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Kickbutt's Science Notebook

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As you all have no doubt seen, I've been writing one post per day on a kitchen experiment. I just thought, for reference, it would be easier to have in one location. I'll just add a new experiment each day in the replies. Keep on learning!

Ok, I admit it, I'm addicted to science. I would happily throw away all other subjects and just devote my kids learning to that one, if it were possible. Lol! As many of you know, I used to be an aeronautical/electrical engineer. I hold degrees in Physics & Geology. In this post I'll be posting my favorite science experiments. They most often include products found around your house (no fancy equipment needed!)

Each of my kids has a Science Journal. In it they write out every experiment, hypothesis and result. I have them format it the way many colleges require for Lab classes. The journal is one of those bound notebooks.


Experiment title

Supplies: a billeted list of all supplies, with exact measurements and weights

Process: a numbered list of the step by step process used, plus any variations

Hypothesis: what the kids think might happen as a result of the experiment

Conclusion: what the final result of the experiment was, did it match their hypotheses - why or why not. This also includes a paragraph or so explanation of what happened.

Voila. Science is complete! We don't stick to a specific form of science usually, we tend to mix things us. But we do an experiment just about every day.


 Home Educators Toolbox  / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on Jul. 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 6:01 PM
Experiment 13: Erupting Volcano

I know, most of us have done this a million times, but it is soooo much fun! My kids love erupting volcanos so much that we finally made a permanent volcano so they can erupt it over and over!


(most of these measurements are rough)
6 cups flour
2 cups salt
4 tbs cooking oil
2 cups water
Empty soda bottle (16 oz)
Warm water
Red food coloring
6 drops dish detergent
2 tbs baking soda
Vinegar about 1 Tbs
Baking dish
Large bowl


1. Stand bottle up in the baking dish
2. In large bowl, mix flour and salt.
3. Add the water (from the 2 cups) at cup at a time. More might be needed. Mix until you result in a smooth & firm mixture.
4. Use mixture to make the sides of the volcano, smoothing from the neck out and down to the baking dish, trying to make the sides sloping and smooth.Be careful not to cover the opening or drop dough into it!
5. Let your volcano dry
6. Fill the bottle about 3/4 of the way with warm water.
7. Add a few drops of red food coloring to the water
8. Add the few drops of dish detergent.
9. Add baking soda to water
10. Slowly add the vinegar and watch the eruption!

What's Happening?

Chemistry (for older kids). In this experiment you have several chemical reactions that happen in rapid succession. First, the acidic acid in vinegar (the stuff that makes it sour) reacts to the Sodium Bicarbonate in the baking soda, the result is Carbonic acid. But carbonic acid is very unstable, and it rapidly decomposes (an immediate reaction) into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles in this experiment are from the carbon dioxide. The bubbles flow down the sides of e 'volcano' because carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen. In this experiment you get even more bubbles because of the dish soap.


Why do volcanoes erupt? There are several different types of volcanoes and therefore there are several different types of volcano eruptions. In this experiment we are simulating a Strato-Volcano - this is the type of volcano that has steep sides reaching up toward the sky. The eruption of these volcanos usually occurs in stages. These stages can happen in rapid succession or each stage can last days, months, even years!

The inside of a volcano is like a bowl with a bunch of straws sticking out of it. Most of the straws go off in different directions. The 'bowl' is the magma chamber. Magma is liquified rock from deep within the earth. There are cracks, or weak spots in e crust that allow the magma to travel closer to the surface.

Did you know it's called Magma when it's underground, but Lava when it's above ground?

These tunnels (like the straws in the above analogy) are vents. Usually there is one main vent, and many secondary vents.

The closer the magma gets to the surface, the more ground water is boiled into water vapor. If the vents are open, there might be a constant stream of steam that escapes the vent. This stage usually lasts the longest. Water vapor below ground build pressure. If the vent is open enough, it could release this pressure enough to prevent an eruption from happening for years!

But, if the vent isn't open enough, then the pressure with build and build. This is like shaking a closed soda bottle. Eventually the volcano will blow apart in a violent release of pressure. The first part of this kind of volcanic eruption is made up of rock and super heated gas, the rock and dust is usually what remained of the part of the volcano above the blocked vent. (look at videos of Mt St Helen's erupting, where 1/3 of the volcano was blown away!) this bstage of the eruption is called the Pyroclastic Flow - believe it or not, this type of eruption is more deadly than any other stage. Because it is so explosive, it can happen with little to no warning. And the super heated gases and rocks can be thousands of degrees in temp and travel hundreds of miles an hour! This doesn't give people much time to get out of the way. The next stage of the explosion is the ash cloud. When the volcano violently erupts, the stuff too heavy to fly flows down the side of the volcano in the Pyroclastic flow, but dust and ash is very light, most often it is made up of pumice which is very light, and this ash can be blown miles into the atmosphere, but eventually it will come back to earth. Feet upon feet of ash can fall for days, eve, weeks, after the initial eruption.

