It Doesn't Take Much To Do Some Groovy Science
February 2, 2024

Recently we came across a quote that really struck a chord. “Expecting a kid to learn only from a textbook is like asking to look at a travel brochure and calling it a vacation.” ( We can totally relate this to science. Kids often hate reading about science in dull books. They do, however, love seeing how it applies and doing science. But it takes too long, it’s messy, and expensive is the argument some use to avoid hands-on activities in the classroom or at home. It doesn’t have to be. This month we show that it doesn’t take much to drive home science process skills, have fun, and teach several science concepts at the same time.

A clear plastic bottle, some vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and an antacid can teach about density, light, color mixing, carbon dioxide, and immiscibility. It only takes a few minutes too. Watch our video to learn more. We tie this to our Density Dan and Colorful Caroline books. You can also tie in some pop culture history too.

If you remember the 1960’s (or at least watched shows on TV) you probably remember the “groovy” lava lamp. Maybe you even had one in your childhood bedroom or college dorm. There really is something mesmerizing about this 50-plus year old cultural icon as you watch the blobs of color move around inside its rocket-like container.

Like many other products that come and go, tastes changed and the lava lamp craze cooled by the late 1970s. But amid the Austin Powers-fueled nostalgia, the public again warmed to the lamps. Now millions are sold each year to retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.

Here’s another fun “electrifying” idea that takes little time but teaches concepts related to electricity. (We would use this as an extension to our Ellie Electricity story and activities.) Learn about closed circuits and what conducts electricity. The human body conducts electricity. What about water? An apple?  A banana? What’s the common denominator with all of these? Let children experiment with all sorts of materials as they close their circuit and try to come to a conclusion.

One energy stick costs only a few dollars but can be used in a variety of ways. (It’s also a great way to illustrate the power of teamwork.) It really doesn’t take much…time, mess, or money. Invest some time in important, educational, and fun science.