Post your science demo here.

The Siphon - By Melissa Venant

Alka-Seltzer Rockets- Laura D. Stone

Purpose: To demonstrate to students that gas release is a source of propulsion. The gas used in this demonstration is carbon dioxide. It is a factor that can affect the motion/movement of an object (film canister).

Target Concepts: Many of the concepts taught in this demonstration are in the subject areas of chemistry, physics, and biology which are subjects taught beyond the scope of the elementary school curriculum. However, some more basic concepts that can be discussed through this demonstration are:

· Force- A push or pull on an object. The carbon dioxide gas from the Alka-Seltzer tablets pushes on the cap or base canister to push it apart.
· Inertia- The tendency of an object to keep doing what it is doing unless acted on by an outside source. The outside source is the carbon dioxide gas that is released from the Alka-Seltzer tablets.
· Momentum- Inertia in motion. The speed and mass of an object determine its momentum. The speed that the film canister rocket travels as well as the amount of water it contains determines the rocket’s momentum.
· Friction- The resistance of motion of surfaces that touch. Friction is created in where the cap of the film canister fits to the canister itself. The canister resists movement until the gas produced forces the lid off.

Target Grade Level: Fifth Grade

All of the concepts listed above are part of the North Carolina fifth grade science curriculum:
· Competency Goal 4:The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate technologies to build an understanding of forces and motion in technological designs.
Objective 4.05: Determine factors that affect motion including:
· Force
· Friction
· Inertia
· Momentum

Materials Needed:
· Alka-Seltzer tablets or similar effervescent tablet such as Aspro Clear
· 35mm film canisters- the white or clear type with the “plug in” rather than ”push over” lids work the best. Fuji film is one brand of this type canister. Usually the photo department at any drugstore will let you have these for free. They usually collect them for recycling.
· Water- hot or cold

· Place an Alka-Seltzer tablet or a piece of one, depending on the size, into the well inside the lid of the film canister. It should jam in there nicely.
· Place approximately 5mm of water into the film canister.
· In a quick motion, place the lid on the film canister and invert it placing the lid on a table or bench or better yet on a sidewalk or driveway outside.
Step back and wait for the “rocket” to go off!

Safety Precautions:
· The rocket does not explode, but it does project up into the air. There is a very small chance that the canister could explode if the lid does not release, but this is very unlikely given the pressures involved. As a precaution, students should always wear eye goggles.
· The film canister gets projected very quickly and can easily damage/break fluorescent light bulbs and/or their covers. Care should be taken to ensure that the projectile film canister cannot impact with person or property to cause damage. This is a good activity to conduct outside if possible.

Questions (to be asked before, during, and after the demonstration:
1. Before: Alka-Seltzer is a medicine that people take for fast relief for an upset stomach or heartburn with headache or body aches. Has anyone here ever taken Alka-Seltzer or do you know someone who has taken Alka-Seltzer before? According to the box, you need to be twelve years or older to take this medicine.
2. Before: What do you think happens when you take Alka-Seltzer? How do you think it works so fast? Alka-Seltzer contains two antacids-citric acid and sodium bicarbonate- which act to quickly neutralize acid indigestion.
3. Before: It says on the Alka-Seltzer box that the tablets are effervescent. Can anyone tell me what that means? Effervescent means to give off gas bubbles. So when we put the tablets into water they give off gas bubbles.
4. Before: Predict what will happen when I put the Alka-Seltzer into the water inside the film canister and put on the lid.
5. During: Which do you think is a better idea?
· Putting the Alka-Seltzer tablet into the lid of the cap, filling the canister and then putting on the lid?
· Dropping the Alka-Seltzer into the bottom of the canister, covering it with water, then putting on the lid?
Why do you think one way is better than the other?
By putting the Alka-Seltzer into the lid of the canister you have more time to put the lid on before the bubbles start. Otherwise you may not be able to get the lid on because the force of the gas bubbles will not let the lid go on.
6. During: Can someone explain in your own words why you think the rocket is being propelled into the air? The carbon dioxide gas bubbles being produced are exerting a force on the canister making it move. (See definition of force on page one)
7. During: What do you think would happen if we used hot water instead of cold water? The rocket will propel into the air faster because of the heat and the gas combined.
8. During: What is the function of the Alka-Seltzer in this demonstration and tell me why you think this? It acts as the fuel for the rocket because it makes the rocket move. Talk about inertia and the fact that the rocket is in an inert state before we add the fuel to it.
9. After: How does changing the volume of water effect the time the rocket takes to take off and the height it travels? Adding more water decreases the time before take-off because the bubbles have less space and force that rocket off more quickly.
10. After: How does changing the amount of tablet effect the time the rocket takes to take off and the height it travels? Adding more tablet decreases the time before take-off because there are more gas bubbles produced. So the rocket takes off quicker.
11. After: How do you think the rocket could be designed to travel higher? By using nose cone size and shapes.
12. After: Why do you think the lid of the canister shoots higher than the Body of the canister? Because the lid is lighter than the body so it goes higher.
13. After: Our rocket did not travel very straight. How do you think it could be designed so that it would travel straighter? By adding fins to the rocket, paying attention to the fin size, shape, and placement.
14. After: What could we do to determine the amount of water and the amount of tablet to use for the fastest/highest rocket launch? We do different trails with different amounts of water and tablet and put our findings in the form of a graph where the two amounts would be the independent variables and the height and time were the dependent variables.

