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Summer Family Fun: Home Science Experiments

GlaxoSmithKline's Science in the Summer program offers these family-friendly and safe experiments on density.

This month, GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer (www.scienceinthesummer.com) returns to libraries throughout the Delaware Valley, teaching students entering grades 2nd through 6th about the wonders of science. Using simple, inquiry-based, hands-on experiments and everyday objects, the students gain first-hand knowledge of complex concepts, such as Newton’s laws of motion, what causes static electricity and how genetic traits make us who we are.

Here’s a fun science experiment on the concept of density from GlaxoSmithKline’s Chemistry curriculum that parents and their children can do at home:

(For optimum safety, an adult should be present during all experiments, and children should wear safety glasses when conducting experiments at home and school.)

Experiment on Density

What is density? Density is the scientific way of comparing the heaviness or lightness of substances (compactness of molecules).  The density of water is one gram per milliliter. If an object has a density greater than one gram per milliliter, it will sink when submerged in water. If an object has a density less than one, it will float when submerged in water.

Experiment #1: Collect a variety of small household objects, such as a paperclip, rubber band, plastic cap, coin, stamp, cork, bar of soap, eraser, toothpick, etc. and a small bowl of water. Ask you child to predict which objects will sink and float in water.  Let your child test his theories to determine which objects have a density greater than water (object sinks) or less than water (object floats).

Experiment #2:  Next, fill two plastic cups about two-thirds full of water. Add two tablespoons of salt to one of the cups.  Ask the child what will happen when you put an uncooked egg in each solution. Gently put an egg in each cup. Discuss what happens.  The density of an egg is slightly more than fresh water, so the egg will sink. If it is put in salty water, it will float because the salt-water solution is denser than the egg.

[For a detailed video demonstration of this experiment from Patch's Practical Science Blog, ]

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GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer program is administered by The Franklin Institute. Taught by certified teachers, the courses vary by county and continue through early August. This month, students in Montgomery County will learn about Physics using six kinds of Simple Machines - lever, inclined plane, screw, wheel, pulley and gear. Other students will learn about Genetics (Bucks County), Chemistry (Chester County), Physical Science/Electricity (Delaware County), and Oceanography (Philadelphia County).

GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer program is conducted in partnership with local libraries and The Franklin Institute. For more information about the program, please visit www.scienceinthesummer.com or your local library.
About GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information, go to us.gsk.com, follow us on twitter.com/GSKUS or visit our blog (www.morethanmedicine.us.gsk.com/blog/). 

About The Franklin Institute – Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. It is dedicated to creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake. For more information, please visit www.fi.edu.

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