Many fun, engaging, spooky, and creepy Halloween science activities can help spark student interest in science! Check out this “spooktacular” collection for some tricks and treats!
The Physics of Fake Blood
With Halloween just around the coffin…I mean, corner, it’s time to disgust your family and friends with some super convincing fake blood. This fun and gruesome activity from Science Buddies covers science concepts such as physics and viscosity and helps bring spooky characters to life, whether it’s dripping vampire teeth or a leaky bandage. Of course, this project is edible, which makes it more fun!
For this activity, click Scientific America: Science Buddies for the instructions, lesson, and supply list.
What is a leaf skeleton? A leaf skeleton is the structure of a leaf—its veins only—with the outer green layer and pulpy part of the leaf removed. Which leaves are best for making leaf skeletons? You want to pick leaves with strong skeletons, such as oak and maple.
Today, you can make these delicate designs in several ways, all of which require patience, trial and error, and maybe even a little luck. But once the technique is mastered, the results are amazing. Follow these steps from wildlifewatch.org to get started.
This spooky spin on static electricity is sure to be a hit with your students when you use the surface of a balloon and a piece of tissue paper to make a “ghost” dance. A dancing ghost is a great way to show students how when you rub a balloon on your hair, invisible electrons build up on the surface of the balloon causing an eerliy good dance party!
- Piece of white tissue paper
- Head of hair
- Cut a ghost shape out of the tissue paper
- Blow up a balloon and tie it.
- Rub it really fast on head of hair for about ten seconds which will add a static charge.
- Slowly bring the balloon near the ghost and watch as the ghost will begin to rise toward the balloon.
- You may want to add a small piece of tap to the bottom of the ghost which will help it not completely stick to the balloon.
Halloween Earth Science
This Halloween, perhaps think about taking a page out of the Mississippi State University’s lesson plan, and take students on a walking field trip to learn life lessons about respecting the deceased, honoring their memories and discovering how headstones weather the seasons of time.
Geology students gather yearly at Starkville’s Odd Fellows Cemetery along University Drive for a “Haunted Geological Cemetery Trip.” While there, they visually examined headstones to learn more about how weather changes rock characteristics over time. “They look at the different types of graves and the different kinds of stones that are used to make stones and how chemical weathering, like acid rain, and natural weathering affects the stone, depending on its age and type,” said graduate student Jeremy Weremeichik.
Professor Brenda Kirkland shares, “the cemetery contains some great examples of how some stones weather easily, and some stones are very durable.” Students look at the different types of graves and the different kinds of stones that are used to make stones and how chemical weathering, like acid rain, and natural weathering affects the stone, depending on its age and type. Kirkland states, “as geologists, we respect and love the stones, but not anywhere near as much as the people in this town loved their lost family members who are buried there. We realize that and have organized this to be as cautious and respectful as possible, while still allowing students to gain from this wonderful learning opportunity.”
Whether you can get in a walking tour or not, you and your students should definitely check out Bones and Stones: Cemetary Geology, a fascinating podcast from Scientific America that takes listeners on a walking tour of one of the great cemeteries in the United States – Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y., focusing on the geology of the landscape and the mausoleums.
The Clock Reaction
This clock reaction is the perfect combination of colors for Halloween. It starts out colorless, then within a blink of an eye, it changes color! Can you guess which two colors it turns?
- Make a starch paste; mix 4g soluble starch in a couple of milliliters of water
- Stir the starch paste in 500ml of boiling water. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature
- Add 13.7g of sodium metabisulphite. Add water to make 1 liter of solution
- Dissolve 3 g mercury (II) chloride in water
- Add water to make 1 liter of solution
- Dissolve 15g potassium iodate in water
- Add water to make 1 liter of solution
Get ready to amaze your students!
Step 1 – Mix 50 ml of Solution A with 50ml of Solution B
Step 2 – Pour this mixture into 50ml of Solution C
Add a bit more water to slow the reaction down
If you’re looking for an iodine clock reaction that uses simpler ingredients found at your local pharmacy, check out this video from the Bearded Science Guy:
Have a happy Halloween….. if you dare!