Post #2 is going to focus on the Home Scientist Badge. My older Brownies have already earned this badge, so I didn’t want to make them repeat it (though I know they wouldn’t have minded redoing some of the experiments). HB will be the first badge my four rising Brownies earn, and we were able to knock out four of the requirements at our camp out. We’ll have to do the last requirement once we start meetings up again this fall.
The first two experiments were repeats from the last time I did this badge – the Mentos/Diet Coke Geyser and Dinosaur Snot. My older Brownies LOVED LOVED these particular experiments, so we did them again.
STEP 4, make something bubble up: We did the geyser a bit differently this time because my soon-to-be-official assistant leader bought the Mentos Geyser Tube by Steve Spangler. It was definitely worth it. We were able to shoot the diet Coke up about 12 feet into the air. I bought generic diet cola for a comparison, and it shot up about 4 feet in the air. Though part of that may be because I didn’t twist the tube onto the bottle opening. I set it on, and when the cola burst out, it blew the tube off. Here’s Steve Spangler’s experiment page for the Mentos geyser.
STEP 5, play with science: I didn’t change anything about the Dinosaur Snot other than to say it was a non-Newtonian fluid and to attempt to explain what that meant. I also found Steve Spangler’s experiment page for it. My biggest complaint about the badge guide is that they don’t do a good job explaining the science behind the experiments.
Once again, I divided the girls into two groups. Each group made its own batch of the snot. We then poured a portion of the snot into small bowls for each girl to play with. Their reactions ranged from disgusted to thrilled. It allowed us to kill time while we waited for the campfire to get to the point we could roast hot dogs on.
The next two experiments we did, were different from the last time. For density we made density drinks instead of floating lemons and limes. And for static electricity, we did the balloon ping pong ball experiment instead of the comb bending water experiment.
STEP 3, dive into density: We did our density drinks with dinner. This was another wonderful suggestion from one of my moms. She found it at this blog. Steve Spangler also has a similar experiment – a sugar density tower.
For the drinks I bought a generic orange drink (32 g of sugar), Hawaiian Punch (17 g of sugar), and a flavor-enhanced water (0 g of sugar). The blogger put ice in her cups first, and I really recommend that as it slows down the liquid when you pour it in. If you pour too quickly, the layers won’t stand out. (DH says that alternatively, you could pour it over the back of a spoon that’s held over the cup.) I tried it without ice, and even though I poured the liquid in slowly against the side of the cup, the layers didn’t happen.
Each girl got a cup with ice. They poured each layer in themselves. We poured the drinks into smaller cups that so it would be more manageable for them. And for the most part, they were able to do the layers. With the ice, the layers were very noticeable.
STEP 2, create static electricity: The final experiment of the camp out was the balloon/ping pong ball static electricity experiment. We blew up balloons, gave each girl a ping pong ball, had her rub the balloon in her hair, and then try to push the ball with the resulting electrical charge.
And…it didn’t work very well. A couple of the girls were able to make their balls wobble a bit, but most of them were completely unsuccessful. I think in large part because of hair detangler and other such products they had in their hair. Because their hair was “smooth”, they weren’t able to generate a decent charge. (We had a similar problem with the water bending experiment).
Still, they had fun. And they were able to watch the other girls who were able to successfully push the balls. The next time I do this though, I want to find a different static electricity experiment.