Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

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pernero
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Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby pernero » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:21 pm UTC

I'm looking for ideas for science experiments for my student teaching experience at the grade 9/10 level

One I really love involves putting an inflated balloon up to a candle and watching it explode. I then show the students a balloon filled with water, and ask them what will happen if I put it up to the flame. Sure enough, it doesn't explode and actually takes a very very long time for there to be a rupture. I then explain the principles at work.

I'm looking for simple, 15 minute experiments like that.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

Have students make clocks with a variety of stuff. I remember writing a TI-83 script to do the job.
Have students hydrolyze water into plastic pipette heads, and then light them (rockets!)
Egg drops?
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby pernero » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:40 pm UTC

The experiments, including any explanations, are only to be 15 minutes long. They're just micro-experiments. Science-fair type things.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby _Axle_ » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:57 pm UTC

Showing Total Internal Reflection in water with a laser pointer and a 2 liter bottle, then poking a hole and have the light follow the water stream.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Cynwulf » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

Try browsing through the home experiment thread for ideas.

Kids love fire, so any experiment with heat or combustion will be a winner. I fondly remember calorimeter experiments where the class burned various food items (peanuts, marshmallows, etc) to determine their energy. Fun stuff, especially if you could clandestinely nibble some of the fuel sources when the teacher wasn't looking :3
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Charlie! » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

Dropping a magnet through a copper tube and having it take longer to fall. Swinging a copper pendulum between two magnets and watching it stop. Taking a big loop of wire formed into 2 smaller coiled loops, passing a magnet through one and observing that there's a force on a magnet in the other.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby minno » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

Mine is a demonstration of the difference between a compound and a mixture.

Fill a cup with water, and gingerly drop a match in and then flinch, like you were expecting an explosion. Then, take a balloon full of hydrogen and light it with a match on the end of a stick.

First one is a compound of H and O, the second is a mixture. Big difference.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby meatyochre » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

My chem teacher did some fun, moderately risky experiments. Including shooting a rubber stopper from a coffee can across the entire lab to demonstrate something about combustion. Another good one was when he gave all of us a clear plastic filter of some kind to shield our eyes and watch while he burned some kind of metallic silver substance. Phosphate maybe, or magnesium? I can't remember, but it was really cool. He said if we didn't look at it through the filter it would have blinded us.

Oh also I just remembered! He had one of those magnetic mixing thingies, it looks like a hot plate. And he put some kind of magnet into the flask and it would spin around, as a hands-free mixer. Then he mixed a variety of compounds (don't know what or in what order) to keep changing the color of the liquid. And then in the end he added something that changed it back to clear. Very cool.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Josephine » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:54 am UTC

meatyochre wrote: Another good one was when he gave all of us a clear plastic filter of some kind to shield our eyes and watch while he burned some kind of metallic silver substance. Phosphate maybe, or magnesium? I can't remember, but it was really cool. He said if we didn't look at it through the filter it would have blinded us.

Probably magnesium.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby KrO2 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:21 am UTC

One of my favorite demonstrations involved methane-filled bubbles; they would float up to the ceiling, then be popped by a spark on the end of a pole. The fireballs were spectacular. I can't remember what exactly that was supposed to be teaching us, but it sure looked cool.

Another used lycopodium powder with a setup so that when a brave volunteer blows into a tube, the powder fills the inside of a lit ceramic jack-o-lantern, the increased surface area allows the powder to light on fire, and flames shoot out of the pumpkin's orifices. The two chemistry teachers disagreed as to whether it had to be lycopodium powder; I repeated it at home with flour (which one of them said should have that effect) and it technically worked, but the size of the flames was very disappointing.

So, yeah, anything with fire in it.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Charlie! » Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:40 am UTC

KrO2 wrote:One of my favorite demonstrations involved methane-filled bubbles; they would float up to the ceiling, then be popped by a spark on the end of a pole. The fireballs were spectacular. I can't remember what exactly that was supposed to be teaching us, but it sure looked cool.

Another used lycopodium powder with a setup so that when a brave volunteer blows into a tube, the powder fills the inside of a lit ceramic jack-o-lantern, the increased surface area allows the powder to light on fire, and flames shoot out of the pumpkin's orifices. The two chemistry teachers disagreed as to whether it had to be lycopodium powder; I repeated it at home with flour (which one of them said should have that effect) and it technically worked, but the size of the flames was very disappointing.

