3 Easy Home Science Experiments

These three simple science experiments are all about molecules. They are easy to do and would make great science fair projects. Be prepared to be amazed!

According to extension.org, a molecule is a particle of matter composed of two or more atoms held together in a particular arrangement by strong chemical bonds. Examples of molecules include water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). These science experiments will show you molecules in action.

Color Changing Milk

What you need:

Shallow bowl
Milk (2% or whole)
Food coloring
Dish soap

What to do:

Fill the shallow bowl with milk. Pinch a few drops of food coloring closely together in the center of the bowl. Coat the Q-tip with the dish soap then touch the milk in the center of the bowl.

How it works:

Milk is made mostly of water but it also contains vitamins, minerals and fat. Dish soap has bipolar characteristics that weakens the chemical bonds that hold the minerals and fat in the milk together. Once the soap attaches to the fat of the milk, the molecules of the milk twist, bend and go crazy as they try to catch up with the fat molecules. The food coloring provides color so you can see the amazing action of the molecules in the milk. Once the soap is evenly mixed through the milk, the food coloring slows down and then stops. Try this experiment with different kinds of liquid such as cream, water and sprite. Do the molecules act the same way in different liquid?

Sink or Swim

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What you need:

Corn syrup
2 different colors of food coloring
Vegetable oil
1 Paper clip
1 grape
1 plastic bottle cap
Tall glass or jar

What to do:

Pour about an inch of corn syrup in the bottle or jar. Add one drop of food coloring and stir.

In a small glass, add the other food coloring to some water. Pour into the bottle or jar.

Carefully add about an inch of vegetable oil in the bottle or jar and allow to settle, at least 10 minutes.

Once you see distinct layers of color, drop the grape, bottle cap and paper clip in the jar.

What happened?

How it works:

Corn syrup, water and oil are all made up of tiny molecules. The more tightly packed the molecules, the more dense, or heavy the liquid. The syrup is the heaviest, followed by the water, then vegetable oil, which explains how the vegetable oil can sit on top of the water and syrup. The paper clip is the heaviest so it’s going to fall to the bottom of the jar. The grape is less dense so it stayed in the middle and the plastic bottle cap is the lightest so it floated on top.

Moving Molecules

What you need:

2 small balloons
2 large glass jars
Very warm water
Very cold water

What to do:

Fill both balloons with very cold water. Then fill the jars halfway with water, one with warm and the other cold.

Drop a balloon in each jar. What happened?

How it works:

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The balloon placed in the cold water sinks to the bottom because cold water is heavier than warm water. Cold water is denser because it has more mass for its volume .

These simple science experiments about molecules are great for school projects or just for fun at home. Even young kids can learn to appreciate science when observing these molecule experiments.