Halloween is the perfect time to try a spooky science experiment. Kids already have an extra active imagination during this time and are willing to test things a bit further.
This spooky science experiment explores molecules with a Halloween twist. Here’s how to create your own Flying Ghosts Spooky Science Experiment with a few everyday items from around your house.
Building Up the Spooky Start
Before you begin, talk with your child about ways that you could make something fly. Pull out the items from the supply list and ask them what they could utilize to get an object (or a ghost!) off the ground and in the air.
- Effervescing antacid tablet
- Food Coloring
- Plastic Test Tubes or Plastic Bottles
- Glow in the Dark Beads or Clear Beads
- Black Permanent Marker
Directions for the Spooky Ghost Science Experiment
1. Set up your ‘Ghostly Science Station’ by placing all of your supplies within easy reach.
2. Using a permanent marker, have your child draw a ghost face on the beads to place inside of the bottle. Just a few is all you need to prepare. If using Glow-in-the-Dark Beads, be sure to place beads near light so that they will glow before you begin.
3. To begin the first part of this spooky experiment, have your child fill one test tube with oil to 1/3 full, leaving space for the water, beads and an effervescing tablet. Be sure to tell your child to not shake the bottle during this experiment to see the full effect.
4. Add a few drops of food coloring of your choice.
5. Fill the remainder of the test tube with water. Be sure to leave enough space at the top to allow for spooky bubbling effects.
6. Now, add your ghost beads to the combination of oil and water. What happens? Talk through your child’s observations.
7. Spooky Science Challenge: Ask your child if they can make their ghosts fly in the test tube without shaking it. Encourage them to add even more spooky ghost spirits to the test tube during this part of the experiment. Add 1/4 of the antacid tablet to your test tube and WATCH. Did your ghosts fly? Why or why Not? Repeat the experiment and add the rest of the tablet to make the ghost beads fly again. NOTE: Leave the lid off of your test tube to allow for the ghost’s spirits (air bubbles) to escape.
8. Try the experiment again in another test tube with a different ratio of oil and water and observe the change in results. I recommend using a few plastic test tubes so that you can experiment a bit more and compare everything side-by-side.
9. SUPER Spooky Science: Make it extra spooky by turning off the lights to observe your glow in the dark ghosts!
So how does ‘Spooky Science’ work?
This experiment demonstrates for a child that oil will not mix with water. The reason for this is because oil is a hydrophobic molecule. The word hydrophobic literally means water fearing which comes from the Greek language hydros “water” and phobos “fear”.
Oppositely, food coloring is a hydrophilic molecule. The term hydrophilic literally means water loving from the Greek language hydros “water” and philic “friendship”. Because of this, the food coloring has the ability to mix with the water (H2O) through hydrogen bonding, but not with the oil in your test tube.
When you place the effervescing antacid tablet into the bottle, it will dissolve in the water and form bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. The gas rises and takes some of the colored water along with it to the surface of the oil. When all of the gas has escaped out of the top of the bottle the water droplets fall back to the bottom of the bottle. The rising carbon dioxide gas is what makes your spooky ghosts fly!
Hope you have lots of spooky fun with your Spooky Science Experiments this Halloween!
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