Be Amazing! Blogs

2010 10.25

Giant Jelly Monster Eyes


Disappearing monster eyes 

This activity is a neat experiment, a cool decoration, and a fun party trick.  "Disappearing Monster Eyes” takes the old "peeled grapes as eyeballs” trick up a notch.  "Clear spheres” (Monster Eyes) are similar to the substance found in disposable baby diapers.  Both belong to the family known as Superabsorbent polymers.  Superabsorbent polymers do just what you would think they would do—absorb lots and lots and LOTS of water.  Clear Spheres absorb more than 300 times their weight in water, to turn overnight from little beads to big, squishy marbles made of goo that look just like (you guessed it) MONSTER EYES!  For a spooky activity (and very cool science experiment) you can do at home, try growing "Disappearing Monster Eyes” overnight just by adding water.  For an eerie Halloween decoration try setting out a cauldron of hydrated "eyeballs” instead of peeled grapes.  But here is the coolest part:  if you put your hydrated "Monster Eyes” in a clear bowl and then cover them in water, they will virtually disappear.  Really!  For a fun Halloween party activity guaranteed to delight and disgust, invite your friends to reach into a cauldron of water-covered Monster eyes.  Your friends will only see water, but when they reach in and feel the slimy "eyeballs,” they will gasp, "Whoa!  Yuck!  What ARE those things?!”  You can tell them…”Monster eyes—I harvested them myself!”

        



Trying "Monster Eyes” on for size


How does it work?

"Monster Eyes” (Clear Spheres - found in Be Amazing!'s Amazing Spheres  kit) seem to disappear in water because of something called the "angle of refraction.”  Light usually travels in a straight line.  However, when light travels through air into glass or water, the path that it is travelling in is bent.  You can observe this yourself.  If you dip a long stick halfway into water, the stick will look like it is bent. 



Of course, the stick isn’t really bending—the light is.  

 In the case of super absorbent polymers (like Clear Sphere "Monster Eyes”) there is so much water in them that light isn’t really bent at all as it travels out of the water, through the Monster Eye, and back into the water.  Because the path of the light isn’t bent between the water and the polymers, the Monster Eyes seem to disappear.   Amazingly cool!



Disappearing monster eyes make a great Halloween decorations



Do you have science ideas or questions?  We’d love to hear from you.  Email us at Science.is.cool@beamazing.com 


 

2010 10.14

Fizzy Halloween Drinks

Halloween Party Science—more fun with dry ice


Last week we used dry ice to create a "smoke-breathing jack-o-lantern.”  This week we will be using dry ice for more Halloween science fun perfect for parties.  



Dry Ice and you—a science safety review:

Dry ice is available at most major grocery chains.  Just ask for it at customer service.  Before your experiment, keep the dry ice in a cooler with the lid slightly open.  Don’t store it in a tightly closed container, or the rapidly expanding carbon dioxide could burst the container.  


It’s also important to remember that you should never touch dry ice with your bare hands—always handle it with tongs or special gloves.  Dry ice is so cold that it can freeze your skin on contact, and it feels like a very bad burn.  Your best bet is to recruit an adult assistant to do the dirty work.  You’ll be making fizzy Halloween drinks by adding dry ice.  DON’T drink the liquid until the dry ice has all disappeared.  You don’t want to freeze your insides!


Brew a Bubbling Beverage—Try it!

This experiment is especially fun because it doubles as both a decoration and a drink!  Dry ice can carbonate a liquid in just a couple of hours.  This means it can turn a boring old everyday drink into a fizzy Halloween brew, just like a soda.  



Carbonating a drink is easy.  Just pour the liquid into a large bowl, pot, or (best of all) cauldron, and add some dry ice (remember to use tongs!)  You’ll need about a pound of dry ice for every gallon of tasty beverage.  The bubbling cauldron will be a great decoration for your Halloween party while it bubbles and smokes, and afterward your guests can enjoy some delicious homemade root beer or sparkling cider.  Here is a picture of dry ice in action, fizzing up a witches brew.  


For a mad scientist take on a Halloween party, try adding a drop or two of food coloring to white grape juice in individual mason jars, and adding a chunk of dry ice to each.  After the drinks stop "smoking” and the dry ice has totally disappeared, you can offer the solutions to your friends along with your best mad scientist laugh:  "Here, have a drink…if you dare…Mwah-ha-ha-ha!”


Click here to check out the video of the bubbling cauldron!


Do you have science ideas or questions?  We’d love to hear from you.  Email us at Science.is.cool@beamazing.com 


2010 04.27

Be Amazing! Toys and Make Magazine

Be Amazing! Toys products wowed the folks at Make Magazine

 

Make Magazine is a science magazine and website for science fun-loving geeks of all ages.   Make Magazine


They caught up with Be Amazing! Toys at 2009 Toy Fair, the giant, annual  toy industry show in New York City.   They were wowed by some of our products. 

 


The annual Maker Faires are giant science fairs for kids of all ages.  Another great way to get the whole family involved in science.  

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