Science Party

H.S. Musical Science -7yr- Lots of Experiments




Sheila in Orleans, Ontario, Canada


January 2009


Runner Up

My daughter Claire, who just turned seven, asked for a High School Musical birthday party. I've watched all three movies with her, and like the fact that the lead character Gabriella is not only a talented singer and dancer, but also a whiz at science and math. So we planned a party that included science experiments and a talent show. I did some research on this website of course , which is where I learned about SteveSpangler.com - a great website with videos of kid friendly science experiments. I also got some books from the library and Claire and I practiced a lot of the experiments beforehand . This was a good idea because some experiments sound cool, but if they take more than a few minutes they will not hold the attention of a seven year old. For example, the bath fizzers we made had to harden overnight, and produced a disappointing fizzle. But the experiments that got her really excited , and which we did at the party, were as follows :   

Demonstrations with dry ice - NOTE - first , give the kids their  lab coats ( I used XL t-shirts )and explain the safety rules. NO ONE touches the dry ice except the grow ups, as it can give you instant frostbite . I did not want them to be too scared, and  explained that dry ice is just frozen carbon dioxide, which is the stuff you breathe out. It is natural, and wont harm you, unless it is really really cold - dry ice is minus 109 degrees. I bought 35 pounds of dry ice nuggets at a local supplier, and stored it in a styrofoam container with loose fitting lid. Also I wore insulated gloves and safety goggles.  

#1. Fill an old aquarium with a few inches of hot water , drop in a few bits of dry ice. When there's lots of vapour , blow some bubbles into the tank - they will float on top of the vapour.  

#2. Put hot water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid in a tall plastic or glass cylinder. Add some dry ice nuggets, and watch the fantastic foaming action ! There were bubbles everywhere, which the kids could scoop it up with their hands. This was a favourite which we did several times .    

#3. Grape soda ! Add some dry ice to grape juice in a clear bowl . If you have a  glow stick throw it in too. It looks like a bubbling witches brew. Wait until the dry ice has completely sublimated, then serve the juice to the kids. ( this also worked well after the party, when the kids had all gone I dropped some leftover dry ice into my white wine glass - voila ! Sparkling wine ).   

#4. Put a small piece of dry ice inside a balloon, and tie off the end. Pass it around , the kids hands will warm the dry ice and the balloon will slowly inflate. 

#5. Film canister rockets - get a plastic film canister, put in one nugget of dry ice, put the cap on, and turn it upside down on the floor. The dry ice sublimates and the gas makes it pop straight up with impressive velocity ! Do this one a safe distance away from the kids.      

Experiment # 1 Will It Float ?   We filled our aquarium halfway with water. I had a selection of items for the kids to pass around, and predict whether they would float or sink - a coconut, polly pocket doll , sponge taffy, pencil, playdough, orange, playing dice, cans of diet coke and regular coke - interestingly the diet coke is less dense so it floats better.       Q. How can you put a Kleenex into the water without getting it wet ?   A. Stuff  Kleenex into bottom of a cup, turn cup over, then submerge straight down into water - the air bubble should keep the Kleenex dry.  

Experiment # 2 - Suck it Up ! How much liquid can a Pull Up hold ?     My son bought some lightning gel" in the States a few years ago - it was part of a magic kit. Steve Spangler used it in his " disappearing water" trick on the Ellen Degeneres show last year. It is a white powder that loves water - soaks it all up and turns it into a gel. It is what they use in baby diapers to absorb the pee. My son filled up a white plastic cup with water and pretended to throw it at the birthday girl - but nothing happened ! The kids were amazed until he showed them the white powder he had put in the cup beforeheand. I explained this was the same stuff they put in diapers to keep babies' bottoms dry. I asked them if they knew how much pee a Pull Up diaper could hold ?

They were very intrigued by this question. So we took apart a diaper and did an experiment. I pulled out the part that looks like cotton batting and put it in a measuring cup. Then I added some warm water which for fun I dyed yellow ( in front of them so they knew it wasn’t real pee ! ) and asked them to estimate how much water it would hold. Turns out two cups of liquid is no problem ! The pad soaked up all the liquid then I turned the cup upside down- the pad did not fall out. Kinda like when you order a Blizzard at Dairy Queen and they show you how thick it is  by turning it upside down. The kids were giggling - especially when I added a bit too much liquid and the pad went sploosh all over the table. Harmless but fun.       

Experiment # 3 -   Gloop Lab     Give each kid a disposable cup and a popsicle stick. In each cup mix 1 Tbs. of water and 2 Tbsp. of white glue. Each kid adds three drops of food colouring of their choice  Adult pours in 2 Tbsp. of borax water (1 quart of water plus 1 Tbs. of borax). Stir it up - what happens ? Explain: glue molecules are long and stringy and borax hooks them together. It makes a gloopy kid of slime  which I put into small plastic containers for them to take home.  

