List of Topics


Experiments Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 162 comments and questions on Experiments issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 15 letters




Simple electrical circuit experiments Electricity Somalia
Need to keep hot water hot for 4 hours Thermos Canada
Teacher wants us to do an experiment Fluids USA
Science fair project on insulation of different cloths Thermal Insulation USA
Procedure for fluids experiment Fluids USA
Making a vacuum thermos Thermos Canada
Suggested experiment Fluids USA
How to create a vacuum between compartments General Canada
Science fair project information General Canada
Egg in a bottle experiment Project Idea USA
Looking for experiment with fluid pressure and light Fluids Philippines
Needs experiment for class Matter States USA
Experiment with Cheerios Static Electricity USA
Wants to charge cell phone with solar panel Electricity Canada
Proving that water is a bad conductor of electricity General India

Next 15 letters


First 15 letters


Simple electrical circuit experiments

January 17, 2007


what are the most simple experiments that i can show my pupils about simple electrical circuits?

ahmed - Somalia (12891)


The best beginning experiments can be done with batteries and flashlight lightbulbs. You can put several lightbulbs in a series and showed that if one bulb is removed, all of the bulbs will go out. But if you put the bulbs wired in parallel, you can remove one of the bulbs and the other ones will still remain on.

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Need to keep hot water hot for 4 hours

January 17, 2007


sup, im in grd. 7 and i need to keep hot water hot for 4 hours and i need to no if a pop can would work to help keep it warm? then wrap it in foil and put it in a water bottle with insulation . so would a pop can work and how iz my idea??

Dylan - Canada (12892)


Look at the Reader Feedback in the Thermal Insulation lesson at:

Use a glass jar and wrap it with some foil, shiny-side in. Then wrap that with insulating material like Styrofoam, bubble wrap, or even newspaper. You can either tape the insulation or put the whole thing in another larger jar. Don't forget that the top must have insulation.

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Teacher wants us to do an experiment

November 13, 2006


If the chemical is unknown and it is a brownish-red and the teacher doesn't know what it is and she wants us to sift it. Should we do it or not?. Because it counts for 3/4 of our grade.

Albert - USA (12389)


Do you mean she wants you to sift it to find what particles are in the material? I am sure the teacher knows what it is, but wants the students to find out. They are also very careful not to give students experiments or assignments that are dangerous, because they could be sued. If it is 3/4 of your grade, it is a good idea to do the experiment.

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Thermal Insulation

Science fair project on insulation of different cloths

September 29, 2006


My child (4th grader) is doing a science fair project on out of 6 different types of material [ cotton,demin,polyester,felt,wool, and flannel] which would be be the better insulator. I can not find any research material for the research paper that is required.I want to use your site as a source, could you send me any information on this. I am having a hard time finding information.
Thanks so much

Robin - USA (12039)


It is unlikely that there have really been measurements on the amount of insulation from those materials. I imagine your paper should explain the method used to study this problem and show how you got the results. The most important thing in such an experiment is to keep everything as equal as possible. Like, you don't want to compare a thick piece of wool with a thin piece of polyester.

One way of doing the experiment is to start with a glass at room temperature that is wrapped with your cloth. Add hot water of a certain temperature. Allow to sit for say 10 minutes and measure the temperature of the water then. Compare the temperature of the water for each cloth. The one with the highest final temperature is the best insulator.

Make sure the beginning temperature of the water is the same for each trial. One way is to put the glass of water in the microwave oven for a same time each trial. Also, you could put the glass of hot water in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling for each trial.

I hope these ideas help.

Also see our lesson on Thermal Insulation and read the Reader Feedback.

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Procedure for fluids experiment

September 7, 2006


Step 1: Create a data table to record your lab predictions and discoveries. Here are the specifications for the table:Four-column table with the following headings from left to right: Trial #, Guess, Observation, Explanation

Step 2: After the table is created, read the lab and follow the directions below. Complete the lab and fill in the chart.
For each trial, record the trial number in the Trial column. (trial 1, trial 2, and so on) In the Guess column, record what you think will happen in that part of the lab. In the Observation column, record what actually happened when you did the lab. In the Explanation column, explain why the water responded the way it did during the lab. Be sure to think about what you have learned about the properties of water when writing the explanation. You should use the words "dense" or "density" in all your explanations.

