As a STEM ambassador, I’ve done quite a lot of practical science lessons with my children and primary age school children. There are lots of science books that you can get full of experiments that you can do at home. When they reach secondary school it’s a little more difficult without having a science lab at home. Not only do science experiments need special equipment including a bunson burner, but they also need a bunch of chemicals that you can’t just get from your local supermarket (or not in their pure form at least). So about a year ago I subscribed to Mel Chemistry which is a monthly science subscription service. You start with a set of basic equipment and then each month you get a pack containing most of the chemicals you need along with simple step-by-step instructions to complete the experiments (usually two or three related experiments) and an explanation of the science behind them.
I’ve been slowly working through them with my daughter who is very keen on science, but my son hasn’t really taken much interest. That is until today when I was helping my son with science during the coronovirus / covid-19 lockdown and school closures. His lesson included watching some videos and answering some quizzes which he worked through and then I suggested getting out the Mel Science kits and looking for a related experiment. We found two experiments that fitted well which my daughter had done with a friend. As the Mel Science kits include enough of the chemicals to complete the experiments twice we had everything we needed.
The topic my son is covering in science is acids and alkalis and the practical experiments were both around PH indicator which is a perfect fit with the school lesson. The experiements we did were:
The experiments are usually easy to do and usually take between about 10 minutes and 40 minutes. Whilst almost everything is provided you do sometimes need to buy some items yourself. One is Hydrogen Peroxide which I already know as something you can buy from most pharmacists (used in elephant toothpaste catalyst experiments I have done with the Cub Scouts). The one thing I still need to find is starch, they sell it in an aerosol at a local supermarket but I’ve not been able to find a suitable source at the moment.
Aside from this little thing the kits have been really good. The experiments have clear instructions and almost always work first time as long as you follow the instructions correctly. It’s been useful to encourage my daughter’s interest in science and even more so with schools closed. I’ve also learnt some more about chemistry as well.
Note: This is purely my own opinion. I have no involvement or affiliation with Mel Chemistry other than as a paying subscriber.
Also see – Mentos and Cola science experiments
Here’s a video I made several years ago of a simple science experiment involving mentos and coke / cola.