Experiment #4 - Lifesaver trick     Guess the flavour of your LifeSaver with no smell (you need your sense of smell to really taste!). Kids closed their eyes and held their noses while adult put candy on tongue. Kids open their eyes and try to guess with nose plugged. Then unplug their nose and guess again !  

Experiment # 5 - Screaming balloons   Adult demonstrate how this works first. Place a hex nut inside a latex balloon then blow up the balloon and tie it off. Spin the hex nut around inside the balloon and it will vibrate. The faster you spin the higher the scream ! The kids got to take this home too.  

Decorations -   I bought some silver foil " emergency blankets" from the dollar store - which made an interesting table cloth for our science lab table. We also had a cool centrepiece - a tall clear cylinder with a rainbow of coloured liquids  layered in accordance to their denisty. Kinda looked like a roll of lifesavers on its side. This takes time to do so I did it a few hours before the party . You can color each of the liquids to make a more dramatic effect in your column. Light corn syrup is easier to color than the dark syrup. The only liquids that you may not be able to color are the vegetable oil and the honey. Start your column by pouring the honey into the cylinder. Now you will pour each liquid SLOWLY into the container one at a time . Make sure you pour them in the following order.  Honey  Clear corn syrup  Dish soap  Water  Vegetable oil  Rubbing Alcohol  Lamp oil   We also had an egg in a glass jar  which we filled with vinegar two days before. The vinegar dissolved away the calcium carbonate in the shell so all that was left was the clear membrane . You could see right through the egg which sort of felt like a water balloon. The kids passed it around although be careful because it will pop if squeezed !      

The waiter game   After the science experiments we did a game where my daughter pretended to be Sharpay  who as we know is very important in her own mind and a bit spoiled. She went into her bedroom and demanded to be served breakfast in bed. I prepared a menu with ten items on it - I told the kids they were going to pretend to be Sharpay's waiter  like Chad in his summer job in HSM 2. Sharpay would order five things off the menu. The kids had to remember the items without writing anything down then go downstairs load the items onto a tray and carry it back upstairs. The fastest  waiter would win but all the times had to be correct. Some kids forgot an item and then Sharpay would "fire" them in a funny hammed up sort of way. By the end of it we all had much more respect for waiters !   After the waiter game we then invited all the kids to get into Claire's large bed and my husband and I served them hot dogs juice boxes and strawberries.   

Talent show   The second half of the party was the talent show. I thought about trying to organize routines for them but there really wasn’t enough time. Also I did not want it to be a competition because then only one kid wins. Instead I announced that the talent show would start in ten minutes and that there would be a prize for anyone who participated ! Any and all talent was welcome and I had some props available - some hand puppets  some cheerleader pompoms( which I made  see instructions below ) and the High School Musical singalong videogame. We had nine girls at the party - some made up a cheer some sang or danced others told jokes one little girl was shy but she knew how to do the splits and we all cheered her on ! My daughter actually blushed when all her friends cheered and clapped after her song.    Then we had cake and presents - the cake was just three square pan cakes that I carved into the letters H S and M ( for High School Musical ) and frosted with what was supposed to be red icing but actually turned out pink - luckily this was okay with Claire.        

Silver Cheerleading pompoms - Buy some silver foil emergency blankets ( they come folded up in small packets about 4" square )  and some thin elastic hair bands. The blanket should open like a map - don’t open it too much  just fold it over vertically once so you have a long strip about 4 " wide and about 24" long. Take an elastic hair band and tie it tight around the center of the strip. The remainder of the hairband forms a handle for the kids to hang on to the pompom. Once the blanket is securely tied in the center get a strong pair of scissors and cut through the fold at one end. Then start cutting vertical strips towards  but not through the center. Do both sides and then fluff out the strips.   The last thing we did was put a bucket of hot water on the floor and added the rest of the dry ice - it formed a low cloud of vapour on the floor like they have at rock concerts . I gave some kids flashlights and turned out the lights - other kids waved their silver  pompoms which looked great with the flashlights and fog - then we cranked up the HSM tunes and the kids danced their hearts out !  

The party was set for four hours and we had more stuff planned but ran out of time.  The kids all got to take home loot bags with their gloop screaming balloon cheerleading pompoms and other inexpensive HSM stuff from the dollar store.    My daughter told me this was her best birthday party ever which of course made it all worthwhile. Thank you to birthdaypartyideas.com for all the suggestions hope you can use some of mine too.     "

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