow.

Rain Cloud: Add a layer of shaving cream to a jar of water, drop some food coloring on top, and watch it rain.

Dissolving Candy: Place several M&M’s on a plate with a layer of water. The colors will dissolve, but will not mix.

Salt Volcano: Add oil and water to a jar, then add a teaspoon of salt. The salt will pull the oil into the water, then it will dissolve and the oil will float back to the surface.

Bubbling Blob:  Add oil and water to a jar, then add an Alka Seltzer tablet for a lava lamp effect.

I’m happy to say I came in $20 under budget. I was lucky to find glue on sale on Amazon. The experiments were not as well rounded as I would have liked, but they were colorful and entertaining and the kids had a great time. My favorite experiment was the Stained Glass Glue. I had never done that experiment before, and I enjoyed the designs the colors made. Here’s a picture of the experiment we did at home:

Stained Glass Glue

Have you ever done science experiments with a large group of people? What experiments did you try?

Science in Space Fabric

Science in Space fabric by Timeless Treasures features classic science icons on a starry blue background.

Science in Space

Today I wanted to share with you another fun science fabric!

Fabric Name- Timeless Treasures Science in Space Midnight

Material- 100% cotton fabric

Background color- Midnight blue

Theme- Science

Description:

Timeless Treasures Science in Space fabric features classic science icons over a starry outer space background. There are microscopes, flasks, test tubes in a test tube rack, strands of DNA, atomic rings, a magnet, sine waves, other waves, E=mc², chemical structures, ball and stick models and mathematical equations. The background is midnight blue with sky blue space clouds and dust. White stars are sprinkled throughout the fabric, giving everything a sparkling look.