Updated: Jun 13, 2021
These days, the rise of carbon dioxide emissions, electricity consumption, and freshwater usage has caused significant damage to the environment. The life science industry, in particular, also holds a specific impact on the environment. A life science project is a great way to teach kids about the importance of sustainability or become more eco-friendly. The good news is that you don't need a laboratory or fancy tools to conduct these experiments at home. In this post, we'll discuss several cool life experiments that you can teach kids so that they'll become more aware of the environment using items that you already have with you at home.
For more activities you can do with your students, visit the Green Living Science YouTube Channel. 1. Food Waste Audit Experiment
As we've mentioned previously, food sent to trash and eventually to the landfill will create methane, trapping heat in the atmosphere, and causes considerable climate change. Fortunately, there are several ways you can avoid food waste. You can do this by planning your meals ahead of time, donating or sharing leftover food, eating leftovers, or freezing food scraps and then using them to make soups. You can also try regrowing food scraps or try composting to avoid food from being wasted. 3. The Landfill Experiment
Food decomposition with oxygen is entirely different from food that's decomposing on a landfill without oxygen. So, by picking various kinds of foods, you'll observe every food source's breakdown and the amount of gas that it produces.
What you need to do is to fill every test bottle with water. That way, you can recreate a no oxygen environment that's almost similar to the rudimentary conditions found in a landfill.
Partially fill three out of four containers with food scraps filling each container to the top with water. You should fill the fourth container with just water as it will be your control for the experiment.
Then, these bottles should be covered with a balloon with tape if they're not tight. Over days or a week, you'll notice that some balloons will begin to blow up when food decomposes and produces methane gas.
Setting up this experiment allows you and your learners to know what type of landfill your waste travels to. Furthermore, doing these types of experiments is educational for both adults and kids as it shows various foods produce various amounts of greenhouse gases sent to a landfill.
4. Air Pollution Experiment
It can be challenging to understand the concept behind air pollution because one doesn't often see it. This experiment helps you and your learners understand that there's more to air and why it's vital to keep it clean.
You'll be needing a white sheet of paper, a small rock, petroleum jelly, and a piece of clear plastic (either a plastic plate or cup).
Then, start spreading the petroleum jelly on the cup or plate, then find a rock or a heavy object to weigh it down.
Take a photo, and leave the cup for twenty-four hours. The following day, you can place a white paper behind the plate or inside the cup. That way, it will be easier to see the particles you have collected from the petroleum jelly.
5. Compost Bottle
Sometimes, explaining composting can be challenging even if you have your compost bin because everything's contained. You can make your transparent compost bottle instead.
You'll need an empty plastic bottle (at least 2 liters), soil, leaves, grass, yard waste, and other kinds of compostable kitchen scraps.
Then, remove any labels from the bottle, then cut off from the top. Try to fill the bottle with soil, placing a layer of compostable material. Alternate the layers between soil and other materials until you fill the bottle.
Then, place the bottle outside where it will get enough sun, and it won't be disturbed. You can then place it outside for several weeks, checking it regularly. That way, you'll see how the compost will change regularly.
Doing the cool science experiments listed above are great in giving hands-on lessons on more pressing concerns about our environment. This includes learning about sustainability, the science behind decomposition, how single-use plastic does not break down and come back to the earth, and more. No need to set up a fancy lab or science equipment.