Saturday, October 31, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Why I Love Halloween!

My boys are already this year for Halloween.


Day 13:  Why I Love Halloween

I can't believe I completed 13 blogs in 13 days.  This has been great.  It has made me even more excited for Halloween night.  I also learned how to do more technical things on my blog. 

Thank you to everyone for reading my blog posts.  I hope you found some good science experiments and ideas.   Be sure to bookmark them so you have them for next year.'t forget to follow me on Facebook at 
and at my store:  I post lots of ideas for science experiments and always have something in the works. 

Why I Love Halloween!

I try to think of all the reasons I love Halloween.  The main reason is I just think it is fun.  I also thinkit is because I have so many good memories of Halloween.  Isn't that what inspires us as we get older.  Those memorable moments in childhood shape who we become.  As a child my mom would let my brother and I create a summer haunted house in the basement.  We would invite friends over and take over the basement for probably 2 weeks.  The best part was being creative and coming up with ideas.  We always had someone hiding under the pool table.  We would attach pulleys to the ceiling to make the pool sticks move and attach fishing line to pool balls to make them move across the table.  There was a mad scientist demonstrating concoctions.  The phone would rise into the air on a pulley system.  The best part was the tunnel.  We hung things from the top.  We also put half blown up rafts on the floor.  When they crawled through it made them wobble.  Close to the end we had to have a person jump out.  That usually made the kids run out the other way through the tunnel.  When it was all complete we put signs up around the neighborhood and my mom baked cookies.  We charge probably $0.25 and gave all the money to charity.  So much fun.  Today my kids do a summer haunted house.  They are pretty lucky to get to use some of my Halloween yard d├ęcor.  Although, I really liked the way we did it as a kids.  We didn't have all of that Halloween stuff and had to come up with cool ways to make it spooky with what we had. 

When I reached high school I sat on my front porch one Halloween.  I put on my dads boots, baggy clothes, and an old lady mask.  I sat really still on my porch and kids didn't know if I was real or fake.  That was so much fun.  When I would move it would freak them out.  I remember that being one of my best Halloweens.  I was hooked. 

Now I expand my yard every year.  I love the excitement the kids have when they come to my house.  I like knowing that I am creating a memorable moment for them.  I like creating knew things for the yard and costumes. 

I Found the Best Halloween House

Last night my kids and I finally drove over to a house on the other side of our neighborhood.  We heard about it, but didn't know it was this amazing.  I wish I had brought my camera.  The owner of the house told me I could put his website and video on my blog.
This house is amazing.  He makes pretty much everything himself.  The light show and music are awesome.  Talk about inspiring.  I don't think my house will ever be this elaborate.  He doesn't have room to store everything in his house.  I will learn some tips to expand mine for next year.  Be sure to check out the link and video.  It is so worth it.


If you live in the Midland, Michigan area and are interested in science classes please visit:

Have a Happy Halloween!  Time to finish my yard.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Last Minute Costumes



Day 11:  Last Minute Costumes

It is almost time for class parties and you want a simple costume with dramatic affect.  May be you have been the same thing for years and need a change.  Here are a few ideas and links that could help you out.   Since I am a science teacher you could always wear a your lab coat and be a mad scientist.

Create a scary mask


White mask from the craft store
Permanent markers of various colors
Picture of a skeleton or other scary face.


Using the correct colors create the design that is on the picture.  I used pictures of real faces with make up on.  Instead of painting my face I used the markers to create the design on the mask.  That way I have it from year to year. 

This worked great for my son's costume a few years back.  He still has the mask.  I use to paint my face like this, but this is so much

 Hogwarts Professor

Graduation Robe
Witch Hat
Tie and nice shirt
Print out a symbol for Hogwarts to attach to robe
Add a scarf
Just put the costume together.  Check Pinterest for more ideas.

Thrift Store Ideas

On your way home from work stop by the thrift store and see what you find.
Bride (Sometimes you find a wedding dress.)
Prom Queen
Beauty Queen

From things you have at home

Wear your suit and be a banker.  You could pass out fake money all day.
Wear a fancy dress from home and be a beauty queen.
Look through hats at home and see what you come up with.
Put on an apron and bring in some cooking utensils.  Easy chef or baker.

Super simple

Identity Theft
Get a pack of name tags.  Write different names on them.  Attach them all over your shirt.
Static Cling
Using safety pins attach socks and other laundry all over your shirt.

