Gone are the days of boring museums that are just for adults, which is great for kids in Forsyth County thanks to the fun offered at Kaleideum, an interactive museum of arts and sciences geared toward school-aged children.

Kaleideum has two locations, each with programs to promote and engage all ages in science activities.

“Science can sometimes be scary to people, especially girls,” says Caitlyn Zarzar, manager of STEM Theaters. “I want to eliminate that fear and show that science is fun and is for everyone. When developing and running our live science shows, I want kids to ask questions and be inspired to take an experiment I show on stage to try it at home. That’s how I know it was a successful show. Children are our future. Teaching them science and bringing awareness to the world around them inspires them to be the change that our planet needs.”

Since many of us were asked to remain at home because of COVID-19 precautions, Kaleideum has provided some fun science experiments that kids and parents can do together:

“Elephant’s” Toothpaste

This experiment is safe to touch immediately after but do not get in mouth or eyes. Wash hands and surfaces after to avoid food coloring stains. Safety should always come first. You can wear gloves and swim goggles to explain how scientists must wear proper safety equipment to do their experiments.

WHAT DO I NEED?

Empty soda bottle (12 ounce or 20 ounce)

½ cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

2 ¼ teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast Packet

Dishwashing liquid (any brand)

Food coloring (any color)

4 tablespoons warm water

Funnel (optional)

Measuring cup

Set up demonstration either outside or inside with a plastic sheet covering a table or counter.

Pour ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide into soda bottle. Add a large squirt of dishwashing liquid to the hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of food coloring. You can also add the food coloring to the water in the next step for more color.

In a separate cup, add active dry yeast. Add 4 tablespoons of warm water to the yeast and stir with a non-metal utensil(active dry yeast is alive and metal can kill the yeast).

Use a funnel and pour the entire cup of yeast water into the hydrogen peroxide and soap mixture, stand back, and observe what happens.

Variations of the experiment:

You can try this experiment with liquid developer sold at salon supply stores, but this time you should wear gloves since the developer may cause slight skin irritation in some. Foam may feel warm to the touch, give it a minute to cool to room temperature before touching and wash hands shortly after. Do not get in eyes or mouth.

Look for 20 volume (6% hydrogen peroxide) or 40 volume liquid developer (12% hydrogen peroxide.) What happens as you increase the strength of hydrogen peroxide? Does the reaction happen faster? Does the foam spread out more?

Cleanup:

All ingredients can safely be dumped into the sink drain or left outside in the grass since all that is left is water, soap, and a little food coloring.

The science behind the reaction:

Hydrogen peroxide is made of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. When the active dry yeast-water combination is added to the hydrogen peroxide and soap, the yeast acts as a catalyst and speeds up the reaction. The reaction is making the two hydrogen atoms split from the oxygen atoms. The oxygen releases into the air as the hydrogen breaks down into water and creates a foamy reaction. This reaction is called an “exothermic” reaction because heat is being released.

Candy Rainbow Experiment

White light from the sun is made up of different wavelengths (distance between the peaks of a wave). Those wavelengths are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, also known as Roy G. Biv. Each color has a different wavelength, red being longer (meaning it has less energy) than violet. When we see rainbows, there are always rain drops or ice crystals in the sky. Those rain drops or ice crystals bend the light from the sun at different angles and creates the beautiful rainbows we see in the sky.

WHAT DO I NEED?

Candy (Skittles or M&Ms work best)

White glass plate or bowl

Warm water in a cup

Spread candies in a circle around the outside of the plate or base of the bowl. Make sure candies are touching.

Pour about ¼ inch of warm water in the middle of plate or bowl.

Watch as the colors spread out from the candies.

Questions to explore:

How long does it take for the colors to reach the middle? What happens when you use other types of candies? Can you mix the colors? Do the colors stay separated?

The science behind the experiment:

Candy is full of dye and sugar. Water dissolves the sugar while the dye starts to mix with the water and spread out. The colors sometimes do not mix because the dye and water is the same density (how much space something takes up) as the other candies.

For hours, events, and more information about Kaleideum, go to kaleideum.org.

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