Friday, November 29, 2013

Welcome to Our Laboratory...

(Extra points if you read that in Edgar Oliver's voice.)

Lava lamp, plasma disk, fiberoptic finger lights for a Science Party
The boys got a Science Party for their birthdays this year!

Lab Coat and Lanyard Kit for a Science Party
     As they entered the lab, all the kids got a badge and a lab coat first thing, and then we turned them loose to experiment to their heart's content!  There were 5 stations.

Learning about constellations at our Science Party
     The kids learned a little about Interplanet Janet at Nicolaus Copernicus' Astronomy station, where they put star stickers on constellation sewing cards I found at Mrs. Home Ec's blog.

Non-Newtonian Fluid, FX/Insta Snow, Microscope action at our Science Party
     I'm not sure if they were more frightened, or mad, or excited, or glad to be playing with non-newtonian fluid, making fx snow, and exploring algae with a microscope in Marie Curie's Chemistry Station.  I'm thinking excited and glad, though...  We pre-measured the snow into some petri dishes and they used disposable pipettes to add water a little at a time.

Static Electricity, Plasma Dish, Plasma Ball, and Fiber Optic Finger Lasers for our Science Party
     In Nicola Tesla's station, we were talkin' 'bout electricity.  Mostly the static kind, but we also had a pocket plasma disk, some fiber optic finger lasers,  and a rockin' cool plasma ball we borrowed from a friend.

Marble maze, Marble tunnels, and paper airplanes for Eintein's physics station at our Science Party.
     In Albert Einstein's Physics Station, marbles, balls, and paper airplanes became victims of gravity. (down-de-down-down-down)

Dry ice adds a super cool element to our Science Party     David (a.k.a. our friend with the plasma ball) is also a super science geek and offered to show the kids some tricks with dry ice.  You can't skate a figure 8 on dry ice, but you can do some pretty wikkid science with it!  I was glad we had some beakers on hand as decoration because they totally added to the sciencey vibe!

Ellen Swallow Richards coined the word ecology and we composted all our partyware in her honor after our Science Party!
     Because we wouldn't want to be accused of wasting energy, and also to honor the totally awesome Ellen Swallow Richards, who coined the word "ecology" as well as being an MIT grad and the inventor of Home Economics (as science, y'all), all our utensils, plates, cups, napkins, and even the trash bag were biodegradable and disposed of in the Ellen Swallow Richards Composting Station.

The ol' stand-by dye the carnations experiment.
     For decor, the boys and I performed the carnations in the colored water experiment.  I really wanted to sing,  "Come on do the circulation" the whole time. *Quick note, Steve Spangler's website says it takes 24 hours for the dye to show up, but it really needs more like 48. Also, all I could find at the time were yellow carnations.  We have run the experiment again with white carnations and had much more noticeable results.

Even the grown-ups had fun with the experiments at our party!
     Even though as adults we're usually trying to teach our kids to always say thank you or at least say please, it seems there's a little room for scientific exploration even as grown ups (which makes me deliriously happy to see).

Gluten-free, Organic, Dye-free, Sugar-free food including watermelon water molecules!
     To put a little energy into their high-powered, revved-up body machines, I served a gluten-free, non-GMO, food coloring-free, sugar-free, mostly vegan spread.  Including watermelon water molecules.  I made melon balls with honeydew and watermelon and used halved toothpicks to hold them together.  (*Adult supervision required for the younger set...*)  You could do a similar, savory version with bocconcini cheese and cherry tomatoes.  We have lots of friends who are gluten and grain free, so this year I made a gluten-free, processed sugar-free cake from The Spunky Coconut.  It was incredibly moist and if you like coconut, you're going to love this cake!  I served my go-to chemical-free homemade soda again, this time with mango juice.  My favorite though, was the fruit juice and agar brain!

A fruit juice and agar brain, vegan, sugar and dye free, and perfect for a science or halloween party!
      I loved how firm and opaque this looked, it's vegetarian so I and my vegan friend can partake, and agar is what scientists use in petri dishes when they make cultures so I was triple geeked about this!

Vegan, Sugar-Free, Food Coloring-Free "Jello" Brain
4 1/2 tsp agar powder
6 cups unfiltered apple juice

In a pot, bring  juice just to a simmer (not boiling), then add agar. Stir well and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the agar has dissolved.  Pour "jello" into a lightly oiled brain mold (trust me on this, the standard gelatin mold release tricks won't work on agar).  Cover and chill about 2-4 hours or until set. 

(You can use any juice with this, and if you want to add a little sugar, honey, or agave you can, though I don't find it necessary.  If you want to add a little extra weirdness, float some fruit chunks in there!  Apparently kiwi and pineapple interfere with the set, so skip those.)

And remember...
It's never too early to learn and enjoy science!
As your body grows bigger, your mind must flower.  It's great to learn, because knowledge is power!!

He thinks this is what a mad scientist looks like...
Whether or not all that power turns you into an evil scientist is up to you... (Me thinks this one has more Doofenschmirtz than Frankenstein about him...)


  1. Love it! Wow, another party idea I need to put on my birthday party spreadsheet :) So creative Brooke, thanks for sharing. Looks like the lil scientists had a great time!


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