Science and Density: Lava Lamps

We are nearing the end of chapter 1 in Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics today….so today, we got to make lava lamps!

Of course the cool factor of lava lamps can’t be denied.  One of Jackson’s friends has an actual working lava lamp in his bedroom.  We talk about it almost every time we go over there to hang out.

Chapter 1 of Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics is all about matter and its properties.  We’ve learned about matter’s:

  • volume, displacement, mass and density
  • buoyancy
  • luster, color, shape and hardness
  • smell and a little about magnetism

Each one of these had at least one experiment to demonstrate exactly what the term meant.  For example, when we learned about density we did a fascinating experiment that contrasted the densities of different liquids with the densities of objects dropped into them:

Testing the densities of solid objects against the densities of different liquids

Testing the densities of solid objects against the densities of different liquids

Today we learned a little more about density as we constructed three lava lamps!  We were reminded that not only do different liquids have varying densities, but that gases have densities that react or interact with the liquids as well.

Gases bubbling up through the liquids of our lava lamps

Gases bubbling up through the liquids of our lava lamps

We’re also using a great living history book that is proving to be a wonderful companion piece to this chemistry and physics course:  Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick.  Not only is this a captivating historical read, but after you get through the introductory chapters that establish setting, many of the chapters deal with Archimedes’ discoveries and experiments.  And often, these illustrate principles that we’re learning about here, or will get to later in the course, like levers, displacement, and simple machines.

Jan 13 2014 006I selected this book because Jackson really loves science and we’ll be studying ancient Greece later in Story of the World Vol. 1.  Little did I know that it would be a perfect addendum to our science!

Enjoy!  (We sure are!)  –Wren

 

 

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