For a complete introduction and to get to know each Quirkle, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!
But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Quirkles, or take a look at the sample book Gilbert Gas below.
You’ve heard it and maybe even said it yourself. Creating a compelling science lesson is expensive and time consuming. Who has all that equipment needed to do experiments? You do! This month we’ve gone to our cache of videos to pull out an old favorite. A bottle of carbonated soda, a balloon, and some salt never fails to entertain and provides a lot of teachable moments.
Carbon dioxide gas is essential for life on Earth and is one of the most abundant gasses in the atmosphere. It plays a vital role in plant and animal processes, such as photosynthesis and respiration. We also use carbon dioxide in other ways. Perhaps the best example is its use to give soft drinks their fizziness.
So what happens once a soda can or bottle is opened? We hear the “swoosh” sound as the gas escapes. Does that mean it’s all escaped into the air? Gilbert Gas’s Soda Surprise will answer that science question in a dramatic way.
But that’s not all you can do with soda when it comes to science activities. Here’s a follow up to the one we just discussed. Open up several other large bottles of pop (different brands). Stretch the mouth of a balloon over the openings of the bottles. Every ten minutes, go back and look at the balloon, and observe. Eventually, you’ll find that the balloons inflate because the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the soda pop is escaping into the balloon. See which soda loses carbon dioxide the most quickly.
According to studies, the phosphoric acid in soda pop is likely the cause of bone weakening in teenage girls. If you still want to drink soda in relative safety, you can check the levels of phosphoric acid in different types of soda pop to see which sodas are least likely to impact your bones. To do this experiment, you can use a pH meter or litmus paper to test the acidity of various types of soda pop. Remember to make a hypothesis first!
Have you heard people complain that generic bottles of soda pop just “aren’t the same" as brand name bottles? Taste test (blind tasting) several different cola brands to see if it’s really possible to taste the difference. Then try something sneaky. Pour the same soda (ideally the generic) in all the cups. Have someone taste all four and guess which is the brand name soda. This may offer an opportunity to discuss the role perception and advertising plays too!
Another fun experiment explores whether Coca-Cola® and Diet Coke® will sink or float. Check out our Fuddlebrook story The Mystery of the Floating Can and watch our video. Empty the cans and try another Fuddlebrook favorite, The Mysterious Leaning Can Investigation. This is from the book A Case of Gravity.
A final activity demonstrates the effects of Coca-Cola® on teeth and helps answer the question "does toothpaste really work?" Place two eggs in two different glasses. Pour the soda over the eggs and let them soak for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, take the eggs out of the soda and observe the appearance. Next, try to remove the discoloration from the egg using toothpaste. What conclusions can you draw? This goes along with the Quirkles book Andy Acid.
So have you changed your mind? Purchase a few cans of these popular drinks and a few other simple ingredients and enjoy a day of soda pop science!
Don’t you just love the sounds of spring? The soft pitter-patter of drizzling rain, music and laughter as we head outside to enjoy nice weather, and of course, the chirping birds signaling the change of season.
We hear millions of different sounds every day and we tend to take this sense for granted. Sounds are waves which pass through our ears via vibrations and travel by vibrations of molecules. These vibrations occur whenever any object is struck or is made contact with. Every time any of these particle vibrations occur, our ears pick them up and we construe them as sounds. Slow moving particles create low sounds while particles that move fast make high sounds. This month we feature the Quirkles Susie Sound and explore the awesomeness of this sense.
Did you know…
There is no sound in space because there are no molecules there. Here on Earth, we have air molecules which vibrate to our ears.
Sound travels slower through air than by water. In fact, the speed of sound via water is 4.3 times faster than by air. However, sound does travel far faster through steel than both air and water.
The loudest natural sound on Earth is caused by an erupting volcano. (Check out the Quirkles Vinnie Volcano.) In August 1883 the volcano on the island of Krakatoa erupted violently. The sound from this blast took roughly four hours to travel from the erupting volcano across the Indian Ocean. The loudest sound ever recorded, it reverberated around the globe seven times before diminishing. It could be heard 4,000 miles away, and people within 100 miles suffered permanent hearing loss.
Flies are not able to hear any sounds at all.
Most white cats that have blue eyes are often unable to hear sounds and are usually deaf.
Whale voices are able to travel a whopping 479 miles through the waters of the ocean.
Sound travels at a speed of around 767 miles per hour.
The majority of cows which listen to music end up producing more milk than those that do not.
Superior canal dehiscence is a disease that affects the inner ear and amplifies all internal sounds. It gets to the point where the sound of the eyeballs moving in their sockets sounds like “sandpaper on wood.”
The reason why we hate the recorded sound of our voice is because our skull changes the resonance of our voice from within and creates more bass. When we hear a digital recording of our voice, although slightly unfamiliar to ourselves, it’s exactly how other people hear it.
Elephants are so afraid of bees that the mere sound of buzzing is enough to make an entire herd flee. They have even developed a special rumble just to warn each other if bees are nearby.
So now that you have an impressive amount of sound trivia, check out our video where Chloe demonstrates how sound changes depending on how much water is in each of her “musical” glasses. After you’ve finished this fun activity, go outside and enjoy the sounds of the season!
A bottle of carbonated soda, a balloon, and some salt never fails to entertain and provides a lot of teachable moments. Watch what happens to the balloon!
See how the amount of water makes the sound change. Through this investigation, learn about sound and make beautiful music, too!
"I would like to say THANK YOU! I have never seen a curriculum capture the true essence of learning like the Quirkles. My first graders eat, sleep, and breathe the Quirkles!"
-Mandy, First Grade Teacher, Siebolt, TX
I really appreciate your ideas and support!!! I am amazed at the Quirkles series that you have created and know you all must be FABULOUS teachers!!!
Cindy, Lower School Science Coordinator, Suffolk, VA