Make a Simple Lava Lamp

When we were visiting Old Town Elementary yesterday (more about that later!), one of the students asked if we knew how to make a lava lamp.  That was a good question, so I found some directions today for how to make one using simple materials.  What color food coloring will you use in your lava lamp?

How to Make a Lava Lamp


Saturday Science: Cat Static

Yukon the cat

Yukon doesn’t understand laptops

Today’s science post was inspired by Yukon the cat. Yukon doesn’t understand laptops – or perhaps it’s that she doesn’t want to understand. Spending all this time with a useless box is beyond absurd – what’s the point of a box if you can’t sit in it? And even though she can’t talk, she has her ways of making her opinions known.

So today’s Saturday Science has to do with cats and static.  Have you ever stroked a cat’s fur in the dark, and seen sparks?  Cat Static* will tell you why! Thanks to our friends at Little Shop of Physics for today’s experiment!

* Yukon wants to tell you not to make a cat do this experiment if they don’t want to!

Tornado in a Bottle

If you’ve been at one of our visits or events, you’ve seen our “Tornado in a Bottle” exhibit.  It’s easy to make – here’s a link to some directions!

Just for fun, here’s a different way to make a “Tornado in a Bottle.”  I like the idea of putting glitter in the bottle!

Making Rainbows


Want to make your own rainbow?  It’s really easy, and you’ll understand how rainbows happen.

ACCHaOS on the Road: Star Party Time!

021It’s time for the first Star Party of the Spring 2012 semester!  Join us on Friday, February 15th from 5:30pm until 9:30pm at ACC’s Round Rock campus for a night of family-friendly science and fun.  It’s free, and the public is invited.

From 5:30 until 8:00pm, ACCHaOS will have their hands-on science activities set up in the lobby of building 2000, and the Austin Planetarium will be presenting planetarium shows in the mobile planetarium, the Discovery Dome.

From 7:00 until 8:00pm, Dr. Jim Heath of the Astronomy and Physics programs at ACC will give an hour-long talk,  “What’s the Deal with Pluto?”,  in room 3339 in building 3000.

At 7:30 the observing deck will be opened for some guided night sky viewing through the three ACC telescopes. At 7:30 the observing deck will open, and ACC faculty will assist the public in viewing the night sky.  The Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, and of course, our own Moon will be in the sky for viewing.

More information about the event  is available at

Online Physics Simulations

The University of Colorado has free online physics simulations.  I know,  “Online Physics Simulations”  sounds dry, but these are fun.  How can you not want to try out “John Travoltage”?  Some may too advanced for young students, but give them a whirl:

Take-away Science Fun

I’ve been thinking that we need to have a “take-away”, especially at the Star Parties – something  that kids could participate in creating, and then take home with them.  We’ve thought about having something to give – stickers, pencils, etc, but in keeping with the interactive theme of ACCHaoS, I think some they make and take is appropriate.

Of course, I need to find something – in fact, several somethings (something different for each Star Party) that is quick, simple, and not terribly messy.  I don’t want to wear out our welcome at RRC, and I don’t want it to be something that it a disaster in the car on the way home.  Hey, I’m a mom – I know how you feel about those “gifts” that trash the inside of your car.

So I’ve been searching, and where better to look than Pinterest (my secret addiction).  This is what I’ve come up with so far:

Good idea, or making my life harder (something I excel at)?  What do you think?  Have any good science-y activities?


Make Your Own Snow Globe

It certainly is wintry outside today – at least, it’s wintry for Central Texas.  Our neighbors to the north in Dallas-Ft.Worth got some snow, but we didn’t get any.

Thinking about snow – or our lack of snow – made me think about snow globes.  So, I did a little searching, and I found a website with directions on making your own snow globe with things you probably have at home.  Might be a fun project for those of us with no snow, or for those kids at home today because the schools are closed.  Here’s the link: