Fun with Science is just a VIRTUAL field trip away: With the onsite Fun with Science program on hold, teachers, and students are invited to participate in LLNL’s Fun with Science experience virtually. The program, specifically designed for fifth grade classes, is offered here through a series of videos, each describing a unique experiment. These Fun with Science experiments, performed by LLNL physicist Dr. Leland Ellison, reinforce basic concepts about chemistry, density, air pressure, and states of matter.
Fun with Science
The surprising strength of air pressure is revealed by a series of simple experiments using a vacuum chamber and marshmallows to mimic the effects of entering the vacuum of space.
Water is decomposed into its gaseous components and then reformed in this explosive demonstration. In this experiment, electrolysis of water and the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen are used to demonstrate chemical reactions.
The surprising strength of air pressure is revealed through a series of simple experiments. Fifty pounds of lead bricks can be levitated using nothing more than a single breath of air. Meanwhile, the air we breathe has so much force that it can crush a metal can that is too strong to be crushed by hand.
Experiments with ultra-cold liquid nitrogen demonstrate states of matter, such as solids, liquids and gases, and phase transitions between these states using everyday items. A large CO2 balloon is compressed inside a tiny beaker by freezing the gas into dry ice. Then, a fluffy marshmallow is submerged in liquid nitrogen and shattered into tiny pieces.
In this experiment, “elephant toothpaste” is made by the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using a catalyst to facilitate an otherwise invisible chemical reaction. H202 is decomposed in a graduated cylinder by adding a scoop of potassium iodide. Soap is added to make the mixture foam and food coloring is used to add color and the effect of foaming toothpaste.