Step 3: After finishing the lab and filling in the data table, answer the analysis questions at the bottom of the page.
Be sure all work has been done in a word processing program and saved as an RTF file.
Submit your work.

two baby food jars (minimum)
food coloring (four colors)
index cards
hot/cold water
a partner at your house


Trial 1
Fill one jar with hot water and one with cold water. Be sure to fill the jars to the very top so that no air will be between the water and the index card. Add red food coloring to the jar with hot water and blue to the jar with cold water. Place an index card over the top of the red jar and invert it (it won't spill if no air gets in). Place the opening of the jar directly over the opening of the blue jar. Make sure they are lined up perfectly. Take a second to think about what will happen when the index card is removed. (Your thoughts will go in the GUESS section of your chart.) Now have someone slowly pull out the index card. Keep the jars lined up as the card is removed. Observe and record your results in the chart. (Your observations of what actually happen go in the OBSERVATION section of your chart, and your explanation of why you think it happened goes in the EXPLANATION section of your chart.)

Trial 2
Empty the jars and rinse them out. Now refill the jars with red hot water and blue cold water. This time cover the blue jar with an index card and invert it over the red jar. What's going to happen? Slowly pull out the card and observe. Record your GUESS, OBSERVATIONS, and EXPLANATION in the chart.

Trial 3
Empty the jars and rinse them out. Fill the jars with warm tap water. In one jar add a spoonful of salt and green food coloring. Make sure the salt is dissolved. Add only yellow food coloring to the other jar. Place the index card on the green (salt) jar and invert it over the yellow jar. What will happen when the card is removed? Now slowly pull out the card and observe. Record your results in the chart.

Trial 4
Refill the jars with tap water and add the food coloring and salt as you did before. This time place the index card over the yellow jar and invert it over the green (salt) jar. What will happen? Slowly pull out the index card. Observe and record your results in the chart.

Trial 5
Refill the jars with red hot water and blue cold water. Place an index card over the red jar and invert it over the blue jar. Before pulling the index card out, hold the jars in a horizontal position; making sure the jars are level. What will happen? Watch closely as the card is pulled out. Observe and record your results in the chart.

Trial 6
Rinse the jars out and then refill them with the green salt water and the yellow tap water. Place an index card over the green jar and invert it over the yellow jar. Place them side by side. What will happen? Slowly remove the card and observe. Record your results in the chart.

Apply What You Learned:

To answer these questions, you need to think about what you observed in the lab and do a little extra research to define new vocabulary terms. Be sure to read each question carefully.

Analysis Questions:

1. Based on your observations in the lab, what do you think happens to the majority of water (not ice) at the poles?

2. Based on your observations in the lab, what do you think happens to the majority of water at the equator?

3. Thinking about what you learned in the lab and doing some additional research, if you mixed fresh and salt water together in the marine environment, how would the water layer? Where would the freshwater be and why?

4. When fresh and saltwater mix in the marine environment, this is called an estuary, or brackish water environment. Why would bottom dwelling organisms in an estuary need to be able to withstand brackish water?

5. Based on your lab and readings, what two characteristics of water combine to form a thermohaline current?

Samantha - USA (11865)


Thanks for the details on the experiment.

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Making a vacuum thermos

April 24, 2006


Hey, I am building a thermos for a grade 8 science project. I esearched thermoses and have found out that the best thermoses are vacuum thermoses. Is there any way of creating a vacuum thermos that is practical? I also want to know what the best insulator would be and if wrapping my flask in black duct-tape would make a slight difference? Please email me Back.
Thank You

Josh - Canada (10933)


A vacuum thermos is good because heat cannot travel through a vacuum, except by radiation. That is why they are shiny on the inside--to reflect the radiation inward.

If you have an air-tight container, you can create a partial vacuum. There are hand-operated vacuum pumps available to suck out the air of food containers and wine bottles. But it may be tricky to make such a thermos. That's why most simply use insulation. Styrofoam, bubble wrap and even thick wrappings of newspaper can be used.

Black duct tape absorbs heat and may not be good to use in some cases.

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Suggested experiment

April 4, 2006


you should try mixing borax (type of deturgent) water and white Elmers glue (you can put food coloring in to change color). it is a chemical change.
all substances will make silly putty

P.S. sorry I dont have the exact mesurments

Adam - USA (10746)


Thanks for the suggested experiment.

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How to create a vacuum between compartments

March 20, 2006


i am doing a science project. I have build a lunch box with cardboard. i have made three compartments and want to know how to create the vaccum between the compartments so that heat does not get transferred.


Mohammed - Canada (10517)


You don't need to create a vacuum. That would be too difficult to do. Instead, put a good insulator between the compartments. You can use Styrofoam, bubble wrap or even newspaper.

