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julia999's avatar

Cool, safe science experiments?

Asked by julia999 (338 points ) September 16th, 2010

Hello,

For my Year 12 concert my friends and I are planning a performance to do with science. This will involve a bit of dancing to the song “I am a Scientist”, as well as experiments.

Experiments we’ve looked at are:
*Hot ice (building sculptures)
*Flame tests (if we are allowed)
*Elephant toothpaste (aka marshmallow experiment)
*Sodium in water (to be done at the very end when the “scientists” have left the stage – you know, a bit of a BANG to surprise the audience)

These are all well and good, but what we really need is something bright and spectacular, like fireworks or some form of glowing light. It doesn’t have to be an experiment, it could be something bought (though a bit more exciting than a party popper).

The biggest worry is finding something that is safe, and will impress a crowd of teenagers.

Any suggestions?

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16 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

Take a look at this lecture at about 20 minutes in to the lecture, they use gyroscopic forces to “defy gravity”. quite cool stuff indeed.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Since you are in Oz you might get away with these. Check with your teachers first.

Detonate a small amount of Oxy-acetylene in a balloon with nichrome wire and 4 AA batteries. It makes an awesome flash and boom that does not make a mess.

Give everyone some theatrical flash cotton. Each student should make their own ignition ring from an old Zippo lighter flint and ignitor wheel. Yo hold the cotton in your hand and keep the ring on your middle finger with the ignitor on the inside. At the finale you spin the wheel and you get a flash and puff of smoke like a wizard. It’s harmless but looks great.

Get permission first or you will end up in prison. .

The_Idler's avatar

balloons filled with hydrogen and oxygen make a pretty cool fireball.

Have gas taps? attach a hose and pump gas into a big bowlful of washing-up liquid and water. Make a huge froth of bubbles and then set a flame to it. Do a trial run first. Stand back.

julia999's avatar

I like the idea of the balloon filled w/ H2 and O2.

@poisonedantidote I really enjoyed that lecture, thank you! Unfortunately, Year 7s-11s won’t want to hear us rambling on. The majority will not understand or not care.

Nullo's avatar

Dunk a length of copper wire into some colloidal silver.

Make a small-scale potato gun and have it fire hunks of foam rubber.

critter1982's avatar

Mentos and soda.

Nullo's avatar

Is it really an experiment if you already know the outcome?

Rarebear's avatar

@Nullo Sure it is, if you’re actually teaching science with it. If you’re just saying, “Wow, cool!” and then looking at the explosion, then it’s just a show.

Nullo's avatar

@Rarebear Here we may have insights into why I didn’t do as well in chemistry as I did in biology. Hmmm.

The_Idler's avatar

Well, actually, it’s called a demo.

julia999's avatar

Just to clarify, it doesn’t acutally have to be an experiment, just something that looks cool. There will be plenty of actual experiments that we will explain, but we need something that just makes the crowd go “oooh”, such as bright lights or loud stuff happening behind them to surprise them.

Rarebear's avatar

@julia999 As long as you explain the science behind it, I’m all for something looking cool.

Mszamanda2's avatar

Just make a small volcano and put a lot of baking soda and some vinegar and watch the erupting volcano!!!!

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