Give Now

Try This at Home

The Hovering Butterfly

How can you get an object to mysteriously hover?
Experiment with magnets and see
how you can offset the pull of gravity.
TRY Winter 09 Butterfly IMG 2487 handcolorbw2Web300pw


You will need:

  • A shoebox
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Markers or crayons to decorate your cut-out
  • Large paper clips
  • One magnet or more (stronger ones preferred)
  • About 24" of thread or clear fishing line

Open the shoe box (you will not need the lid) and stand it upright. On the inside of the top end of the box, tape a magnet. Draw and cut out your floating object (it should be a couple of inches wide and tall), then tape one large paper clip to it. Tie the end of the thread to the paper clip and then hold your floating object under the magnet, so that the paper clip almost reaches the magnet, but not quite.  With the thread hanging down, tape it to the bottom of the box so that it is taut. Depending on the strength of your magnet, you might have to make some adjustments to get your cut-out to hover below the magnet.

  • What happens when you vary the length of the thread to change the distance between the paper clip and the magnet? 
  • Is there a difference between magnets of different strengths?
  • What happens if you use more than one magnet at a time?
  • Does it matter how many paper clips you attach to your cut-out?
  • How heavy of an object can you get to stay suspended?

TRY hovering magnet closeup bw

 

Colorful Cabbage

Did you know you can make a pH indicator using red cabbage?
Let's cook up some science!
TRY 2007-08WinterNL IMG 0091-300pw


You will need:

  • A small head of red cabbage
  • A large cooking pot
  • A strainer
  • A variety of liquid acids and bases (vinegar, lemon juice, detergents, clear soft drinks, baking soda diluted in water, window cleaner, etc.)
  • Small cups (paper, plastic or glass)

Cut the red cabbage into small pieces and place them in a big pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the cabbage and boil for twenty minutes, or until the water turns purple or blue. Wait for the liquid to cool, then strain out the cabbage and pour a couple of tablespoons of this liquid, which will be your pH indicator, into a number of small cups. Add a different acidic or basic liquid to each of the cups until the color changes.

  • What color changes do you notice?
  • Do some liquids generate similar color changes?
  • Do you notice anything else happening to these liquids, other than color changes?

What causes the color changes? Pigments called anthocyanins are present in red cabbage. These pigments change color depending on the pH of their environment. In acidic solutions, the pigments turn red/pink, in neutral solutions they stay blue/purple, and in basic solutions they turn yellow/green. You can try to find other pH indicators by testing various pink/purple fruits, fruit juices and flower petals. You can also visit www.howstuffworks.com and type in "pH" and "anthocyanins" to find out more.

 

Ooh-La-Lava Lamp

Oil and water don't mix, but you can use that
to your advantage to create a temporary and easy
homemade "lava lamp."TRY-Lava IMG 0338-cropWeb400pxw


You will need:

  • Cooking oil
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • A tall clear container (a glass or a narrow bottle)

Fill your container two-thirds full of water (optional: mix in a few drops of food coloring for contrast). Pour enough of the oil to get a half-inch layer on top of the water.

  • What do you notice when you sprinkle varying amounts of salt on top of the oil?
  • What happens if you use sugar instead of salt?
  • Do other liquids work as well?

TRY Lava-glass-close IMG 0362-re-Web

This lava lamp uses two insoluble liquids that have different densities, with the less dense oil floating on top of the denser water. When salt is sprinkled on the oil, it sinks and drags oil droplets to the bottom. As the salt dissolves in the water, it releases the less dense oil droplets, which float back up. Commercial lava lamps work differently. Heat at the base of the lamp causes the denser liquid at the bottom to warm up and expand, becoming less dense and rising to the surface. As it cools, it becomes denser and returns to the bottom, where heat begins the cycle again.

 

  

 

3... 2... 1... Launch!

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to launch these balloon rockets.
A little air pressure is all it takes.
CAM 061112 17846-re cc-Web-278px


You will need:

  • A balloon (a round or elongated one)
  • String (long enough to span a room)
  • Adhesive tape
  • A drinking straw

Tie one end of the string to the back of a chair (or another sturdy location like a doorknob) on one side of the room. Thread the string through the straw and then tie that end of the string tautly to another chair on the opposite side of the room. Inflate a balloon and pinch the end shut while you tape the balloon to the straw. Don't tie the balloon shut, just pinch it closed while you tape it. You might want a friend to help you. Now, let it go!

  • What do you notice when you release the balloon?
  • Does it matter how you tape the balloon on the straw?
  • Does the type of balloon, string or straw make a difference?
  • What happens if the string is at an incline or attached vertically to the ceiling?

You can also experiment with adding cardboard wings or rudders and see if you can get the balloon rocket to spiral as it moves forward.

 

Wacky Cups

An Experiment with Vibrations in Action TRY Wacky Cup Vibrations 2007 159-re-crop-webpg


You will need:

  • A plastic or paper cup
  • A small nail or a pair of scissors
  • A paper clip
  • A piece of yarn (about a foot long)
  • Some water

With the nail, carefully make a small hole in the bottom center of the cup. Tie the paper clip to one end of the yarn, and thread the yarn through the small hole, with the clip inside the cup.

  • What sounds do you hear when you wet the yarn with water and slide your fingers down the yarn?
  • Does the type of cup or yarn make a difference in the sound you hear?
  • What happens when you repeat the experiment but add a bit of water inside the cup? 

 TRY-Wacky cup vibrations 2007 2people 177-re-webpg

 

 

Page 1 of 3

Visitor Information

LOCATION:
1701 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104

505-224-8300
explora@explora.us
Contact Us 

Follow Us

facebook   twitter

 

HOURS:
Mon-Sat: 10 am - 6 pm
Sun: 12 pm - 6 pm

Closed on Jan. 1, July 4, the week after Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Dec. 25. We close early at 2 pm on Dec. 24 and 31.

newsletter-en
 

MEMBERSHIP

ADMISSION:
Explora Members: Free
Children (under age 1): Free
Children (ages 1-11): $4
Adults (ages 12-64): $8
Seniors (age 65+, with ID): $5
Students or Military (with ID): $5

Groups: Reservations Required.
Please contact us if you require special assistance.


Print Map
Exhibit Guide

 

Follow Us

facebook     flickr     twitter