Activities List

Science Carnival Activity write-ups are available for the below websites. Brief descriptions of the activities are provided below.

  • Agar Spaghetti:  Agar agar and orange juice are used to make edible, orange-flavored worms.
  • Air Ball Bowling: An air cannon is used to knock down a stack of cups.
  • Air-Powered Rockets: Air compressors are used to pressurize a PVC manifold and used to launch a student-built rocket made from cardboard.
  • Alka Selzer Rockets: Students examine the effect of the amount of alka selzer and water on how high a film canister shoots.
  • Art Bot:  Students construct vibrating Art Bots that draw pictures.
  • Baking Soda Fire Extinguisher: A series of candles of varying height are placed in an aquarium and sodium bicarbonate and vinegar are mixed.  As the CO2 level rises in the aquarium, the candles sequentially extinguish.
  • Bath Fizzers: Fizzing bath salts are made using an acid-base reaction.
  • Bed of Nails:  A volunteer lies down on a bed of nails with an apple between the nail bed and themselves; participants can attempt to pop a balloon on a mini-bed of nails.
  • Berry Drops: Sodium alginate and calcium chloride are used to make edible, berry-flavored beads
  • Boo Bubbles: Bubbles are generated using carbon dioxide from dry ice leading to bubbles that one can hold using gloves the pop to form a white cloud.
  • Build-A-Lung: Students make a working model of a lung.
  • Clay-ate the Cardiovascular System: Clay is used to depict the cardiovascular system of humans.
  • Colored Flames: Various metal salts are dissolved in ethanol and sprayed into the flame of a butane torch.
  • Colorful Gases:  Gas discharge tubes are excited using a high voltage source leading to different colors of light being given off.
  • Crime Scene Investigators (CSI): Various activities related to crime scenes including making giant glowing fingerprint helium balloons, blood spatter patterns, and observing fake blood stains using luminol.
  • DNA Extraction:  DNA is extracted by blending a banana or strawberry and combining the mash with detergent and rubbing alcohol.
  • Dr. Glow and Dr. Lumos: Fluorescent dyes are displayed under a black light to show the different colors of light given off, a solution of TCPO (glow stick chemical) reacts with bleach, and luminol reacts with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Dry Ice Carbonation: Dry ice is added to punch leading to a bubbly cauldron of carbonated punch.
  • Dry Ice Crystal Ball: A bubble is formed over dry ice mixed with warm watter leading to a large bubble forming that resembles a crystal ball.
  • Egg in a Bottle:  A hard-boiled egg is placed over the opening of a flash into which a flaming, isopropanol soaked cotton ball is dropped; as the flame extinguishes a vacuum is generated that pulls the egg into the flask.
  • Elephant Toothpaste: Hydrogen peroxide is mixed in a large graduated cylinder with liquid detergent and either liver extract or sodium iodide to cause oxygen gas to be released. A column of foam rapidly exits the cylinder.
  • Flaming Gummy Bear: A gummy bear burns in molten potassium chlorate.
  • Flubber: A mixture of starch and Elmers Glue results in a gooey mass.
  • Ghost Eggs: Students observe how polymer beads swell to form egg-like objects that “disappear” in water.
  • Giant Bubbles: Kids make various bubbles using speciality bubble solution mixtures. Includes standing in a large bubble.
  • Glow Powder Drawings: Kids use glue to create a drawing which is then sprinkled with glow powder; the resulting art created will glow in the dark.
  • Glue Gak: White glue is mixed with laundry borax leading to the formation of gak.
  • Gold and Silver Pennies: A penny is soaked in a a mixture of zinc powder and sodium hydroxide and heated leading to silver and gold pennies.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow: Students learn about how seeds sprout and plant their own seeds to watch them grow.
  • Instant Snow: Sodium polyacrylate powder can absorb many times its mass in water. Use NaCl to partially shrink the polymer by driving out the water.