If this initial explosion destroys enough of the volcano the magma can leak out. In the final stage of an eruption. This stage isn't very often. Most often the pressure is released in the early stages. But if the magma chamber is high enough, or if enough of the vent is blown open, then the magma will spill outward, flowing downhill, much like water. As soon as this super heated rock touches surface air it immediately cools back into solid rock. Eventually this rock will again plug the hole in the end of the vent, and the process begins all over again.

by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM
Quoting blue52:

 Thanks for sharing. I honestly (hate) science and am dreading this School year as Im having to step up the Science area with my son.....


Lol, I've learned that with most kids, as long as you have a visual/kinetic (hands on project) they they will learn tons and you'll be content. Science should never be out of a textbook until high school or college, IMO.
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 7:38 PM

you are awsome... Hope you keep printing these atleast 1 a week... That would be great.

How often do you do this? Thanks, Sheila

by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 7:55 PM
Quoting sheila5745:

you are awsome... Hope you keep printing these atleast 1 a week... That would be great.

How often do you do this? Thanks, Sheila

We are real big on science. My eldest wants to be a doctor my youngest an engineer. We use science experiments as busy work, so nearly every day we do at least one. Since most of these need no special equipment. I keep a bucket of supplies in my dining room (aka my HS storage so the kids can grab whatever they need and get to work. I usually write out about 10 experiments per week and pin them to the fridge so the kids can do them whenver they want. Then, when we are studying something specific, well do the more complicated experiments. But my boys are a little older now - my older son will be 11 in a few weeks, my younger DS just turned 8, so they can work more independantly. But since science is my fall back subject, I've always done a lot of experiments with them.
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 8:06 PM
Good ! Based on your advice its not bad that I have just taught him the basics. He is13/8th grader so I still have time?!

Quoting KickButtMama:

Quoting blue52:

 Thanks for sharing. I honestly (hate) science and am dreading this School year as Im having to step up the Science area with my son.....


Lol, I've learned that with most kids, as long as you have a visual/kinetic (hands on project) they they will learn tons and you'll be content. Science should never be out of a textbook until high school or college, IMO.
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by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 9:25 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting blue52:

Until about 9-10 th grades, it should all be about developing an understanding of the basics, but mostly exploration through hands on stuff. You'll learn the basics but have a much more solid foundation than if it was just textbook stuff. By about 10th it needs to get a little more complicated only if your child is planning on attending college, then he should start to understand how the principles of science can be explained through mathematics. I can tell you, with my college degrees in science, I don't think I used ANY of the techniques or information learned in lower levels.
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 9:27 PM
1 mom liked this
And, thanks for the ego stroking ladies! I kinda needed it today! Lol

As an FYI I plan on adding at least 5 experiments per week for a while so everyone will have a good spattering of experiments from ALL the disciplines of science. I'd like to see if I know 100 experiments that don't require complicated equipment! Lol

 Home Educators Toolbox  / Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on Jul. 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Experiment 14: Falling Cards

This card trick is a conundrum for those who think they have a solid understanding of the forces of gravity. It is great at demonstrating the fact that there are other forces at work when an object is falling.

2 index or playing cards
1 second story window or elevated surface
Video camera (optional)

1. Hold both cards from an elevated surface. You could try varying heights (from a 1st story window, from the top of the table, 2nd story window, etc to see the different results)
2. Hold both cards in the middle of the card. One card needs to be vertical (perpendicular to the ground) the other should be horizontal (parallel to the ground).
3. Let both cards go. What happened? Which card lands first? What behavior did each card demonstrate?


When first released the vertical card falls faster. This is because of the limited surface area. You see air molecules are all around us and they offer resistance to anything floating, or falling, through the air. The horizontal card has more surface area, so it has to pass through more of the air molecules. But, even though the air molecules slow the speed of the horizontal cards descent, it adds stability, so the card remains mostly flat all the way down to the ground. Whereas the vertical card, initially falls more quickly, after a period of time, some of the air molecules push on the edge of the card and cause it to flutter - this adds more resistance as some of the energy is discharged into the movement. This gives the horizontal card a chance to catch up.

Did you know that if your heigh is great enough you could drop a feather and a rock and they will reach the ground at the same time? If your distance is too short then the rock does not pass through enough air molecules to slow it down, so it will drop much faster than the feather. But if you go very, very high, then they will reach the ground at the same time. This is because the force of gravity is a constant. Gravity isn't more or stronger the higher you go. You'd think it would be the opposite - that the night you are the faster you would fall but the OPPOSITE is really true - the highr you are the more air resistance you have to deal with!
by Member on Jul. 23, 2012 at 4:36 PM


by on Jul. 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Experiments 15, 16 & 17: 3-D Cells

It can be difficult for kids to have a solid visual of the 3-dimensional nature of cells when they most often see them in diagram (1-D) form. This experiment is full of kids favorite learning tools - visual/kinetic hands on learning, and candy!

