Among my favorite new pieces of science equipment are my liquid nitrogen dewars. A dewar is a special container designed to store liquefied gases. It is like a special thermos but much larger. When you have a dewar and are trained in safely handling one, you can do science experiments with liquid nitrogen.
Liquid nitrogen is a super cold liquid version of nitrogen. It is so cold that is boils at −320 °F. That is 352 degrees colder than the temperature that makes water freeze. And it is even colder when it is still a liquid! That’s cold!
One of my favorite demonstrations with liquid nitrogen is making a ‘smoke cloud.’ The smoke is actually a nitrogen being released as a vapor. In this demonstration, you poor warm water into a container of liquid nitrogen. The extreme temperature change causes the nitrogen to turn into a vapor immediately, and if you watch closely, you can see little chunks fly out, which are piece of a ice that were instantly frozen by the liquid nitrogen. That’s really, really cold!
Follow this blog or subscribe to the Yuck Science youtube channel to see more liquid nitrogen demonstrations soon!
I hit the streets again and did some elephant toothpaste demonstrations with passersby in front of a really cool mural near downtown Houston. Check out the video below!
Elephant toothpaste is getting to be a really popular science demo! It is a chemical reaction using hydrogen peroxide and a catalyst to increase the release of oxygen. The oxygen in caught in dish soap, creating the foam. I use potassium iodide as the catalyst and a really strong hydrogen peroxide for a really big effect, but those chemicals require careful handling. You can try the demonstration safely at home using the instructions below!
Today, I took the Yuck Mobile on the road and did a science demonstration in a park near downtown Houston with a sweet family and a very nice man visiting from Atlanta, Georgia! We made six Mentos geysers with Diet Coke!
This video shows examples of Bernoulli’s Principle at work! You can try the same thing at home if you have a hair dryer and any small, hollow ball! Or try it by blowing into a bendable straw bent upward like a ‘L’ and a ping pong ball!
Occasionally, students share drawings inspired by the show. Here is one of a girl getting covered in slime! If you would like to submit a photo of your drawing to be published here, you can ask a parent to help you send one. Be sure to do your very best . . . a lot of people might see it!
This is a favorite video of mine, compiled from clips from the 27 shows we did at Odessa’s Permian Basin Fair in 2009. 25 people get pies in the face, to the tune of Grieg’sIn the Hall of the Mountain King. If you would like to see the full videos, you can find them on YuckTV!
There’s no question that people getting pies in the face is a highlight of the show. The video above is a compilation of clips from a series of shows we did at the Kemah Boardwalk. For more slime and cream pie videos, you can check out my youtube channel, YuckTV!
The number one question kids ask at the end of each show is what’s in the slime! There are many, many different recipes for making slime. The one I use, I call “theatrical slime” because it is NOT a gooey polymer like you make as a science experiment. It is completely non-toxic and non-staining, and perfect for pouring on someone! It is even safe to eat (though I wouldn’t recommend it).
6 quarts of water
1 box of corn starch
green food coloring
Pour water into a large pot. Stir in corn starch, breaking up any clumps. Add 5-6 drops of food coloring, or more if you like. Bring to a boil (with parent supervision). Stir and reduce to medium-low heat. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slime begins to thicken. Ideally, you will have a smooth, slightly thickened mixture, but if you forgot to stir, you will have some clumps on the bottom. Don’t worry, it’s all good!
LET THE SLIME COOL THOROUGHLY before use. I let mine cool on the stove and transfer then refrigerate it overnight.
Makes one big bucketful, or enough to slime yourself and a friend.
Rinse the pot before the slime dries so it will be easier to clean.
Whoever gets slimed should rinse their hair clean afterwards. Anything that gets on clothes, etc, will come out in the wash or clean up with a damp rag.
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