Fun Middle School Science Experiments

Science is filled with interesting opportunities for fun, hands-on learning. Kids in middle school can start to grasp the concepts of how our world works by experimenting with everyday items. What greater way to learn than to see scientific principles in practice in a real situation? Guided by the scientific method, children can learn about a concept and then test their own hypotheses to find out the answers for themselves.

  1. Does Candle Color Affect Burn Rate?

    • Does color affect the rate at which wax melts?
      Does color affect the rate at which wax melts?

      An interesting science project idea comes from One Stop Candle, a website dedicated to all things related to candles and candle-making. Does the color of a candle's wax affect the rate at which it burns? To control the experiment, the candles should come from the same manufacturer, should be equal in size and shape and must not be color-dipped. (Color-dipped candles are white candles dipped in color; the color is not in the wax.)

      Get three white and three colored candles. Weigh them on an extremely accurate scale set to measure weights as low as 0.1 gram. Record the results.

      Burn each candle individually, as the flame from a nearby candle could affect the results. Burn them in an aquarium to control the ambient temperature and other factors, such as wind, that might affect the burn rate. Set a timer and allow each candle to burn a specified time. Weigh them after burning and record the results.

    Measuring the Solubility of Liquids

    • This experiment will test three substances for solubility in water, or how much of them can be dissolved in water. A Science Buddies project suggests using table salt, sugar and Epsom salts. You will need three beakers or jars, 300 milliliters of distilled water, three plastic spoons, 50 grams of non-iodized table salt, 50 grams of Epsom salts and 250 grams of granulated sugar.

      Fill each beaker with 100 milliliters of distilled water. Add a tiny amount of one of the solutes -- sugar, salt or Epsom salts -- to each beaker and stir until dissolved. When the solute can no longer dissolve, weigh the remaining amount to find out how much was used. Chart and record the results. Repeat this process with each solute. Repeating the experiment several times will provide more accurate results.

    How is the Freezing Point of Water Affected by Salt?

    • According to the experts at Worsley School, the freezing temperature of ordinary water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. This is true of distilled water, but it will differ slightly when impurities are introduced.

      You will need distilled water, an ice cube tray, a freezer and table salt. Meter out the salt in carefully measured, small amounts; a ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon will come in handy. Fill two of the cups in the ice tray with distilled water with no salt added for your control subjects. Fill two others with distilled water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fill two more cups with distilled water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Fill more with other amounts of salt if desired. Be sure to fill the cups with the same amount of water.

      Place your tray in the freezer and check it at specific time intervals, perhaps every 10 minutes. Check the state of freezing as well as the temperature of each filled cup (optional) and record your findings. Repeat the experiment for more accurate results.

      Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab suggests a second test using salt and ice cubes. Get two ice cubes out of the freezer, sprinkle salt on one of them and observe and record the results. One should melt faster than the other.

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References

  • Photo Credit science image by peter Hires Images from Fotolia.com candle image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com

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