A lot of parents have been struggling with keeping their kids entertained at home while trying to help teach them. It’s so hard to put down the screens sometimes- but fun science experiments are a great way to keep the kids busy while teaching them something new!
Today’s experiment is a crowd favorite for our school visits: MAKE YOUR OWN CLOUD IN A BOTTLE☁️
Here’s what you’ll need:
- a jug/ plastic bottle
- bike tire pump / balloon pump
- rubbing alcohol (works with warm water but results aren’t as good)
- Optional (but highly encouraged): some sort of makeshift rubber stopper to plug up the opening to your jug around the air pump
1. Coat the bottom of your jug/ bottle with a little bit of rubbing alcohol- just enough to moisten the sides. This works best if you put some inside and shake the bottle so the sides get coated too.
2. Using your air pump, start pumping in air into the jug. How much air you need will depend on the size of your bottle. A good way to tell if you have just about enough is if you pause the the bike tire pump feels like it wants to push upwards out of the jug.
3. Once you feel you’ve added enough air, unplug the top and watch as your jug instantly fills with a cloud! (Warning: sometimes the jug may bounce or kick back if a lot of air has been added)
Here’s the teachable moment in this experiment:
The water vapor in the jug is getting squished together more & more as we add more air. This is what we see makes clouds in the atmosphere in a process called condensation! When warm, moist air rises it cools and forms a cloud. In the jug, when our stopper is pulled out air is being released, it expands & cools! This cooling allows water vapor molecules to stick together. Clouds are just a bunch of water vapor molecules sticking together! ☁️
One question we get in this experiment is: why rubbing alcohol? Rubbing alcohol evaporates faster than water so the results can be seen easier!