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Royal Institute Christmas Lectures Water Experiments

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Royal Institute Christmas Lectures Water ExperimentsThe Royal Institute Christmas Lectures have done lots of water experiments of all different kinds. Here are a whole set of videos of experiments which can be watched or, in some cases, tried in class.

Tyndall’s Ice Flowers – “This 1930s black and white silent film shows the setting up of an experiment using a magic lantern slide, light source, water tank and a block of ice.” (RI). This is absolutely fascinating; watching the crystals form is amazing and even more so in a 1930s silent movie!

Return of the Modern Alchemist: Just add water –  “How can a drop of water start a fire or cause an explosion? Why can’t you put a chip pan fire out with water or boil an egg on Mount Everest?” (RI). Watch the video to get the answer!

 – Demonstrations of water from the International Space Station,but don’t try them out!

The Next Frontier – This is a lesson for students aged 7-11. It is about life on very long space journeys. It considers how to provide enough food and water to keep astronauts alive and well. There is also a whole lesson plan on this page.

Making an Uncooked Egg Bounce –  “ExpeRiment with different liquids to see what effect they have on eggs. Learn how the acid in household liquids like orange juice and vinegar react with eggshells and make them dissolve, leaving the inside of the egg intact.” (RI).

Singing Wine Glasses – Watch and learn how to make a musical instrument using wine glasses and water.  “ExpeRiment with different amounts of water in the glasses to see how it affects the sounds you can make. Learn about the connection between sounds and vibrations. Discover how running your finger around the rim of a wine glass produces a musical note.” (RI).

Homemade Lava Lamp – “Make a home-made lava lamp. ExpeRiment with objects of different shapes and sizes. See what makes a difference to whether something sinks or floats in water. Learn how an object’s density affects if something is likely to sink or float.”(RI).

Rufus and the Racers – “Comedian Rufus Hound and his son Alby make soap powered boats and learn how soap affects the way water molecules hold onto each other.” (RI). This is one that children may enjoy trying out.

Colour Changing Cabbage Juice – “Andy and his nephews make a beautiful colour changing liquid from cabbage juice, and explore the science of indicator solutions.” (RI). This is another one that may be good to try.

Water Bottle Lamp  – “A classic camping trick as useful in the digital age as ever. When darkness descends and you’ve got just your phone’s torch to light up the party, a bottle of water proves to be a surprisingly effective tool.” (RI). Take a smart phone capable of showing a tiny torch light make it look like a lamp! Simply stand a bottle of water over the light.

torch and bottle

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