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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 (31-40):
by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Experiment 16 - Bacteria Cell 3 D Model

This is much like experiment 15, but instead of a plant cell we'll be focusing on Bacteria. The setup is the same. Doing all 3 cell types at the same time allows kids to really get a good idea of the differences in the cell structure.


**i use Those little torpedo boat looking things at holds corn on the cob in order to get the elongated, pill shape of a bacteria cell. But you can use a shallow bowl then use a butter knife to trim it into theill shape.

Corn on the cob boat (no idea if these have a real
Shoestring candy (red, green & black, twisslers work if they are the peeling kind, you need 3 distinct colors)
Light colored jello, (I used a light purple, as it looks like the pictures we based the design on, but you should have enough Jello and gelatin for all 3 experiments in one batch).
Light colored fruit roll up
Nerds (multi colored)


Follow the same process as experiment 15.


A bacteria cell differs in a few ways from plant or animal cells. First the structure is different. The pieces of a bacterial cell are:

Nucleotide- one color of the shoestring twisslers.- unlike in animal and plant cells, the DNA isn't bound by any membrane, but it is distinctly visible (microscopically) from the rest of the cell interior.

Ribosomes - one color of the Nerds - Synthesise proteins, basically it's art of the cells 'digestion' and growth.

Capsule - fruit roll up - this looks like a skirt around the outside of the cell. This membrane is all about protection from other cells. For instance, in the human body, this membrane wards off white blood cells,

Cell wall & Cell membrane - the Jello - the putter layer of the cell is used for 2 things. 1) protection 2) detects changes in the atmosphere (temperature, hydration, etc).

Cytoplasm - the Jello - this is the inner layer of the cell, it holds everything together and helps regulate the inner atmosphere.

Piles - red shoestring twisslers - Hollow hairlike fibers that allow bacteria cells to attach to other cells

Flagellum - black shoestring twisslers - these long fibers are for mobility. These appendages 'rotate' due to a 'motor' located just under the cytoplasmic membrane.

Storage Granuals - the other Nerds (with the Rhibosomes) - these store energy.

Bacteria can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bacteria come in a variety of shapes including: rods (bacilli), spheres (cocci), squares, star-shapes, coma-shapes
and long corkscrew-shapes.

Why different shapes?

The most common bacterial cell shapes are:

1) rod-shaped (usually a cylinder with hemispherical end-caps), bacteria with this shape are called bacilli (sing. bacillus), e.g. Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium;
2) spherical (coccoid), bacteria with this shape are called cocci (sing. coccus), e.g. Diplococcus, Streptococcus;
3) comma or vibrioid shaped (after the archetype example Vibrio);
4) helical or spiral shape, an extension of the comma-shaped theme over more turns of the helix, e.g. spirochetes;
5) filaments, either single and highly elongated cells or chains of cells;
6) flat cells, which may be discoid, triangular, star-shaped or square, common in salt-loving halobacteria, e.g. Haloquadratum walsbyi has square-shaped cells 2-5 micrometres in diameter and 0.1-0.5 micrometres in thickness. These cells adhere to one-another to form microcolonies comprising square sheets (about 40 by 40 micrometers) which float in the water column. This shape probably enhances the interception of light utilised by these organisms.
7) A variety of other shapes also occur.

Many of these cells are motile - they can swim by means of flagella (or move in other ways). On this microscopic scale water behaves as a very viscous treacle-like substance. The most efficient shape for swimming at such low Re is to have a length about 3.7 times the width, so rods are more efficient swimmers than spheres. Indeed only about 10% of motile forms are coccoid. Much longer rods may occur when adhesion is important - a long rod that is aligned parallel to the direction of fluid-flow has a large surface area with which to adhere to a surface whilst presenting a small area against the current. When grown in fast-moving currents (high shear forces) Escherichia coli elongates and may form chains of cells, a possible adaptation to enhancing adhesion. Bacillus subtilis responds differently, the cells become smaller and so present a smaller area to the oncoming fluid. Bacilli dividing by binary fission, tend to adhere to one-another, which favours the formation of a pavement of cells which covers a surface in such a way as to leave few gaps - the cells are packed together efficiently.