Links that may help.


Thanks everyone for reading my posts.  I am excited that today I get to do Glowing Glow Sticks in a 3rd grade class.  Tomorrow I will be doing elephants toothpaste in a 5th grade class.  So much fun.  Only two more days left.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Candy Science


Day 10:  Candy Science

We have made it to day 10.  We could eat all of the candy, but candy works great for science.  Here are some great ideas for fun candy science activities.  I also linked to some good sites I found too.

Floating M's and S's

Supplies:  M&M or Skittles Candy
                 Shallow Container
1.  Place the M&M's or Skittles letter side up in the container.
2.  Slowly pour water into the container so it is an inch or so above the candy.
3.  Watch as the candy begins to dissolve.
What Happened:
The water dissolves the candy, but not the letter.  As the candy dissolves the letter peels off and floats to the top.  Sometimes the letter slides under the candy, so make sure to put more than one piece in the container.

Gobstopper Colors

Supplies:  Gobstopper Candies
                 Shallow Container
1.  Place 4 different colored Gobstoppers in each edge of the container.
2.  Pour water into the container to just cover the candies.
3.  Observe the candies dissolving in the water.  Don't shake the table.
What Happens:
Gobstoppers are very brightly colored.  The dye begins to dissolve and color the water.  Because the container is not being shaken or stirred the colors do not mix.  You will get 4 distinct colors in each section of the container.  Eventually they will mix.

Hard Candy Colors

You can do the same thing with other hard candies.  Halloween theme is great.

Supplies:  Different patterned hard candies.   
                  Shallow Container
1.  Place the candy in the center of the container
2.  Pour water into the container.
3.  Observe as the candy dissolves. 
What Happens:
As the candy dissolves it will color the water.  Hopefully you will get pretty designs in the water.

Turn these into an Investigation

To turn any of these activities into an investigation you need to make a change and measure the affects of that change.  What changes can you make and then measure?
1.  The affects of different temperature water on dissolving time.
2. The affects of different types of liquid on the time it takes an "S" to float.
3.  The affects of different types of candy on the number of colors.

Here are some other great links.
Stay tuned for Day 11.
Science fair season is fast approaching.  Halloween science can make great science fair projects.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Colorful Flames


Day 9:  Creating Colorful Flames

Have you ever made flames of different colors.  This is a great activity.  I even used it for my son's Harry Potter themed birthday.  My favorite part is using the hand sanitizer as the fuel.  It gives a nice medium flame and burns at a nice speed.  My cousin is a high school chemistry teacher and gave me the idea.  It enables kids to actively participate.

Make sure to follow the directions carefully.  Please use safety precautions when working with fire.  Common sense and adult supervision is required. 

Creating a White Flame with Magnesium Sulfate

How it Works

Hand sanitizer is flammable because it is alcohol based.  When the flame touches the hand sanitizer it immediately lights on fire.  It will burn until all the alcohol has burned off.  When no chemicals are added you should get the typical yellow/orange flame and may be some blue.  In order to change the flame color the temperature of the fire needs to change.  Burning different chemicals can change the color of the fire, mainly metallic salts.  Epsom salt is composed of magnesium sulfate.  It is made of a metal and a nonmetal.  The metal magnesium makes the colored flame.  Magnesium increases the temperature causing a white flame.  You may even see a bright blue flame at the bottom and some orange near the top.  This is a very hot flame, so be careful.  The flame may appear invisible under normal light.  Darken the room if it is not visible.  Metallic salts are used to make different fireworks.  Magnesium sulfate is used to make bright white fireworks.  Never randomly test chemicals to see what will happen. 

Directions and other colored flames you can create are below.

Each chemical is tested one at a time.  Below is a list of chemicals and what colored flames they will produce. 

Directions for Creating a Colorful Flame

What You Need

 Tin Pie Pan              Hand Sanitizer         Matches             Lighter 
  Teaspoon                 Safety Goggles       Fire Extinguisher (must be safe)
Chemicals you can Try
Magnesium Sulfate (Epson Salt) = White Flame
Sodium Chloride (Table Salt) = Yellow Flame
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) = Yellow Flame
Borax (Detergent Booster) = Green Flame
Potassium Chloride (Lite Salt, found in grocer store with salt) = Purple


1. Put your safety goggles on.
2. Place the tin pan in front of you on a table.
3. Squirt 1 to 2 drops of hand sanitizer in the center of the pie pan.
4. Measure 1 teaspoon of the chemical of choice.
5. Sprinkle the chemical on top of the hand sanitizer.
6. Using the lighter, light the hand sanitizer.  It should light immediately, but it may be hard to see.  You may need to darken the room to see the colored flame.
7. If the flame is hard to see take an unlit match and hold it over the sanitizer.  The match should appear to magically light because the fire is still burning.
8. Be sure to hold a match over the chemical and sanitizer to make sure it is not still burning before handling the pie plate.  It is very hot.  Allow it to cool.  Wipe clean and test another chemical. 

