Dec. 31, 2014

Science Friday Home Science Highlights of 2014

by Ariel Zych

Click to enlarge images
Winter break is the perfect time to do a little at-home science. To help you ring in the New Year on a scientific note, we've pulled together our favorite hands-on science projects from 2014. Plus, tune in to Science Friday on January 2, 2014, for more home science ideas.
Before you chuck your Christmas tree, try this at-home experiment that explores combustion using festive fuels such as fir, pine, spruce, and cedar.
Materials: pine tree sprig, matches, foil, cookie sheet, water
Act like an experimental chocolatier and determine how different melting and cooling procedures impact the shine, hardness, and texture of finished chocolate.
Materials: chocolate bar, bowl, spoon, microwave, cookiesheet, water, salt
Learn how insects have inspired engineers to make a robot that walks on the surface of water. Design your own water-walking critter using thin wire, and test its effectiveness: How many paperclips can it hold up using surface tension?
Materials: bowl of water, wire, scissors
Test a few common household ingredients to see which is the most effective emulsifier for making salad dressing—and you can eat your results!
Materials: oil, vinegar, clear cups, mustard, garlic, timer 
Add some pizzazz to your favorite clothing and accessories while learning about electrical circuits.
Materials: Wire, tape, a battery, small LED

About Ariel Zych

Ariel is Science Friday's education manager. She is a former teacher and scientist who spends her free time making food, watching arthropods, and being outside. You can follow her @arieloquent

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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