Making a mess is generally frowned upon, but if you are learning important scientific principles and creating cool science experiments, then the mess will have to be excused. Within the pages of this diabolically genius book is a collection of experiments that kids can do at home. They may make a mess, but they are fun, easy, and educational.
About the Author
Jordan D. Brown has written award-winning books, articles, and websites for children, teachers, and parents. His clients include Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, TIME for Kids, and Thirteen/WNET. His nonfiction work includes Robo World, a biography of a robot designer; his children's fiction includes Just Kidding! and Animal E.R. Brown has written science articles, games, and humorous songs about astronomy, paleontology, marine biology, and much more for the American Museum of Natural History's kids website, OLogy. Brown has also served as Educational Consultant for a variety of preschool children's shows, including The Mr. Men Show (Cartoon Network), Dinosaur Train (PBS), My Friend Rabbit (NBC), and Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends (Nickelodeon).
Read an Excerpt
It Jiggles! It Glows!
What’s that jiggling, glowing thing on the table? Oh, it’s dessert. This experiment needs an adult minion!
Stuff You Need
• nonstick spray
• 1 cup tap water
• 1 cup cold tonic water
• 1 package of blue or green Jell-O or other brand of flavored gelatin
• rectangular mold OR glass pan
• oven mitts
• wooden spoon
• cookie cutters (optional)
• cookie sheet with edges OR sink (to fill with warm water to loosen set gelatin)
• black light (available in hardware stores, costume shops, or online)
1. Spray your mold or glass pan with nonstick spray.
2. Pour 1 cup of tap water into a saucepan. With a grown-up’s help, bring it to a boil on the stove.
3. Using oven mitts, take the pot off the stove and set it on a heat-safe surface. Stir in the gelatin powder with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved (about two minutes).
4. Stir in 1 cup of cold tonic water. Pour into your lightly sprayed mold or glass pan.
5. Refrigerate until the gelatin has set (about four hours).
6. If you’d like, cut the gelatin into shapes using cookie cutters. Rest the bottom of the pan or mold in some warm water, in either a sink or a cookie sheet with edges. This will loosen the gelatin. Then remove the cutouts or flip the gelatin over onto a serving plate.
7. In a dark room, shine a black light on the gelatin to make it glow.
8. If you want your gelatin to really glow, stick it inside a nuclear reactor!
Hmmm… What’s Going On?
The secret stuff that makes this Jell-O glow in the black light is quinine. That’s one of the ingredients in tonic water. Quinine is a chemical that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree.
In the 1600s, people discovered that quinine helped treat a terrible disease called malaria. By putting quinine in tonic water, scientists were able to help fight malaria in India and Africa. Quinine is similar to some of the chemicals used in sunscreen. These chemicals, like quinine, absorb the UV light and keep your skin from absorbing it.
Black light gives off one kind of light we can see (visible light) and another we cannot. The light that is invisible to our eyes is ultraviolet light (sometimes called UV light). When tonic water is put under a black light, the quinine in the tonic water absorbs the UV light. This energizes the quinine’s electrons. (Electrons are the itty-bitty, invisible particles that move around the outside of an atom.) These excited electrons give off their extra energy as blue light (depending on the Jell-O color).
Excerpted from "Crazy Concoctions"
Copyright © 2012 Jordan D. Brown.
Excerpted by permission of Charlesbridge.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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