More to come tomorrow in the 13 Days of Halloween.  For more great demonstrations that can be turned into science investigations check out Science Show and Tell
It is now a growing bundle.   Over 20 demonstrations and growing!

Monday, October 26, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Leaf Chromatography

Don't forget to add your resources to the 13 Days of Halloween Linky Party.  There was a technical issue, but it is all fixed. 

Day 8 Leaf Chromatography

When we think of Halloween we think of leaves falling.  This is a great time to explore why leaves are so colorful in the fall.
Be sure to check out the student pages included.

What is Chromatography?

Chromatography basically means “to write with colors.”  It is the process of separating a mixture by passing it through a medium in which the different components of the mixture move at different rates.  Russian botanist M.S. Tsewtt discovered paper chromatography in 1903.  He was able to separate the pigments in plants.  Paper chromatography is now used to determine the purity and make up of many compounds.  In paper chromatography the mixture is dissolved in a liquid and the medium it will travel through is the filter paper.  How well the pigments separate is dependent on how well they travel up the paper and how soluble they are in the solvent.   

Using Leaf Chromatography to Discover the Colors in Leaves

Plants need sunlight to perform the process of photosynthesis.  The leaves contain brightly colored pigments that are essential in light absorption.   The pigment chlorophyll is the most important in light absorption.  Chlorophyll A is bluish-green and chlorophyll B is yellowish-green.  Other pigments are xanthophyll and carotenoids.  Xanthophyll is yellow and carotenoids are orange.  In peak growing season plants contain mostly chlorophyll.  This is why most plants appear green.  The other pigments are still there, but they are masked by the chlorophyll.  Using Chromatography we can separate those colors.
The pigments in leaves are not very soluble in water.  Solubility
is how well a substance can dissolve in a solvent.  The pigments in leaves are very soluble in acetone which is found in nail polish remover.  They will also dissolve in rubbing alcohol.  When the filter paper is placed into the nail polish remover the liquid begins to travel up the paper.  When the nail polish remover reaches the green plant line the pigments begin to dissolve into the liquid.  The least soluble pigments appear first on the filter paper.  They are the heavier pigments.  The more soluble the pigment the further it will travel on the paper.  The pigment that travels the furthest is the lightest of all the pigments.  The colors you see tell you what pigments are most present in that leaf.  Spinach contains lots of green and yellow.  Other leaves can be tested too.  I like spinach because it is a thick leaf with lots of moisture.  It will make a nice line on the filter paper. 
When fall approaches the leaves start to break down the chlorophyll.  This reveals the other pigments in the leaves.  The pigments were always there, but hidden by the amount of chlorophyll.
Here are some student pages for the activity. 

Remember to always follow good lab practices when working with chemicals.  Students should wear goggles.  The room should be well ventilated.

More Chromatography Fun

There are many types of chromatography you can do.  Marker chromatography is great.  I also like to explore water traveling up paper in teaching about vascular and nonvascular plants.
 Be sure to come back for Day 9 tomorrow.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Touch and Feel Mystery Boxes


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Thank you to all that participated in the Halloween Rafflecopter

Day 7:  Touch and Feel Mystery Boxes

Mystery boxes are great at Halloween.  Students put their hand through a hole in a box and touch what is inside.  You label the item as a spooky Halloween item and the students have to guess what the item actually is. 

I like to take this up a notch and bring some more science skills into it.  Through my years of teaching I have found that taking observations is difficult for students.  It takes practice to learn how to write an observation instead of an opinion.  An observation is using the 5 sciences to describe something and an opinion is what you think of something.  Touch and Feel Mystery Boxes are a great way to practice this.


Have students take a sheet of paper and divide it in half.  On the left write "Observations" and on the right write "Opinion."  Students put their hand in the first mystery box.  They must write several observations and several opinions. 



