There are a number of fun activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home, and some of them are even educational. Take science experiments, for example. Not only are they exciting and interactive, but they also help us understand the world we live in. Science experiments are a great way for campers to learn about a new field of knowledge while having tons of fun along the way!
But as fun as science experiments can be, it’s common to rush through the process in order to get to the fun part. Here are 4 overlooked steps that are essential for a successful science project:
Here are a few steps to help your at-home science project go smoothly:
Do your research and pick the right experiment
There are so many interesting science experiments that you can choose to do, but make sure you know what you’re getting into. The best way to make an informed decision about the best type of science experiment for you is to do plenty of research. Spend some time researching what materials are required, how many people are needed to safely do the experiment, and what kind of reaction to expect.
For example, if you’re doing the experiment with younger campers, avoid dangerous chemicals, sharp objects, and explosive reactions. Although these types of experiments are often the most thrilling, they can be unsafe for campers who don’t have experience with hands-on projects. Simpler experiments, like building a snow globe or bowl of slime, are still very exciting and highly informative.
On the other hand, some science experiments can be too simple for older campers. These experiments are often boring and a poor use of time. Campers with a fundamental understanding of basic scientific concepts should challenge themselves to try experiments that will expand their knowledge. As long as they are aware of the safety guidelines, older campers can work with complex experiments like making a carbon sugar snake or building a lava lamp.
It’s worth it to put in the extra time to find an experiment that’s perfect for YOU! For some great project ideas, click here, or visit the Happy Camper Live website for more information.
Gather the materials well ahead of time
Once you’ve decided on an experiment, you’ll need to gather your materials. Most materials are always in stock at local grocery and craft stores, but some specialty items may only be available online. Depending on the type of experiment, goggles and/or gloves may be necessary. Err on the safe side by purchasing more safety materials than you need. Better safe than sorry!
In addition, experiments that involve chemical reactions often require specific chemicals that can only be found online and take weeks to arrive. Gather your materials days in advance so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. After all, science experiments should be fun, not stressful.
Be prepared for a mess
When it comes time to do the experiment, it’s common to forget about the aftermath. Don’t make the mistake of getting glue stuck in the carpet or spilling chemicals on your furniture. Find a space where you won’t mind making a mess – backyards, driveways, and garages work great. It’s sometimes helpful to layout a tarp or disposable mat underneath the table you’re working on. Avoid bringing any food or drink to your workspace – not only is it a distraction, but it’s unsafe to eat and drink when working with science materials. Following these simple precautions will make your experience so much better.
But sometimes it’s not possible to avoid making a mess, so you should be prepared for the worst. Keep soap and bleach on hand to remove stains and plenty of paper towels to sop up liquid. Of course, if you spill any chemicals, immediately dispose of the materials used to clean them up.
Understand the science behind the results
Unfortunately, this is a step that is skipped too often, even though it may be the most important.
After you’ve completed the experiment, you need to try to understand what happened. Talk about which materials worked together to produce the exciting results, and why each material was necessary for the project. Read an article or watch a YouTube video where the science behind the experiment is explained. Ask and answer questions about what you just saw. Understanding what happened is a valuable part of the process that emphasizes the awesome aspects of nature and science, and makes the whole experience educational and worthwhile.
Remember these simple steps, and you’re sure to have a great science experiment! Good luck!