 (These pictures are from a Co-op class I taught)

Experiment 15: Plant Cell

1 box light colored jello (I like kiwi-strawberry, but darker colored jello makes it too difficult to see the inside of the cell - 1 box makes 4-5 cells, so will work for both experiments)
1 box unflavored Knox gelatin
2 Blue or green pieces of fruit roll up (very small ones so one fruit roll-up will make many cells)
2 Red or yellow pieces of fruit roll up
1 tsp Round cake sprinkles (multi-colored)
4 Hot Tomales candy
4 chocolate covered raisins
1 gum ball
1 Twisler (the kind you can peel into strings), cut 1 string into several pieces about 1 inch in length
1 9oz plastic/paper cup per cell
1 plate
1 spoon
1 knife
1 print out of a plant cell

1. Mix jello according to the package instructions
2. Add about 1/2 of the Knox gelatin to your liquid jello (this adds firmness)
3. Pour mixture into plastic cut (make sure it isn't too hot!)
4. Set in fridge and allow to set according to Jello package directions
5. Once set up, carefully remove jello from plastic cup, placing it on the plate. (try not to break it apart)
6. Use the knife to cut the structure in half, turn the top half over anyplace it next to the bottom one on the plate. (so the middle of the structure faces up for both halves)
7. Use your spoon to gouge a small crater in the top so you can insert the gum ball. (if you just press the gum ball in it could cause the jello to rupture)
8. Use your diagram and your spoon to make spots for the other parts of the cell.
9. Once you have inserted all the parts of the cell, carefully reapply the top to the bottom, making a single whole structure!


As I previously stated, this experiment allows a student to get a grasp on the 3-D nature of a plant cell. The individual pieces are called Organelles. The Organelles in this cell are:

Cell Membrane -Cytoplasm (Jello): This is a thin layer of fatty lipids and proteins that resides inside the cell walls. It is semi-permeable. This means it allows some chemicals through its substance to the interior of the cell, but blocks others,

Golgi Bodies (blue/green fruit roll up): these are often also referred to as the Golgi Complex or Golgi Apparatus- they are the taxi drivers of the cell. It plays a major role in transporting chemichals in and out of the cell. After the Endoplasmic Reticulum processes (synthesizes) the lipids and proteins; the Golgi Body alters and prepares them for exporting outside the cell. Arranged in a sack-like pattern, they are located near the nucleus.

Endoplasmic Reticulum - Smooth ER (red/yellow fruit roll up): These organelles act as the connecting link between the nuclei and the cytoplasm of the plant cell. Basically it is a system of connected sacks present in the cytoplasm. Based on the presence or absence of Ribosomes, this organelle can be found in both smooth or rough types. Smooth ER lacks Ribosomes. So it is found where the cell has plenty of independant Ribosomes. Overall, ER serves as a manufacturing, storing and transporting structure for Glycogen, protein, steroids and other compounds. Essentially they are the busses for the cell.

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum (Twizzler). This type of ER is covered with Ribosomes, so it is found in a cell where there are not enough independant Ribosomes to process the lipids/proteins needed for cell growth & health.

Ribosomes (cake sprinkles): these are made up of 40% protein and 60% Ribonucleic Acid (RNA). These are responsible for the synthesis of proteins (how the plant absorbs and uses protein). Inside the cell they can occur independantly or they may be attached to another organelle as an endoplasmic reticulum (bound Ribosome). each Ribosome has 2 parts a larger and smaller subunit.

Mitochondria (Hot Tomales): These are large, spherical or rod-shaped Organelles present in the cytoplasm. They break down complex carbohydrates and sugars into usable forms of energy for the plant. Therefore, they contain certain enzymes that are essential energy sources of energy for the cell. These are nicknames the 'Powerhouse' of the cell.

Vacuoles (chocolate covered raisins): They are membrane bound storage cells that help regulate turgor in the cell. Turgidity is the pressure applies to the cell walls that gives the cell it's shape. There can be more than one vacuole in each cell. However, there is usually once centrally located vacuole that is the largest, it also acts as a storage for all sorts of chemicals. They also assist in the metabolism of complex compounds that require more than one cell to metabolize. Since it assists in digestion, it also assists in the excretion of waste products.

Nucleus (gum ball): this is the brain of the cell. It stores the chromosomes for the plant. It also controlles all of the metabolic processes of the cell - growth, division, photosynthesis. The nucleus and it's contents is referred to as the nucleoplasm

All About Cells:
There are 2 types of Cells - Prokaryotic and Euharyotic. But both cells have much in common. All cells are surrounded by a Cell Membrane - a double layer of Phospho-lipids (A type of fatty acid where one acid cell has been replaced by a phosphorus one). Within this membrane a cytoplasm contains the organelles of the cell.

Bacteria is a Prokaryotic cell; while it does have DNA, the DNA is not organized intro a true nucleus, they also have no interior organelles like mitochondria or chloroplasts.

Some plant cells have one thing no animal or bacteria cells contain: chloroplasts. These organelles are in charge of converting light energy (from the sun) into chemical energy via the process of Photosynthesis. In green plants the pigment (color) is the result of Clorophyll.

Some great links for learning about Photosynthesis:

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