On the other hand, cocci seem to disperse more easily. There is some evidence that coccoids are carried more easily through bedrock in underground aquifers, possibly because the rods were adhering to the rock particles more efficiently along the way. Thus, it may be favourable for non-motile forms to be coccoid or to produce coccoid cells for dispersal (rather like spores).

Finally, it should be realised that bacterial cell shape is not rigid, some bacteria can be rod-shaped or spherical (or some other shape) depending on the conditions.

Although not as complex as animal or plant cells, bacteria still contain machinery consisting of thousands of working parts, but you need to zoom in to the nanometre scale (one nanometre, 1 nm, is one millionth of a milimeter) to see this complex machinery!

Some fantastic illustrations.
by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:08 PM
1 mom liked this

 yea shannon!!!

by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM
Quoting blue52:



 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 Aug. 8, 2012 at 9:51 PM
I'm busy putting together the 3-d animal cell, as well as a quick lesson on cellular biology. I should have it for y'all tomorrow!
by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 8:43 AM
Experiment 18: Center of Gravity

This experiment is fun for kids of all ages! Just be careful to stay out of the way!

Hypothesis - talk with the students about center of gravity and balance. Have them use a dry erase marker or pencil to mark each item where they thing the center of gravity is. Then test it out!

Yard stick
Any other long, straight things you have lying around the house.
Tape measure/ruler
Duct Tape

This experiment is just the same process repeated for each long, straight item you've found.
1. Mark item where the student believes is the center of gravity.
2. Have student stand with hands out, parallel to the floor, pointer fingers extended, hands about a foot apart.
3. Place item across the pointer fingers so that the marked portion is 1/2 way between each hand.
4. Have student, carefully slide hands closer and closer together. If you had indeed found the center of gravity, then the item will not fall when the hands are brought closer together. If the item falls, try marking a new center and repeat.
5. Repeat experiment for each item found.

Trick - have student observe the pattern of falls. The item will fall in the heavier direction so one needs to move the center in that direction to compensate. For instance, a broom/mop has a big end and a little end. The big end weighs more. So instead of measuring and finding the exact center of the handle, the student has for factor in the weight of the end!


Center of gravity is a geometric property of every object. Basically it is an average measure the weight of the object. Since we are using non-uniform weighted objects (one side weighs more than another) you can get really complicated with the explanation. Essentially, it is the point of perfect balance, the starting point for gravity. If an object were to rotate when thrown, the center of gravity would be the axis about which it rotates.

When you balance the stick/broom over a fulcrum (fingers), with hands seperated, it is really only one finger that takes just a fraction more weight than the other finger. When you slide your fingers closer together, one finger (the one with the less weight) will move a bit easier. Interestingly, as you get closer to the center of gravity, the weight might shift so that the other finger (the one previously easy to slide) takes more weight. Only when they are at the center of gravity will the stick be balanced AND both fingers will be supporting equal amounts of weight.

You can mathematically determine the center of gravity using a logarhythms, But for most students, you don't have to worry about mathematical certainty.

It is interesting to note, people have a center of gravity as well. For women, the center of gravity is low in the abdomen, belly button or lower. For males, the center of gravity is a little higher in the abdomen, between the belly button and the diaphragm.
by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Experiment 19: Metallurgy

CAUTION: this experiment includes open flame and heating the metal of a paper clip. The metal from the paper clips will retain the heat of the flame for MUCH longer than you would imagine. Make sure little hands don't touch before you are ready!!

In this expiment we are using the main catalyst for changing matter - heat! We will be changing the atomic structure of paper clips using an open flame.

