Friday, 15 March 2013

St. Patrick's Day Science & Crafts

Irish or not, it's fun to get into the spirit of things this time of year, and remind ourselves that even with the sludgy, dirty remnants of snow lingering around, spring really is just around the corner.

This St. Patrick's Day, combining science and art to make our own rainbows, using those pennies we're hoarding away to do a little alchemy, and planting our own sources of "green" are just a few of the fun things we have planned.

Making Rainbows: 

1. Chromatography: use large round coffee filters and some markers or coloured candy to make your own rainbows. If you wish,, add a clothespeg and some pipe cleaners (sorry--"chenille stems") & eyes to turn it into a butterfly too.

2. Easy tie-dye: make your own rainbow that you can wear, or go for an all-green tie-dye shirt for the day.

3. Make some red/purple cabbage water indicator and create your own chemical rainbows with various household ingredients.

Alchemy: Turn Nails into (Leprechaun) Gold:

Oddly enough, it looks like I haven't yet put this copper plating activity on my site, so here it is for you.

What you will need:
pennies with a reasonably high copper content (Canadian, or if you use US, use ones from the 1980's or older)
nails, washers etc. to be plated

Soak the pennies in the vinegar for an hour or more, then remove and wash well. Add the hardware to the vinegar solution and let sit for a few minutes, pulling them out ever few minutes to check on their progress. After a while, the dissolved copper will form a coating that looks like gold on the hardware.
This coating will not be as hard or durable as that made through electroplating, but it is still quite impressive and involves much less fuss.

Growing Green:

Did you know that clover, particularly white clover, is healthy for your lawn? It has a natural ability to fix nitrogen which helps enrich the soil. It is also very hardy and requires less mowing than most grasses. Add a little to your lawn as you celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Now is a great time to plan your vegetable garden too, take a closer look at seeds, and plant some sprouts for your salad.

How to plant your own play fort
Make a sprouting egg-head
Using a cardboard egg carton to start seeds:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!