July 6, 2008

Science Experiments Delivered to My Email

So I was checking out a blog I like to frequent, Crumbs on My Floor, and I noticed she had a science experiment posted on her site. I was thinking, hmmm, we really should do more of these and if she can do it (with 4 kiddos like me) then I can do it too. Lo and behold there are many of these type pf experiments and you get a free one each week if you sign up on Robert Krampf's website. That's a bonus for me because it's a weekly reminder as well!

Anyhow, check it out and check out Crumbs on My Floor as well...she always has the best crumbs to share!

Robert Krampf’s Experiment of the Week
Greetings from our home at the beach! Yesterday I finished my last school program for this school year, and I am now taking a couple of days off before I go full steam into video production. The challenge is going to be turning off, getting my brain to realize that it has some time off. That will probably require lots of time on the beach, and lots of ice cream. It is a serious challenge, so I bought extra chocolate sauce.
I was expecting to run into problems with all the wildfires, but the drive home was easy, and fire-free. I did see lots of burned brush, but nothing that was still burning. I did spot several swallow tailed kites along the road, hunting in the burned areas. They are beautiful birds!
What’s New This Week:Video: Extra OxygenHappy Scientist Blog: Butterfly Roost
Extra Oxygen
This time we are going to talk about a very important substance, oxygen. Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe, coming after hydrogen and helium. About 20% of the air around you is made up of oxygen, and it is vitally important to life on Earth. It is also important for combustion, and that is what we will explore today.
You will need:
• a wooden, cooking skewer
• a lighter
• 3% hydrogen peroxide (from the grocery or pharmacy)
• a cup or glass
• yeast
We have seen in past experiments that if you cover a burning candle with a glass container, it will go out when it runs short of oxygen. This time we are going to see how having extra oxygen effects the way things burn. To get the extra oxygen, we will start with some hydrogen peroxide.
Pour some hydrogen peroxide into the glass. Sprinkle some of the yeast into the peroxide and give it a stir. Very quickly you will see bubbles rising, producing foam on top of the liquid.
Light the end of the wooden skewer, and let it burn for a moment. Then blow out the flame. If you blow gently on the burning end, you should see a red glow. It is still burning, but not flaming. Carefully bring the glowing end of the skewer up to the larger bubbles in the foam. The skewer should flare up, bursting into flame.
Why does that happen? Hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula H2O2. That looks very similar to the formula for water, and it is. In fact, we can convert it into water by causing it to give off the extra oxygen.
One way to do that is with an enzyme called catalase. Catalase is found in human cells, which is why this stuff bubbles when you put it on a cut. Those bubbles do not indicate any infection or germs. Instead, they tell you that some of your cells have been damaged, which you probably already know if you are using the hydrogen peroxide. Catalase is also present in yeast, so when you sprinkle yeast into the hydrogen peroxide, you get bubbles of oxygen. When you bring the burning skewer near the bubbles, the extra oxygen causes it to burn very quickly.
That idea is used in high performance fuels. By adding chemicals that supply extra oxygen, the fuels burn faster, giving the engine more power. Now if I could just find a way to do the same thing with a bowl of ice cream.
Have a wonder-filled week.
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Copyright © 2008. Robert Krampf’s Science Education www.krampf.com

2 comments:

Mamacita (Mamacita) said...

My family much prefers Steve Spangler's Experiment of the Week. His videos, lessons, experiments, and blog are more personal and much, MUCH better!!!!!!!!!

He's going to be on "Ellen" this coming Thursday.

Also, have you seen his Bible School experiments? We're going nuts here, in sheer delight!

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/vacation-bible-school-supplies.html

Robert Krampf's stuff is good, but honestly? It seems to be mostly an echo of the Spangler stuff, and not nearly as well presented.

Angela said...

Thanks for the great suggestion! I will try to catch him on Ellen!