Sunday, May 27, 2012

Science Sunday - Glowing Polymer Snow

Back at the grocery store this week, I picked up a test tube full of fake snow, and a bottle of tonic water for some Science Sunday fun.

If your grocery store doesn't happen to have vials of fake snow hanging tauntingly on the cereal aisle, don't worry, the hydrophilic powder can be found inside of diapers, as well.  Professor Gizmo has a video lesson on polymers, with a child friendly explanation of the science of the stuff.

It's wonderfully absorbent, and somewhat fun to play with (though nothing like real snow).

But, what's really neat, is that if you add tonic water (which glows under a UV light thanks to the quinine it contains) instead of plain old tap water to the powder, you don't just get fake snow... get glowing fake snow.

Just keep in mind, this experiment, unlike the glow-in-dark paint filled glue we made the other day, does require a UV light to make it glow.  We used a Stream-Light Twin-Task 3C flashlight with a UV setting (from the Man of the House's hunting supplies). There are less expensive ultraviolet lighting options available out there, that just happens to be the one we have, and can recommend.

If you're curious about what makes the tonic water glow in the UV light, click here to read all about it.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Linked with Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

Science Sunday


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Looks very pretty, but I thought you have plenty of real snow to study for most of the year :)

Leah Courtney said...

So neat! We did some polymer experiments with our science group this year. I'm going to save this so we can add it to the mix.:-)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog! It has given me so much inspiration! THANK YOU!!!

Ticia said...

We've done the diaper insides to make fake snow. I'm actually thinking of stealing a few diapers from my sister-in-law to be able to do it again at some point this winter....... Now,can I find a UV light?