This November Maker Jawn got down to the nitty-gritty. We explored the tiniest parts of our world to try and understand how we are all made up of the same substances and yet we are all so unique. From the periodic table of elements, to molecular structures, to DNA we explored the smallest structures of our world.
For our first experiment we used borax and boiling water to stir up a mixture to create crystals. When borax is mixed with hot water it dissolves and its molecules move around quickly, staying separate. But as this solution cools the Borax molecules start to move towards each other in favor of a more stable state. The molecular structure of Borax is naturally crystalline so as it cools crystals form. We suspended pipe cleaners in the solution so the crystals could be removed from the jar. Makers enjoyed this experiment so much that they re-did the process all week, perfecting the ratios and changing the designs.
To further our understanding of molecular structure we made miniature models of molecules found in our atmosphere. These molecules include the elements hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen and have fairly simple structures. Makers used different colors of Sculpey to represent the different elements. After we baked the creations we added them to chains so we could wear them around our necks and represent our favorite atmospheric molecule.
For our Thanksgiving project we tried out an activity introduced by our resident scientist, Molly. Using soap, salt and alcohol we separated out strands of DNA from bananas! It’s crazy to look at the snotty stuff and think about all the detailed information that it holds.