Winter Wonderland

Here in Texas, we rarely get snow.

Instead, we can create a winter wonderland–indoors or out–with fake snow!

Science projects with fake snow

  • Create a sensory bin
  • Illustrate the difference between a physical and chemical reaction: after showing your student how the snow absorbs water, let the water evaporate for a few days. The snow powder is the same stuff you started with.
  • Teach the concept of Conservation of Mass. Weigh the snow before adding water. Add water, then let it evaporate. Weigh the snow powder again. It is the same.
  • Demonstrate the concept of absorption

Decorating with fake snow

Fake snow options

Heath Scientific provides two types of fake snow: Magic Snow and Super Snow. Both are a highly absorbent polymer that create realistic-looking snow when you add water.

Super snow also makes a great stocking stuffer!

The Effects of Temperature on Water Absorption in Warblettes

In this experiment, we are going to determine the effect of temperature on water absorption in warblettes.

To complete this experiment, you will need the following:

Procedure

1. Create an ice bath by placing a mixture of water and ice in the 500 ml beaker. Fill approximately 1/2 full.

2. Using a graduated cylinder, pour 50 ml of water into one of the 250 ml beakers. Place the beaker in the ice bath. This will keep the water cold during the experiment. For the purpose of this experiment, it will not be necessary to measure the actual temperature of the water. Our main goal is to compare cold and warm temperatures in general. The water will drop to between 5 and 10 degrees celsius.

3. Using a 50 ml cylinder, add 50 ml of hot tap water to the second 250 ml beaker. The water temperature will be approximately 40 degrees C and will continually cool during the experiment.

4. Add 40 Warblettes to each of the 250 ml beakers. Allow the Warblettes to absorb water for 20 minutes.

5. Take one beaker and pour the remaining water into the graduated cylinder. Measure this amount and subtract from the original 50 ml. This calculation will give you the amount of water absorbed by the Warblettes. Repeat this step for the second beaker.

Result

The warmer temperature water will promote faster growth of the polymer. Compare this to real life applications like:

  • Coffee, tea, sugar, and other solids dissolve faster in hot water.
  • Most bacteria grow best at warmer temperatures (close to human body temperature).
  • Ice on a contusion reduces bruising by slowing blood flow.

Warblettes can be used in many experiments and create interest and excitement while reinforcing scientific principles.

 

Magic Snow

What is Magic Snow?

Magic snow is an absorbent polymer that is safe and non-toxic, it has the ability to expand up to 40 times its original volume. The snow starts out as a simple powder that looks similar to sugar or salt. The magic happens when water or other liquid is introduced to the magic snow, which quickly expands to absorb the liquid.

How is it Used?

Hollywood uses it for special effects, many people use it to decorate for parties, and thanks to its low price you can use magic snow for fun. When using magic snow, use it on a dish, bowl, cup, test tube, or anything else that will help you contain the magic snow. First place the magic snow into the container of your choosing, next sprinkle a small amount of magic snow into the container. Then add a small amount of water and watch it grow. Use more in the following trials once an idea of the amount the magic snow expands is gained.

Example

magic snow

Do not let magic snow into drains or pipes; it will expand causing them to clog. The best way to dispose of magic snow absorbent material is to put it in a plastic bag and then in the trash. Do not rinse the container you use for magic snow creation in the sink, even a little can cause clog. However if you do accidentally clog a drain, a small amount of bleach will clear the drain.

Warblettes Lab Activity Book

In a previous post on warblettes, we conducted a small experiment demonstrating the absorption characteristics of warblettes. There is a small summary below that you can use as a refresher, or you can view the actual warblette experiment.

warblette

Warblettes Lab Activity

As mentioned in the previous post, warblettes are co-polymers that absorb up to 200 times their volume in water. Warblettes are perfect for science fair experiments, in the classroom, or just as a fun activity for your family. Warblettes, which are sometimes referred to as water marbles, are non-toxic and come in clear, red, blue, green, and yellow colors.

The basic absorption experiment we posted on warblette absorption is a simple experiment that uses household objects. Warblettes can be used for much deeper science and educational learning. Heath Scientific has created a lab manual for this purpose.

Warblette Activity Book

The warblette lab activity book has activities for every age student. There are 13 activities ranging from math and graphing to cellular biology. You can use warblettes to demonstrate potential and kinetic energy, change over time (graphing), man-made and natural polymers, and light refraction. The labs include explanations and procedures. If needed, modify the activities to fit your students abilities or needs.

The Labs Cover:

1.) Calculating Volume – Math
2.) Observation Skills
3.) Polymers and Water Absorbtion
4.) Absorption of Household Liquids
5.) Water Absorption and Time
6.) Water Absorption and Temperature
7.) Advanced Measurement – Volume, Calipers, Averaging, and Reading Charts
8.) Graphing – Line Graph
9.) Potential Energy – Comparing Diameter to Rolling Distance
10.) Varying the Height of an Inclined Plane
11.) The Effects of Acidity on Water Absorbtion
12.) Light Refraction
13.) Density

Both the warblettes and the lab activity book are available at Heath Scientific, which has been providing educational supplies for over 20 years.

Warblettes – Teaching Kids About Polymers and Absorbtion

Warblettes are co-polymers that can absorb up to 200 times their volume in water. The warblettes water marbles are perfect for science fair experiments, in the classroom, or just as a fun activity for your family. These water marbles are non-toxic and come in clear, red, blue, green, and yellow. Heath Scientific offers a warblettes lab activity book that includes 13 activities that focus on different subjects like math, graphing, and cellular biology, perfect for science fair projects and classroom experiments. The procedures for running each experiment are explained and the labs can be modified to meet your specific needs.

Enough about the details lets take a look at the Warblettes in action!! As mentioned they are able to absorb 200 times their volume in water. Our experiment compares the warblette, aluminum foil from a chewing gum package, and a piece of paper towel. This will show the differing amounts of absorption between the water marble and these other household items.

warblette-materials

First the paper towell, foil, and the warblette were placed in water bottle caps, then each cap was filled with water. (Note that we are using bottle caps as they are easily accessible in the home. If you wish to measure liquid absorbtion in milliliters, a beaker or test tube will need to be used). The items were left alone for 8 hours allowing them to absorb as much water as possible.

warblette-absorbtion

The picture below shows all of the items after 8 hours of absorption time. As you can see the aluminum foil absorbed no water, which was expected as metal is a virtually non-absorbent material. The paper towel absorbed a little more than half of the water in the cap. Paper towels are designed to clean up spills so it makes sense that this would be the case. Finally the warblette absorbed all of the water available in the cap, we even filled it a second time and it absorbed this too! The warblettes actually lock the water away so that they are not wet to the touch like the paper towel is.

warblette-final

Here is a picture of the warblette before the introduction of any water, as you can see it is very small in comparison to a dime.

warblette-size

This is the warblette at the end of the experiment; note the drastic size change after the absorption of water.

warblette-final-size

Warblettes have superior absorbent properties when compared with the aluminum foil and paper towel. This is an example of an easy and fun experiment that can be done with simple household items. The lab activity book offers more challenging experiments that are better suited for science fairs and classroom experiments. To find more experiments like these visit Heath Scientific, a family owned and operated company, which has been providing teachers, parents and students with educational supplies for more than 20 years. They offer warblettes and many other science supplies, science fair kits, and other fascinating products.