After the kids and I learned a little bit about weather, and meteorology, I thought it would be a fun idea to make our own weather instrument. I put in a search for making thermometers with kids and found a tutorial on education.com. You’ve gotta love the World Wide Web! We gathered supplies from around the house, and got started with some fun experimenting! If you want to do a fun and simple experiment to peak the kid’s curiosity, I recommend making this simple thermometer. Here’s what you’ll need, and some pictures to guide you:
- An empty plastic, or glass bottle
- A clear straw – I used a large malt straw
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Food Coloring
- A tray to protect your surface from the liquids
- Start off by measuring out equal amounts of rubbing alcohol, and water
- I only had a little over 1/4 cup of alcohol, so that’s the amount I used. I added the equal amount of water to that
- A funnel is very helpful in making sure the liquid makes it’s way into the bottle, and not onto your counter
- My liquid amount only went about 1/4 of the way up my bottle – which is about where you want it
- Grab a small amount of Play-Doh to hold the straw in place
- Insert the clear straw into the bottle, not letting it touch the bottom
- It should hover over the bottom of the bottle, and some of the straw should stick out of the top of the bottle
- Secure the straw with the Play-Doh, by wrapping it around where the straw, and bottle top meet
- Press to seal
- Pass the thermometer around, and have the kids gently hold the bottom of the bottle without squeezing
- See if the warmth of their hands makes the liquid rise up through the straw
- Try rubbing hands together to get them nice and warm, and try again
- Grab a bowl of hot water, and hold the thermometer in the hot water
- Watch as the colored liquid really rises up through the straw!
- Add ice cubes to the bowl, and watch the liquid slowly drop back down
- Fun! Try all sorts of ideas – Hair dryer?, setting it in the sun?, whatever you can think up!
- Be careful, though – protect your surfaces, and yourselves. If the mixture gets very hot, it might come up through the top of the straw!
- Here’s the source, and the science behind what you are seeing!
~ Melissa – KidFriendlyThingsToDo.com