So, yeah, anything with fire in it.

Cornstarch is good for making fireballs. It's not really a science experiment though - it's just cool fire stuff.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby The EGE » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:36 am UTC

Tenth grade chem, we did something with turning pennies silver and gold colored. Might have been sodium hydroxide and heat?

Also, dissolving out the zinc from a penny with acid. But beware, that takes seriously strong acid. 5-10M HCl is reasonably quick.

I had the coolest chem teacher. First day of class, he opened a gas valve, clicked a flint nearby. Instant fireball across his 6-foot lab desk.

He let me do so many things with those pennies. I do believe I made one reddish, don't remember how.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby KrO2 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:36 am UTC

In one of my high school chemistry classes (eleventh grade, though) day one involved playing catch barehanded with flaming snowballs. At least that was how we described it to other students afterward. It was some kind of alcohol-based compound that looked like snow and burned easily but not very hot. I wish I could remember how it was made. If our hands were wet, it didn't even hurt to be holding a fireball, though it did give a new meaning to "hot potato," since the water would eventually evaporate. The best part, though, was when one girl dropped it and tried to stomp out the fire. It spread across the (fireproof) floor and burned itself out.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby MadParrot » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:03 am UTC

A chunk of sodium chucked into a bucket of water was probably the most memorable.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby pernero » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:34 pm UTC

Unfortunately I don't have access to classroom chemicals. This experiment is for a Science Curriculum course, aimed at grade 9 and 10.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby masakatsu » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

Had a teacher drink distilled water made from a copper sulfate solution. Heard she poisoned herself a while ago.
Another teacher who made lead azide crystals for a demonstation in Chem II... several of us duplicated the process in lab and doped the back of drawers with them. Kid got a hand broken off.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

KrO2 wrote:In one of my high school chemistry classes (eleventh grade, though) day one involved playing catch barehanded with flaming snowballs. At least that was how we described it to other students afterward. It was some kind of alcohol-based compound that looked like snow and burned easily but not very hot. I wish I could remember how it was made. If our hands were wet, it didn't even hurt to be holding a fireball, though it did give a new meaning to "hot potato," since the water would eventually evaporate. The best part, though, was when one girl dropped it and tried to stomp out the fire. It spread across the (fireproof) floor and burned itself out.

Oh God I have to know what this compound is, that sounds awesome.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby KrO2 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:26 am UTC

I can personally vouch for the awesomeness.
I asked some people who took the same class, and one of them remembered that the teacher had referred to it as a California snowball. It's calcium acetate mixed with ethanol. I've never tried getting chemistry supplies before; does anyone know if calcium acetate is easily obtainable? Ideally it would be easy enough that this should be in the home experiments thread.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Velifer » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

Charlie! wrote:
KrO2 wrote:So, yeah, anything with fire in it.

Cornstarch is good for making fireballs. It's not really a science experiment though - it's just cool fire stuff.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:36 pm UTC

The EGE wrote:Tenth grade chem, we did something with turning pennies silver and gold colored. Might have been sodium hydroxide and heat?

Also, dissolving out the zinc from a penny with acid. But beware, that takes seriously strong acid. 5-10M HCl is reasonably quick.


We did the former one in tenth grade chemistry. I believe you make the "silver" ones by galvanizing them with zinc and a solution of NaOH. You then turn the silver ones "gold" by gently heating them. The zinc and the copper of the penny form a brass coating.

As for the latter one, my teacher mentioned it, but I don't believe we actually did it. I'll note that you need to check the date on the penny for that one. The older ones are solid copper, and while nitric acid will still do ... interesting ... things to those, I don't believe it's the reaction you're thinking of.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby rath358 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:27 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:Oh also I just remembered! He had one of those magnetic mixing thingies, it looks like a hot plate. And he put some kind of magnet into the flask and it would spin around, as a hands-free mixer. Then he mixed a variety of compounds (don't know what or in what order) to keep changing the color of the liquid. And then in the end he added something that changed it back to clear. Very cool.

