BC Buddies in Vernon

On November 28th at the Okanagan Science Centre, we were scientists for the day! With eight students together with COVID-19 protocols in place, we were able to kick off the very first BC Buddies in Vernon. We started off by introducing ourselves and sharing one thing we wish we learned more about. Some responses included: “I wish I knew more about sharks”, “I wish I knew how bubble gum was made”, and “I wish I knew more about screens”.
We then dove into our experiments.

First we answered the question “What is sound?” by actually seeing sound with our eyes by blowing a candle out with sound. We all made a drum with a milk carton and wax paper; we placed the drum an inch from the candle and hit it, bam! The candle would go out with no trouble. An interesting thing that happened was when we hit a very large drum close to the candle, it would not go out! Why? Because the drum was not funnel shaped like the milk carton, so the sound would spread out as soon as it left the drum, instead of being concentrated into the funnel and hitting the candle with more force. We learned that this is similar to our ear canals being funnel-shaped and their job is to concentrate sound to our eardrums! We also learned that sound is caused by a force that moves air particles, which hit things like our candle or our ear drums.

Next was time for the extra-large auditory system puzzle. The students thrived in working together to put the system together from the start of the ear to the finish (the brain). Then we got to see what Jessica and Tim’s actual ear drums looked like with a video otoscope in their ears!

The second experiment switched our gears into learning some chemistry by making our own lava lamps. We filled a bottle with oil and water and learned why they don’t mix due to different polarities. We also learned that water is denser than oil and so water would sink and oil would float (even though there was much more oil in the bottle than water). We added food colouring and Alka-Seltzer tablets to our bottles and watched how the carbon (from the tablets) would grab the water and pull it through the oil (just like a lava lamp!). We also had some fun with salt by adding a bunch to our lamps, making some fizz action and explosions!

Last but not least was time for bubble experiments with the great Geoff Akins (also known as bubble man!). We learned how to blow the best bubbles, what pops bubbles and what doesn’t (did you know a wet sharp pencil will not pop a bubble?!), how to catch bubbles, how to stack bubbles on each other to make a bubble caterpillar, and of course—how to go inside a bubble! It was an incredible and an interactive experience with bubbles.

Thank you everyone for coming out and making this meeting possible by followingCOVID-19 precautions, being safe, and being kind to one another. Looking forward to the next meeting next year!