Blow torch, Bunsen burner, or open grill (you can try with the flame of a candle, but I don't believe it will be hot enough)
4 paper clips
Grilling tongs
8 oz cup of cool water
Ceramic plater (NOT paper or plastic)
Clock or timer.

1. Unbend all of the paper clips
2. Set one straightened paper clip off as your baseline
3. Take one of the paper clips and bend it back and forth 6 times.
4. Set this paper clip aside (be sure to not mix it up w/ the baseline!)
5. Using the tongs, CAREFULLY hold one end of the paper clip to the flame. (CAUTION: the entire paper clip will get hot, not just the 'red' end)
6. Once the end of the paper clip is red hot, set it on the ceramic plate to cool.
7. Using the tongs, CAREFULLY hold one end of the 4th paper clip to the flame.
8. Once the tip is red hot, immediately drop it into the cup of cool water.
9. Shut off all flame sources!!
10. Leave all paper clips out of reach of little fingers. Leave untouched for 20 minutes.
11. Once the paper clip on the plate is cool to the touch, you can have student handle. Them all.

What does your student notice about the different feels of the paper clips? What might account for the differences?

Explanation to come.
by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I am going to pin this to my Pinterest.

by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 2:25 PM
Quoting redhead-bedhead:

I am going to pin this to my Pinterest.

Lol, great idea! I have no idea how to do that w/ a Cafemom post...hehehe
by on Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:13 PM

 Sorry for the delay!

Experiment 20 - A Cash Smoothie -

Did you know money is magnetc? It's true! This is how vending machines tell the differencce between a plain piece of paper and actual money. So......there is iron in the money. Which begs the question, "How do we extract the iron?>" Thus this experiment.


$1 bill
Quart sized Ziplock bag
1 Strong Magnet (like a neodymum)**

**Lots of science experiments call for strong magnets. You can ask at your local hardware store. Neodymum are the strongest magnets in the world, and are found in speakers and computer components. These magnets are so strong they can hold an entire phone book to your fridge!


1. Hold the magnet near the bill. If the bill is attracted to the magnet then it is a strong enough magnet. Examine the bill thoroughly, ensure it is real.
2. Fill the blender about 1/2 way full with water (between 3-4 cups)
3. Drop the bill in the blender and close the lid.
4. Now make dollar soup - grind it, blend it, etc, dont stop till the bill is shredded into thousands of pieces.
5. After the blender shreds the bill and runs for about a minute, turn off the blender and pour the contents into the ziplock bag. Seal the bag tightly.
6. Place the magnet in the palm of your hand.
7. Lay the bag over the magnet.
8. Place your other hand over the bag and slowly rock the slurry back and forth.
9. Flip the bag over and look at the iron that has been attracted to the magnet. You can slowly pull the magnet away from the bag to reveal the iron.

Stop the insanity!....

You don't need to waste your money by repeatng the experiment with higher denomination bills. A higher dollar amount does NOT mean higher iron content.

What is Happening?

Its really very simple. The government uses specially made magnetc inks to print money. Ths makes it easy for vending machines to 'read' the bills and for banks to determine if $$ is real or counterfeit. The blender does a great job of tearing up the paper and releasing the ink into the water. Of course, metallic iron does not dissolve in water; instead it floats around waiting for a magnet to pull t away from the fibers of paper.

Here's a question: Is it ok to destroy the bill? The destruction of paper money by artists, magicians, performers, mad scientists, etc, has been around ever since money was invented. So go ahead and do the experment.....just don't try to put the shredded money back into circulation or you might have to explain the experiment to the secret

Why do we care about finding such microscopic amounts of magnetic iron with a magnet? Well, how does a couple of million dollars sound? Not to chop up, but to deposit in your bank account! Every day millions of meteors strike the earth. THe problem is they shrink as they pass through our atmosphere and the ice/water evaporates. But, using super strong magnets, one can find the priceless objects by the metal components. Many meteors go for thousands, some even millions, of dollars. 

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