Backyard Science 

Backyard Science Project

Hands on fun STEM projects that will spark learning and discovery. Flight experiments, fun with polymers, viral science experiments and some edible science projects too. Join us to see how fun science can be.

Age: 5-18

Limit: no limit

When: typically the 4th Tuesday of the month

Where: Project Leader's backyard near Center/Heyer (Project Leader will send location and any date/time changes)

Cost: free 

Project Leaders: Megan Hornbecker & Jennifer Zaretzka

Teen Leader: Connor

Project Plan:

Oct 3 Rainbow experiments

Oct 24 Dry ice experiments - boo bubbles

Nov 28 Make auction items

No Dec meeting

Jan 30 Exploding experiments 

Mar 19 Edible science experiments - one session, from 6:15-7:15 (its okay to come late or leave early)

Apr 23 Egg Drop Part 1

May 28 Egg Drop Part 2 

TBA If possible - Flight experiments – paper airplanes & catapults

Project Plans

Making Snow

Boo Bubbles & Dry Ice Experiments

Edible Science

The science behind the experiments

Meeting details for Project Reports

10/3/23 Project Meeting: Rainbow experiments

Walking Water Experiment

The purpose of this experiment is to actually make a secondary color from primary colors using what is called in science capillary action. Capillary action (or wicking) is the ability of a liquid to flow from one place to another without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity.

Skittles Experiment

This experiment shows that water molecules are more active in warm water than in cold water and as they come in contact with the sugar in the skittles they cause it to dissolve faster.

Sugar Rainbow Experiment

Density Science Project: the more sugar that's mixed into a measured amount of water, the higher the density of the mixture. As the Sugar Rainbow reveals, a solution with a low density stacks on top of a mixture with a high density.

10/24/23 Project Meeting: Dry Ice Experiments

Boo Bubbles

Dry ice is frozen, compressed carbon dioxide gas and when you add it to warm water, it combines with the water to create the fog (carbon dioxide and water vapor) that you see bubbling out of the container. When dish soap is added to the end of the tube releasing the gas it creates "smoke" filled bubbles.  This “smoking” effect is directly caused by the rapid warming of the dry ice.

Dry Ice Bubble

More details coming soon.

Frozen Gummy Worms

Poor Man's Liquid Nitrogen is a combination of rubbing alcohol and dry ice. At room temperature, dry ice transitions rapidly from its solid to its gaseous state. Adding isopropyl alcohol to dry ice makes the liquid cool very quickly ⏤ the mixture's temperature can reach -90°C (-130°F). You do not want to touch it, chilled alcohol freezes skin instantly on contact. The alcohol reaches its lowest temperature after the fog has cleared and the dry ice is barely bubbling. We froze gummy worms by safely dropping into the chilled liquid, removed with tongs and smashed them with a hammer to test if they would shatter. 

11/28/23 Project Meeting: Make Auction Items

Borax Ornaments

As the water cools, the molecules slow down and come closer together, forcing the borax out into crystals. This process is called crystallization, in which molecules or atoms form into crystals, organized structures with a specific repeated pattern. The pipe cleaners provide a source for the crystals to cling to.

Simplified Lewis Structure Ornament

Make model ornaments of compounds by gluing pom poms and popsicle sticks to represent elements and chemical bonds.

1/30/24 Project Meeting: Exploding Experiments

Soda Geyser

Carbonated drinks contain dissolved carbon dioxide. The gas tries to escape and form bubbles around any irregular surface, called a nucleation site. Mentos have nucleation sites because they are not as smooth as they appear. When added to a carbonated drink, the dissolved gas pushes the liquid out of the container at a super-fast speed in the form of bubbles. The candies catalyze the release of gas from the Coke bottle, creating the eruption that pushes most of the liquid up and out of the bottle.

Magic Balloon Experiment

Baking soda is a base, while vinegar is an acid, which do not get along when mixed together. The water in the vinegar plays an important part in allowing the baking soda to take a proton from the vinegar. As this reaction takes place, carbon dioxide is released by the baking soda into the bottle, which eventually fills the balloon up.

Bottle Rockets

Same as above, but when the backing soda is added to the vinegar in the rocket and corked, the carbon dioxide will increase pressure until the cork is ejected launching the rocket into the air.

See all available Projects here >