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25 August 2014
We had a very wet public holiday today. Whilst there are some indoor days out we could have gone to we instead decided to have a science day at home. The two main things we did today were to make a cola can cable car and an erupting volcano.
The cable car comes in a kit form. It just requires an empty soft drink can (soda can) and a screwdriver to assemble it with. It involves a bit of assembly, but nothing too difficult.
Once built then a string is tied between to objects (chairs / bed etc.) and the cable car mounted on it. The cable car drives along the string changing direction at each end.
It doesn't come with any batteries (2 x AAA required). I normally by good quality batteries as I find they last longer, but we had some cheap batteries which were bought for kids light toys. I tried with the cheap batteries, which appeared to work at first, but after less than a full cycle the batteries failed to turn the motor, so I then changed to more expensive alkaline batteries which worked well.
The second was a "Horrible Science" Violent Volcano. This kit consists of a plastic volcano container with a small bottle of vinegar and a bag of bicarbonate of soda. It also includes full instructions and a pair of toy goggles.
The instructions suggested using it outdoors due to the mess, but I instead cleared an area of the lounge and we did the experiment on a tray. Our first attempt was quite good. It used all the supplied vinegar, but there was plenty of bicarbonate for subsequent experiments. It provided quite a good flowing volcano.
We added our own vinegar for our second attempt which was similar to the first.
Finally we did one more experiment adding our own vinegar and food colouring. This time it didn't work immediately, so we gave it a little shake and this time it followed it's name of "Violent Volcano". The volcano fired out so much that it hit the ceiling. It didn't take much cleaning up, but it does explain why it suggested trying it outside.
Fun and educational science activities.