Kitchen Science

Here are some very easy science projects that you can do in your own kitchen.

One is in the area of physical science – temperature of chemical mixtures – and the other uses simple household objects to recreate one of the great marvels of human engineering.

 

Project #1:
Effect of Salt on the Boiling Temperature of Water




In this easy science project, we’ll see whether salt water or unsalted water boils at a lower temperature. Parental supervision is required with this experiment. Exercise caution when doing this project – boiling water is extremely dangerous, and you can burn yourself badly if you are not careful!

MATERIALS:

  • Water
  • Large pot
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or more)
  • Mixing spoon
  • Thermometer
  • Stove
  • Adult supervision

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Come up with your hypothesis – do you think salted water will boil more quickly or more slowly than unsalted water?

2. First, fill a pot with water and put it on the stove. When it comes to a full rolling boil, take the temperature. If you are measuring in Fahrenheit, can you predict what the temperature would be in Celsius?

3. After writing down the temperature of the unsalted boiling water, take the pot off the heat and let it cool a bit. Carefully pour out the water (it will still be hot!) and refill the pot. This time, add about a tablespoon of salt to the water and stir it until it dissolves. You should not be able to see any deposits of salt crystals on the bottom – if you can, you have added too much salt.

4. Bring the salted water to a boil. Again, make sure it is a full rolling boil, not just a few small bubbles.

5. Take the temperature again. Was it higher or lower this time? Was your hypothesis confirmed?

 

Project #2:
Reconstructing Rome




When the Romans learned how to build arches in their buildings, it caused a revolution in construction technology. From the grand buildings of the Colosseum in Rome to the aqueducts that brought water to cities all over ancient Italy, the arch made the Roman empire possible. This easy science project will be much simpler than running the Roman empire – but it will show you one of the technologies that those rulers depended on.

MATERIALS:

  • 1-3 potatoes
  • a knife (for parent only to use)
  • a ruler or straightedge

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Do some preliminary research – how does an arch work? What makes it stand up?

2. Look up the shapes of arch stones. Note that they are almost cubes, but they are tapered very slightly so that the top end is a little wider than the bottom.

3. Using the knife, carefully cut out a dozen or so cubes of potato. Use the ruler to make sure that your angles are 90º, then adjust the cubes so that they are shaped like arch stones.

4. Stack the “stones” so that they make an arch. If it doesn’t work the first time, try to figure out why, then cut your “stones” in a different shape.

5. Experiment with different shapes to see what kinds of arches will stand up and which will not.

*TIP: These are very easy science projects, but they can be made much more elaborate. Consider testing not only different shapes, but different materials: what vegetables make the best arches? You can also try cutting out “bricks” of potato and building a model aqueduct or colonnade!

 

Leave a Reply