  • It’s Electrifying: A van de Graaf generator and plasma globe are used to light neon bulbs and fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Liquid Nitrogen Dippin Dots: Liquid nitrogen is used to make homemade ice cream dip-N-dots.
  • Liquid Nitrogen Effects: Various activities including shrinking of long balloons, spinning of ping pong balls,and freezing oreos, miniature marshmallows, and saltine crackers.
  • Magic Pitcher: Solutions of phenolphthaline, dilute sodium hydroxide, and vinegar are mixed resulting in the appearance and disappearance of a pink color.
  • Magnetic Goo: Students make a magnetic goo that can be attracted to a magnet.
  • Make a Motor: Students wind a coil of copper wire and make a motor that they can take home.
  • Make Your Own Hair Gel: Students learn how two solutions can be mixed to make a thick hair gel.
  • Make Your Own Lip Balm: Students make lip balm by melting bees wax and mixing it with fragrances and oils.
  • Make Your Own Perfume: Students make a perfume by mixing fragrances with ethanol.
  • Make Your Own Stress Ball/ Juggling Ball: Kids fill a balloon with sand using a vacuum chamber to inflate the balloon/ demonstrating how the lungs work.
  • Makey Makey/ Banana Piano: A Makey Makey keyboard interface is used to play music or flash lights using objects like playdough and bananas.
  • Mentos and Diet Coke: Mentos candies are placed in a 2L soda bottle leading to a jet of soda being blasted out of a hole in the lid.
  • Money on Fire: A dollar bill is soaked in rubbing alcohol containing water and set on fire; the bill does not burn.
  • Oil Spill Clean-Up: Kids learn how oil spills affect the ocean and how they can be cleaned up.
  • Oobleck: The fixotropic properties of corn starch can be investigated by trying to punch a hole in it and seeing it dance on a speaker.
  • Owl Pellet Dissection: Owl pellets are dissected and the bones found in the pellet are identified.
  • Pencil Lead Light Bulb: Electricity is run through a mechanical pencil lead resulting in a glowing light.
  • Ping Pong Ball Accelerator: A ping pong ball is placed in a clear PVC tube which is evaculated.  A hole is generated at one end of the tube and the ball accelerates to supersonic speeds allowing it to go through a piece of 1/8″ plywood. The speed of the ball is measured to be supersonic.
  • Pixie Stix: Students make Pixie Stixs by mixing food grade citric acid and dextrose.
  • Prints from the Past: Kids get to make their own cast of a fossil mold using clay.
  • Propane Mamba: Butane gas is bubbled through a soap solution resulting in flammable bubbles that are ignited on the demonstrator’s hands.
  • Rainbow Juice: Food grade citric acid, sodium citrate, red cabbage juice. An acid-base reaction generates a fizzy, color-changing drink.
  • Screaming Cup: A wet string is pulled through a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup leading to spooky sounds.
  • Self-Carving Pumpkin: A carved pumpkin (removed face pieces still intact) is filled with acetylene gas and a spark source/ flame causes a minor explosion that propels the face pieces out of the pumpkin.
  • Selzer Freeze: A bottle of selzer water is chilled in a salt-ice mixture; when opened, the  contents of the bottle immediately freeze.
  • Slime: A solution of polyvinyl alcohol in water is mixed with laundry borax leading to the formation of slime.
  • Smoke Rings: A fog machine is used to fill a trash can with smoke and a smoke ring is generated by tapping the base of the trash can.
  • Soap Monster: A small piece of ivory soap placed in a microwave grows into a large mass of soap flakes.
  • Sodium Alginate Beads and Worms: A solution of sodium alginate is added to calcium ions resulting in beads or worms, depending on the mode of mixture of the two solutions.
  • Tie Dye and Spin Chromatography: Students use water and isopropyl alcohol to separate a mixture of dyes from marking pens, Kool Aid, or candy coatings using filter paper chromatography.
  • UV Bracelets: Kids get to make bracelets that change color under UV light.