Martinsville, Virginia


Science Education Activities For Families and Children presented by the Virginia Museum of Natural History

Looking for a science activity you can do at home with your children? Here are a few suggestions from the Virginia Museum of Natural History's education department!

Egg Drop Engineering Challenge
Brainstorm a way to keep an egg safe from a drop. Sketch your design on paper. Use various supplies around your home (paper, cotton balls, toilet paper tubes, tape, etc) to engineer your design. Test by dropping your design from a height. Carefully check your egg to see if it landed safe or cracked. Make it a family competition!

Oobleck: A non-Newtonian fluid (pictured) 
Pour one cup of cornstarch into a large bowl. Next, slowly add 1/2 cup water to the cornstarch, mixing as you pour. The oobleck should be relatively thick, like pancake batter. It reacts as a solid if you tap hard, but as a liquid if you press gently. If the oobleck is too thick add more water, if too runny add more cornstarch. Food coloring can be added to the water before mixing for colorful oobleck. Do you have tonic water and a black light at home? Tonic water contains quinine, which will glow under a black light, making your oobleck glow!

Pencil and Bag Magic Science
Fill a plastic baggie about 3⁄4 full of water and seal it closed. Sharpen a few pencils (the sharper the better)! Have a family member hold the plastic bag tightly by the top. Firmly push the sharp pencil through the plastic bag. Continue pushing the pencil until the point is through the other side of the bag. How many pencils can you push through?

Sun Catcher Craft
Cut out the center of a paper plate and attach clear shelf liner or wide clear tape to the back with the sticky side facing the front of the plate. Travel outside to pick a few flowers or leaves to decorate your sun catcher. Once you have arranged the flower petals and leaves, cover your designs with another layer of clear shelf liner or wide clear tape (cut to fit inside the paper plate). Use a hole punch to make two holes near the top of the plate, and attach yarn or a pipe cleaner for hanging.