Here are some Photos taken while I did the demonstration for the after-school program:
alkaseltzer_rockets.jpg alkaseltzer_rockets2.jpg Photos_of_Science_Demo_-keep1.jpg Photos_of_Science_Demo-keep3.jpg Photos_of_Science_Demo-keep.jpg


My science journal for GS 4401

Webster’s Dictionary

Alka-Seltzer box

Web Sites:
Main Source for demonstration:

Reflection of Demonstration:

Today I did my science demonstration with the after-school program here at ASU. To my surprise, I knew three of four of the students from tutoring that I have done at Hardin Park School here in Boone. Also one of the fifth graders is in my Girl Scout troop. It was really fun for me to do this demonstration with them. It was also funny for them to see me outside of Hardin Park or our Girl Scout meetings.
The students loved the rockets. I had the older students, fifth grade and up and I wasn’t sure if they would like this demonstration or not. But they all seemed to enjoy shooting off the rockets. They kept coming back for more water and Alka-Seltzer tablets. The students shared the film canisters and the tablets. I had brought seven sets for them to use so there wasn’t enough for everyone to have their own set. We ended up with about ten students in our group, but they all shared and it seemed to work out.
At the beginning of the demonstration, I asked the students what they knew about Alka-Seltzer, what happens when it is put into water and what they thought would happen when I put the tablet into the film canister with water and put on the lid. The students had some really good answers, including a student who knew that the gas inside the Alka-Seltzer would make the rocket canister shoot off. After I did the demonstration, I then asked more questions about what they thought had happened and why. I then gave the pairs of students their own film canister and tablets to try on their own. They all had ASU students helping and assisting them and making sure that everyone stayed out of the way when the rockets were being shot off. I was then able to go around to the different groups and talk with them about the force created by the carbon dioxide gas, the momentum of the rockets, and the friction that is created between the lid and the body of the canister.
Overall, I thought the demonstration went well. If I had had more time, I would have brought the students back together after everyone had a chance to shoot off their rockets and discussed the process further. As I went around to the different groups, I had the students use both hot and cold water in the canister to see if this made any difference in the height the rocket traveled or the time that it took to launch. This could have been discussed as a group. We also could have talked about how the rocket could be designed to shoot off in a straighter path or how we could determine the amount of water and tablet needed to produce the fastest and highest rocket launch.
The students surprised me with the information that they already knew about force and propulsion. There were quite a few fifth graders in this group. I could tell that their teachers had been focusing on science concepts this year, probably more than they would have if there were not an End-of-Grade test now in science. The girls in the group seemed to have a good understanding of the concepts I was teaching and they really seemed to like talking about them. I enjoyed doing the demonstration for the students almost as much as they did. Everyone loves rockets. This is a simple way to teach students the basics of rocket propulsion.


Hannah Milstead
Dr. Bradbury
GS 4401-433
Science Demonstration

(Is the yoke on you?)

Purpose and Target Concept(s):

The purpose is to test the density of an uncooked unpeeled egg’s shell.

NCSCOS Grade 1
Competency Goal 3: The learner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of the properties and relationship of objects.
Objective 3.03: Classify solids according to their properties:
· Color
· Texture
· Shape (ability to roll or stack)
· Ability to float or sink in water.

Objective 3.04: Determine the properties of liquids:

  • Color
  • Ability to float or sink in water.
  • Tendency to flow.
Materials Needed:

v At least__ 2 uncooked unpeeled eggs without cracks
v Bowl
v Your hand (with no rings on)


v Ask a student if they think that they could break an egg in the palm of their hands. Give the student a proposition by telling them that they cannot break the egg by squeezing the egg with just their palm and fingers.

What do you think will happen when you squeeze the egg with all of your strength?

Why do you think that you have to hold the egg this certain way?

v Show the students how the egg should be held in their hand.
v Put the egg in the student’s hand and place their hand over the bowl.
v Have the student slowly close their hand by curling their fingers around the egg.
v Begin squeezing the egg.

HPIM1933redo.jpg HPIM1939redo.jpg HPIM1940redo.jpg HPIM1941redo.jpg

v Have each student test the egg out by squeezing it and trying to breaking it with just their palm and fingers.

Why do you think that the egg will not break after you squeeze it very hard?

What could cause the egg to not crack/break?

What do you think that we could do to make the egg break?

Do you think that the size of a person’s hand determines whether the egg will break?

Would a person’s muscular strength help them crush the egg easier and why?

Do you know what an egg shell is made of?

