A Summer for Engineering and Ingenuity!
Use STEM to help you make the best of the summer with our brilliant science projects!
Want to make BIG bubbles? It’s all about the aperture – which is just a long word for the hole the bubbles are blown through. You can make your own bubble wand from bits and bobs around the house and garden.
You will need –
- A big bottle of bubble liquid and a dish, pot or bowl to pour it into. (Or get our bubble mixture recipe *here*)
- Two wooden sticks, no longer than your arm (dowel or natural wood) that are comfortable to hold in each hand.
- Cotton twine or string, up to 2 metres
- 2 small eyelet screws
- A small weight, ideally a washer but a lump of bluetack will do.
- Screw an eyelet firmly into one end of each stick (you may need a grown up to help you).
- Lie them down about your body’s width apart.
- Thread the washer onto the string, so that it sits about half way along.
- Thread one end of the string through one of the eyelets and tie a knot to secure it, leaving a tail of about 40cm.
- Making sure the washer is still on the string, thread the other end of the string through the other eyelet, and tie, leaving a tail of about 10cm.
- Now tie the two ends together, so that the knot is close up to the second washer, and trim the ends. When you pick up and hold the two sticks, you should have a shorter piece of string between the sticks, and a bigger loop hanging down.
- Once made, hold the sticks close together and dip the loop of string in the bubble liquid, so that it covers all the string (gently, bubbles don’t like froth), and lift out carefully.
- Open out the sticks and walk gently with the sticks to your side, allowing the bubble to billow out as you walk along.
Want to make a whole wall of bubbles at once? Try making a net of crisscrossing string to hang between your two sticks.
The science: A bubble is made up of two very thin layers of soap with a layer of water trapped in between. When the water evaporates, the bubble pops. Bubbles like damp, cool days with less sun, this is a great activity for dawn or dusk, especially when the weather is overcast.
Try to observe the rainbow patterns on the bubbles themselves – light refracts through the layers of soap and water, splitting white sunlight into the different colours we see as the rainbow.
What summer would be complete without the hosepipe or sprinkler lark in the garden? Try some of these challenges to get your brains whirring the next time the weather sets to scorch.
Find a rainbow – all ages
Set the hose to ‘spray’ by pressing your thumb over the end, some nozzles have a mist setting that works very well. Consider that rain and sun can create a rainbow. Work out how to position yourself to view a rainbow – should the water be between you and the sun? Or should the sun be behind you, whilst you face the water? How about turning to the side? Consider the path the light takes to travel to your eye.
Bendy water – KS2
Position the hose so that water comes out top to bottom from about waist height – the garden tap may be a great place to achieve this, the water stream should be steady and not too wide, a smooth stream about 1cm wide. Use a balloon or a plastic hair comb. With dry hair, rub the balloon on your head, or comb a patch of your hair until it becomes frizzy with static. Then, introduce the comb or balloon to the stream of water – can you bend the path of the water stream?
Water painting – EYFS and KS1
No chalks to hand? Practise mark-making on a hot day with water instead – use brushes, hands, feet and watering cans to ‘draw’ on patios, driveways or walls. Discuss why the watermarks disappear – evaporation! Would it be quicker or slower to happen if the weather were different? Simple observation and hypothesis through play is a great way to keep science fresh over summer.