I believe that is the Briggs-Rauscher reaction. It is made of win.
Unfortunately, it involves expensive chemicals. =[

Actual things that could be done:
-put a lit match in a bottle, put egg on top, watch it get sucked in
-show that diet coke/mentos doesn't work when mento is ground up/soaked/frozen in ice cube/painted/etc, like they did on mythbusters

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:23 am UTC

When I was in tenth grade, we did an experiment with a spring-loaded device that fired small ball bearings. We would measure how far it went at certain angles, then predict how far it would go at a different angle. Required a fair amount of algebra, some carbon paper, and far more than fifteen minutes, but I still found it really cool that you could take the kinematic equations--which we did a not-all-that-rigorous derivation of--and, by thinking hard enough, extract predictions about reality.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby meatyochre » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

rath358 wrote:I believe that is the Briggs-Rauscher reaction. It is made of win.
Unfortunately, it involves expensive chemicals. =[

I wikid it and I think you're right! Man, that was so cool. I'm really glad I have a name for it now, I'm going to youtube after work and see if anyone demonstrates it :)
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby nehpest » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:45 pm UTC

I recently sat through a seminar at my school's physics department where they did 26 basic demos in a little over an hour. Some of the more exciting ones included:
  • Anything involving liquid nitrogen. Freezing/smashing the rubber ball demonstrates the effect of temperature on material properties. Mixing LN with dish soap creates an enormous mass of quickly-expanding suds, illustrating the ideal gas law (temperature increase causes a commensurate volume increase). Drop a room-temperature mass (we used a metal chain) into a vat of LN and use the gas to inflate a balloon (ideal gas law again).
  • Coupled pendulums are kinda neat, and can demonstrate conservation of momentum among other things.
  • Redirecting laser light with a piece of plastic is good. Using the same piece of plastic to demonstrate internal reflection is even better!

This isn't strictly physics, but in my 10th grade chem class the teacher used our last day before Christmas break to demonstrate a thermite reaction out in the parking lot (prior approval recommended here!)
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Dark Knight Bob » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:43 pm UTC

caesium + bowl of water = PROFIT!

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby The EGE » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:01 pm UTC

Better than ball bearings: water balloons.

Measure the spring constant of the launcher, find mass, apply kinematics. Launch from second-floor window. ???. Profit.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Carlington » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:27 pm UTC

We had a teacher make touch powder for us once, that was pretty cool. Another fun one we did was measuring students' lung capacity with a large cylinder of water and a small pipe though which we blew air.
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Jakell » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:09 am UTC

Have you thought about vacuum packing kids? If you get a regular vacuum, and a large trashbag (big enough for the kid to kneel down in, and keep their head out above the bag) you can put the vacuum hose down by their chest and suck out most of the air. THe kids become locked in place by the pressure, and are easy to topple! (much to their delight, and the delight of others, of course)
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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby letterX » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Jakell wrote:Have you thought about vacuum packing kids? If you get a regular vacuum, and a large trashbag (big enough for the kid to kneel down in, and keep their head out above the bag) you can put the vacuum hose down by their chest and suck out most of the air. THe kids become locked in place by the pressure, and are easy to topple! (much to their delight, and the delight of others, of course)

Had to read this three times, with increasing astonishment at how totally unsafe this idea would be, before I read this line:
Jakell wrote:(big enough for the kid to kneel down in, and keep their head out above the bag)


Oh well. I guess all our classroom experiments can't be designed to cause mass fatalities.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby B.Good » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:51 am UTC

Last year in my physics class we went over index of refraction which our teacher demonstrated by placing several beakers inside of each other and put (I think it was) vegetable oil in the beakers and the beakers looked like they were disappearing.

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Re: Memorable science experiments from grades 9 or 10.

Postby Ulc » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:51 am UTC

One that I did in the first year of highschool for my students, which *really* woke them up was demonstrating something about reaction rates, how the reaction goes faster if the compounds that are to react are in more contact.

Have two small beakers filled with ethanol (pure, 96% is best) and pour one of them on your desk, preferably in a very nonchalant manner, and place the other on your in a place where it isn't in contact with the ethanol that was poured out.

Ask your students which one will react faster.

Demonstrate by setting them both on fire (don't worry, your desk wont be harmed!), and keep lecturing while it's burning.

Another one that requires a bit more knowledge (basic thermochemistry) is writing a equation for something that goes 'boom' on the blackboard, and tell them "this is what we're going to do tomorrow, but since I'm quite fond of my fumecupboard, we'll have to figure out how big I can make it, without losing my fumecupboard. Here's the limit"

I don't think I've ever seen my students quite that active in figuring out the right answer to how much of each reactant we should use.
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