As a science teacher I often had to throw together laboratory experiments without spending much money. You don’t need to buy expensive kits to have fun with science with your middle school child. Here’s a few simple experiments you can do with everyday objects around the house:
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar.
Mix them together in a pint glass to see a chemical reaction, or make a volcano. If you react baking soda and vinegar in a pint glass, you make carbon dioxide. Try pouring this onto a candle- it will put out the candle. So will sprinkling a little baking soda on the flame. This is how many fire extinguishers work.
2. An office chair
You can spin your child in an office chair to demonstrate the way the inner ear determines balance. Holding their head to the side, have the children spin for a few minutes and try to get up. The fluid in their head is still moving, so they will feel like they are falling forward. (Be careful and do this outside on some soft grass.)
3. Plastic bag, toaster, poster board.
Make your own hot air balloon by rolling up the poster board over the toaster, then assembling the bag on top. Again, adult supervision is necessary.
4. Three bowels of water- hot, cold, and lukewarm
Put one hand in the cold and one hand in the hot water. After a couple minutes, put both in the warm water. It will feel like two different temperatures since your nerves are relative.
5. Plastic cups.
Dig a small hole and put the cups in the ground, top even with the soil, around the yard. This will act as insect traps and in a few hours your youngster should have interesting bugs to study.