The structure of an egg is designed to endure a great amount of force. An egg shell is made from calcium. Eggshells are composed of approximately 95% calcium carbonate. Do you know how your mom always tells you to drink milk to make your bones strong? This is why an egg shell is very strong because it is made of calcium. This also helps protect the baby growing inside of the shell. The reason that the egg did not break was because when you wrap your fingers and palm around the egg, pressure is equally distributed throughout the egg shell. Eggs are spherical and are similar to a 3-D arch which is one of the strongest architecture forms.

The curved form of the egg like an arch distributes pressure all over the egg instead of placing all of the pressure in one spot. This is what also happens when you cover your hand over the egg.
When an uneven force is applied to the egg, like cracking an egg on the side of a bowl or squeezing an egg with a ring on your finger, it will cause a crack to form, and then the egg will break open.

Here are some photos that I took of me performing the demonstration at the after school program.
HPIM1942redo.jpg HPIM1943redo.jpg HPIM1944redo.jpg

HPIM1945redo.jpg HPIM1946redo.jpg

Reference Sources

Source of the idea:
Background information:

“Fire or Fiction”
Renee Hennings


The purpose of this assignment is to show children:

1) The oil in a nut can create a flame
2) Once oxygen is cut off from fire, it will extinguish
3) What you see should not always be what you believe

Target Concept:

Competency Goal 3: The learner will observe and conduct investigations to build an understanding of changes in properties

Objective 3.03 Explain how heat is produced and can move from one material or object to another.


1 large mozzarella cheese stick
2 or 3 almond slivers
2 candle holders
1 candle
Matches or lighter


-Put together the fake “candle” before hand and pre-light it, then blow the flame out. This is to make sure the almond sliver looks like it’s been lit.

-I will then bring out both candles, making sure I am far enough away so that students cannot see that there is a major difference between the real candle and the cheese candle.

-I will light both candles with a lighter to show students that they can be lit.

-Once I put the candles on the table, I will ask the students to observe what they see.

-Ask students:

What do you see on this table? How are these two items alike? How are these two items different? What makes you think this? Please make observations about these two items on the table.”

-Once students have made clear ideas about the candles, pick up the cheese candle, while lit, and bite off the top, chewing and swallowing.

-Ask students:

“Do you still believe that what I just ate was a candle? What do you believe it was now? Why do you think this?”

-Ask students:

What do you think that the candle was made of? What do you believe the wick was made of? Why? Why do you think made the wick to continue and burn slowly rather than quickly?

-Ask students:

“Why do you think that the candle did not burn my mouth once I ate the top of the candle?” I will then listen for explanations, and answer any other questions that student have for me.

-I will then describe that the almond sliver works much like the wick in an oil lamp, because the almond sliver is oil based. The oil from the nut serves as the fuel for the fire to continue to burn without totally igniting the entire nut.

-Ask students:

“Why do you think that the flame did not burn my mouth when I ate the top of the cheese stick?”

-Then I will go on to describe that the flame is extinguished inside my mouth due to the fact that the oxygen is cut off once I closed my mouth over the flame. If I need to, I can re-ignite the almond sliver again and let the students see a repeat of the process.

-Ask students:

“What do you think would happen if I had bitten the lit almond off slowly? Why do you believe this would happen?”

-Explain that the quicker you cut off the oxygen supply, the quicker the nut will extinguish. If I were to go slower, the chances of me getting burned are higher.

-Ask students:

“Have you ever heard of the phrase, “You should never believe what you see”? Ask students to possibly give a time in their lives where they have been tricked by someone who was pretending to do something besides what appeared.”

-Make sure to tell them DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! This can be a hazardous experiment, and should only be done by an adult who can handle using fire.

Reference Sources:

Mrs. Kim Shield, Third Grade Teacher at Hardin Park Elementary School

Demonstration Relating to Heat
Lindsay Richard
Dancing Quarter

The purpose of this demo is to get the children to understand that heat makes the molecules move faster and take up more space when they are heated. So when heat is being let inside of the bottle the molecules began to move faster in the bottle and molecules bump into the quarter and it make the quarter move (or the bottle burp). The quarter being wet makes a difference if the quarter is not wet then this demo will not work. Water molecules push against themselves therefore the water made like a seal against the glass bottle. (The water part of this demo is like water on the road when you hydroplane. The water is sealed over which makes your car slide across it. )

- a quarter
- a glass bottle that has a small enough mouth on it to hold the quarter on top without the quarter falling down into the bottle
- First you will get you quarter and wet it will some water.
- Take the quarter and place it on top of the glass bottle.
- Put your hands around the glass bottle. (make sure they are warm you might want to rub them together)
- Then wait and see what happens.
Questions you should ask the students for the demo:
- How do you think the quarter moved or the glass jar burped and the quarter moved?
- Does it matter that the quarter is wet or not? If so why?
- Do you think it matters that my hands are around the bottle?
- Does it matter which side of the quarter you put on the bottle?
- Why do you think that they is steam inside of bottle after you do the demo several times?