Ask An OC Expert: 5 Fun & Easy Science Projects To Do At Home

April 1, 2016 5:00 AM

(credit: Elena Elisseeva/shutterstock)

(credit: Elena Elisseeva/shutterstock)


Science is a very important tool in the world in understanding the way things work. Science is involved in our daily lives from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. It has helped improve the lives of many people around the world when used properly. Keeping future generations interested in pursuing a passion for science has been a challenge. Local OC expert Sumeet Vadera gives his top five tips for fun and easy science projects to do at home to spark the curiosity of science for the kids.
Sumeet Vadera, MD
University of California, Irvine
101 The City Drive S.
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 456-6966
www.ucirvinehealth.org

As an Assistant Professor of Neurological surgery at the University of California, Irvine, Sumeet Vadera shares his passion for science and research through his work daily. “Science and research are extremely important in all aspects of our lives,” said Vadera. “Science is involved in all aspects of our lives.” Teaching children at a young age about how exciting science can be is his recommendation to creating lifelong learners that will improve our understanding of the world. Vadera did his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University and then continued to medical school at Jefferson Medical College. He fulfilled his residency in neurosurgery and epilepsy surgery at the renowned Cleveland Clinic. Here are his top five science projects you can do with the kids at home to spark their interest in science.

Reaction Time
You will need two people and a ruler/yardstick to enjoy this first tip. This will test your child’s reaction time. Person one will hold the ruler at the lowest number and keep it towards the bottom. Person two is to keep their hands next to the ruler, but not touch it. The key is to have the first person release the ruler and have the second one try to catch the ruler as quickly as possible. The goals is to capture the ruler quicker and at a smaller distance than the other. Go back and forth and continue to test those reflexes.

Pupil Check
This will require two people and a dim room. As the first person lowers the lighting in the room, the key is to also see the size of the other person’s pupil. Turn the lights on and note the change in size of the pupil. A flashlight can also be used during this experiment. In fact, try flashing the flashlight in one eye to test the “pupillary response” and noting the change in both eyes. Move the flashlight away and see what happens.

Make Your Own Volcano
Required materials: pill bottle, mound of dirt, vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and food coloring (optional). Take the pill bottle and surround it with the mound of dirt on all sides except for the top. Leave the top open. Place two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of dish soap into the pill bottle. Add food coloring if available. Then for the finale, add the table spoon of vinegar and watch the volcano erupt.

Related: Best Rock Climbing Facilities For Kids Around Orange County

Rock Crystals
Required materials: one cup of water and three cups of sugar, food coloring, clean jar, string wrapped around pencil and boiling water. Add the sugar slowly to boiling water, but make sure that all the sugar dissolves with the water. Stop adding the sugar if you see that it is not dissolving. Grownups will be needed in this step if it is difficult for the child to do. Add food coloring if you like. Then, put the solution into the glass jar and place the pencil on the jar so the string sits within the water but does not touch the sides or the bottom. If you leave this for 1-7 days you will see crystals grow on the string!

Required materials: 7.5 oz Elmer’s glue, food coloring or paint and liquid starch.

Empty the glue into a mixing bowl. Mix it with food coloring or paint. Add the liquid starch in small increments until it gets to desired consistency. There you go! You have homemade silly putty for the kids to enjoy and you can make as much as is needed.

Related: Best Mommy & Me Classes In OC

Elle Toussi is a freelance journalist covering all things Southern California. She has traveled extensively to locations in the Middle East in 2013 and 2014 covering the Syrian refugee situation in Jordan. That experience inspired her to become the founder of InOneMinute.org which uses the power of mobile technology and philanthropy to meet specific needs of women around the world. Her previous work can also be found on Examiner.com and AXS.com. Stay up-to-date on her work at Elletoussi.com.

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