In example number 1 the observations and opinions were for eye balls.  There were peeled grapes in the box.  Number 2 shows observations and opinions for mouse poop.  Rice was in the box.  They can not see the item, but they can draw a picture based on what they felt.

Ideas for the Mystery Boxes

I picked items that take less prep, but still have a big affect.

Mouse Poop = Bowl of Uncooked Rice
Eye Balls = Peeled Grapes
Teeth = Candy Corn or Corn Seeds
Hearts = Canned Whole Tomatoes
Worms= Cooked Spaghetti with a little oil to make them
extra slimy
Tongue = Dried Apricots  (This one is great!)
Witches Warts = Raisins
Ears = Dried Apple Slices
Fingers = Baby carrots
Intestines = Cooked Twisty Shaped Pasta

Making the Box

Lemon Squeezy Home Blog explains it so well.  I like that it shows using a copy paper box.  Schools are full of those.
Have fun exploring with Mystery Boxes.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

13 Days of Halloween: Decorating Fun


Day 6:  Decorating Fun

I enjoy decorating for Halloween.  I am one of those houses that tends to go all out.  I am also someone who works on a budget.  It has taken me years to get to where I am at.  Decorations don't need to be that elaborate.  The goal is to make your house special in some sort of way.  I look at it as giving the kids an experience when they walk up to the door.

These ideas could also apply to your classroom if you celebrate Halloween at school.  Get the students in on the fun and turn the class into a fun haunted house or fun house.  Coming up with your own ideas will spark students creativity and problem solving skills.

Ways to Create an Experience

Simple Creatures

I used an old witch decoration.  I added
some left over black netting to a bamboo
pole.  I attached the head.  On Halloween I shine
a light under her chin.
Save old capes and costumes to use for creatures.  Place the costumes on a landscape trellis for support.  Use an old Halloween mask or skeleton head at the top.  Bamboo poles work great to make a place for the head and arms.  Zip ties can be used to hold the poles in place.  On Halloween night place a battery powdered light or glow stick in the mask for an eerie affect. 

Here are two that I created.  Both are supported on a trellis. I pull them out and keep them stored in my basement.

Halloween Music

Playing scary or even fun music during trick-or-treating alone makes your house more exciting.

Craft Spider Webs

Craft spider webs are very inexpensive.  String some on bushes and windows.  Don't forget to add some giant spiders.

Glowing Eyes

Cut eyes in toilet paper rolls, add glowsticks, wait til night, observe and laugh. Muah ha ah ah ha ha: Take empty paper towel rolls and cut out two eye holes in them.  On Halloween night place a glow stick inside and seal the ends with duck tape.  Place the glowing eyes in bushes and trees around your house.  This is a simple and inexpensive craft, but has great affect.


They sell  tombstones everywhere or you could make your own.  The stakes they give you are way too short.  I like to use small tent stakes and skewers in the tombstones.  Just poke them through the bottom at an angle and into the ground. Two or three stakes will support them well.  Cover up the holes with some leaves or mulch.  They are much better supported.  This year my kids took left over wood and made tombstones for the yard.  They painted them and wrote words on them.  They were able to saw, hammer, nail, and paint.  Great things to learn.

Carving Pumpkins

Of course adding pumpkins is always a must.  If you don't have time to carve there are so many craft pumpkins.  Most come with their own light. 

Fog Machine

Three years ago I finally got a fog machine.  Since I shop on a budget I found one after Halloween for half the price.  It gives your house such an eerie look.  A fog machine and music will transform your house.

Dry Ice

If you can get some dry ice it is wonderful. Our local grocery store sells it.  Just remember there are precautions.  You want to make sure wherever you put it the kids can not reach their hand in to touch it.  You can place it in containers inside pumpkins and pour warm water over the top.  It will look like fog is coming out of the pumpkin.  Add some soap and the pumpkin will look like it is foaming.  Here is a great video to dry ice fun.

Dress Up

If you are going to create an experience at your house don't forget to dress up.  It is much better if the person comes to the door in costume.  I like to stand out front on my porch in full costume.

This is me in a headless costume on my front porch.

Don't forget to shop the day after Halloween for supplies.  They will be 50%-75% off.  I don't like to pay full price for anything.  I buy stuff the day after and then store it away for next year.  The following year I open up my bins and remember all the goodies I bought.

Please post your own ideas in the comments.

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To share your ideas please join my Halloween Linky Party.  Check out all of the other ideas too.