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Science fair project information

March 18, 2006


Hi, yesterday I sent you an email in regards to my grade five daughters sience fair project you told me to go to the champion site for science matter and states. When we visit the site it will not let us in. What we are looking for is an experiement on change in matter and what she is working on is how the vingar and baking soda and balloon blow up. We need to know more about this and what they would call this process. Please send us an experiment on this as we are running out of time for this.
Please reply as soon as possible.

Amy - Canada (10502)


An easy way to find things in our site is to use the search tool and type in one or two key words. That will list all the lessons in our site that have to do with something like States of Matter. Also, the Science pages all have drop-down menus listing all the lessons.

Note that your experiment is not a change in the state of matter. It is a chemical reaction that creates a gas. It would be good to make sure your daughter understood exactly the requirements of the teacher. Sometimes they don't make things clear enough.

Note that your daughter should use the site to find things. We have other 5th grade students that know how to find things in the site.

I hope your experiment works out fine.

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Project Idea

Egg in a bottle experiment

March 16, 2006


get a bottle that can have an egg sit on the top without falling in.
get matches.

put in the tissues then fastly put in three matches also very fast set the eggontop of the bottle and watch what happens

ALi - USA (10481)


That is a good experiment. The fire reduces the oxygen, creating a slight vacuum. Then the air pressure pushes the egg into the bottle.

Thanks for the idea. We'll write that up to add to our experiments.

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Looking for experiment with fluid pressure and light

February 9, 2006


Please help me to find such experiment specifically about fluid pressure,and light waves, with affordable materials and easy procedures.... thanks

Jonalyn - Philippines (10002)


I'm not sure how you could combine fluid pressure and light waves in an experiment. Perhaps you could see if light slows down or is refracted more when passing through a fluid, as you increase its pressure. But that is not an easy experiment.

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Matter States

Needs experiment for class

February 6, 2006


At my school my science teacher is having a science fair and we have to come up with an science experiment and i can't think of one so can you help me?
8th grader Haley Smith

P.S. I need to start as soon as posible

Haley - USA (9970)


Think of something you are interested in. You can look through the experiments we have listed and try some of them.

A simple one is: "Will an ice cube melt faster if you sprinkle salt on it from a salt shaker?" Take two ice cubes and sprinkle salt on one of them. Then see which will melt faster. You could also thy a third ice cube and sprinkle pepper on it.

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Static Electricity

Experiment with Cheerios

January 19, 2006


balloon, string, cereal (cheerios recommended), and your hand

1. Blow up ballon and tie
2. tie string to cereal
3. rub balloon on your head
4. pull toward cereal and see what happens!!!!!

Katie - USA (9732)


Thanks for your experiment. It looks like fun.

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Wants to charge cell phone with solar panel

January 19, 2006



My name is Alex and I'm doing a science project at school. The topic I have chosen is trying to create a way to charge a cell phone using a solar cell or panel. I am going to attach the solar panel to the back of a cell phone and somehow connect the phone to the batteries in the phone. Then it can charge while you are using the phone without having to attach a normal charger. I want to know how I can prepare and what materials I need. I am aiming for a small solar panel (a really small one that can stick on the back of a cell phone) that can recieve a lot of solar energy. Please send me some information as soon as possible. Thank you very much for you time.

Alex - Canada (9733)


What you are really trying to do is to charge the rechargeable batteries in a cell phone with a solar panel. Look at the adapter used to recharge the batteries. It should state what the voltage, current and perhaps wattage that it provides the batteries. A typical adapter is 5.9V DC and 375mA. Thus your solar panel must output that much voltage and current.

The major problem is in matching the voltage and current. The second problem is that the current must be continuous until the batteries are sufficiently charged. You need enough light on the solar cells to do this.

If you look at the total voltage and current of the cell phone batteries, you might be better off matching those values to directly run the phone off the solar cells. I would use some other device, because you could screw up your phone.

Best wishes in your project.

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Proving that water is a bad conductor of electricity

December 27, 2005


Is it possible to prove that water is a bad conductor of electricity and only when salt is added it bocomes a good conductor.

rajyashree - India (9483)


You can use a battery and a light bulb or voltmeter to test the conduction of water. Put wires from the positive and negative terminals into the water. With pure water, the bulb will not light or the meter will be near zero. As salt is added, the light will glow.

Note that most water has some salt in it. The best water to use to start with is rain water or distilled water. That water will be the poorest conductor of electricity.

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