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  • Eline van Bloois

Science @ home

Looking for a fun activity to do? Why not perform a science experiment? Did you know that there are a lot of experiments that can be done with just a few household items?

Over the past few months, most people have been at home a lot. For me, this means that I ran out of things to do. I really miss being in the laboratory and performing fun experiments. As I was remembering some of the fun experiments I have done, I figured that some of these experiments could also be performed with household items. After all, many of the activities we do at home have a lot to do with science. From baking bread to cleaning the bathroom sink, everything can be modified to become a science experiment using household items.

Just think of when you were last bothered by chalk residues in the sink and went in, armed with cleaning supplies, to get rid of the chalk. When using vinegar or any other cleaning product containing acetic acid, a chemical reaction occurs. During this reaction, the acid reacts with the chalk (calcium carbonate) and forms calcium ions (Ca2+), water (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2). Here, the chalk dissolves in the vinegar and you end up with a shining, clean sink. You can also try this in a fun experiment, put an egg in vinegar and check what happens after it has been laying in vinegar 1 or 3 days.

Another fun (and tasteful) experiment you can try out is to make your own sourdough starter. In doing so, you are growing your own microorganisms to make your own bread. The most important organisms you are growing are lactic acid bacteria and yeast (a fungus). Yeast causes the sourdough to rise through creating carbon dioxide (CO2) bubbles. The lactic acid bacteria provide the unique sour flavour of sourdough bread and preserve the bread through lowering the pH. How does this preserve the bread? Thanks to the lower pH, other microorganisms, including pathogens, will have a harder time to grow on your bread.[1]

Interested in making your own sourdough starter? You can find an illustrated description here: https://www.internationalmicroorganismday.org/sourdough-bread

There are also a lot of other fun science experiments that can be found online:

Isolate your own DNA

- https://www.wetenschapdeklasin.nl/activiteiten/dna

Make your own carbonated drink

- https://www.proefjes.nl/proefje/031

Make your own bath bomb

- https://www.nemosciencemuseum.nl/nl/ontdek/doe-het-zelf/maak-een-bruisbal/

Make your drawing swim

- https://umu.nl/proef/marker-magic/

Each of these websites also provides other experiments. If you are looking for something fun to do, I definitely recommend checking them out.

Please let us know how your experiments turned out, or if you found other fun experiments to do at home via Twitter or Facebook!

[1] https://asm-org.vu-nl.idm.oclc.org/Articles/2020/June/The-Sourdough-Microbiome

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