Spark, Slime, and Speed | Science Museum of Minnesota

Spark, Slime, and Speed

Sunday, February 19

Noon to 4 p.m.

National Engineers Week happens in February of each year. The Science Museum and the Society of Women Engineers invite visitors to celebrate during the Spark, Slime, and Speed event. With five interactive experiments representing different areas of engineering, the event will open kids’ eyes to the wonderful world of engineering and science. Kids will build and perform the experiments with the help of real engineers. Included in regular museum admission.

Spark (Electrical Engineering) – Squishy Circuits
In this session, learn the basic principles of an electric circuit. Then, take what you learned and create your own circuit designs made with conductive and insulating dough! In addition to harnessing creativity and troubleshooting skills, you'll experience electrical engineering using materials other than the typical wires and breadboards. Visualize how electrical engineers can apply their knowledge to many interesting scenarios. For example, an electrical engineer may work with squishy circuits such as nerves to design a medical device!

Slime (Chemical Engineering) – Bouncy Balls
In this experiment, create your own bouncy ball to take home. This activity demonstrates an interesting chemical reaction, namely between water and a polymer packet. As the polymer absorbs water, it creates chains of molecules that stay together when you pick them up, and the mold helps to bind the molecules together so that they hold their shape better. Finally, you will be challenged to ponder how the bouncy balls will behave on different surfaces, exploring the concepts of potential and kinetic energy.

Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Just what is this slimy, stringy, rubbery stuff? This polymer is unique because it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. In this activity, you'll make and color your own slime while learning how polymers form. You will also learn how adding different quantities of each ingredient can change the properties of your slime.

Speed (Mechanical Engineering) – Marble Roller Coasters
In this session, you will comprehend basic physics concepts that are applicable to roller coaster construction, including potential energy, kinetic energy, and momentum. Apply your understanding as you construct and test your roller coaster, made of foam tubing and marbles. You'll be encouraged to work as a team during roller coaster construction.

Additional Experiment – Bath Fizzies
Some bath products fizz and make bubbles when added to water - why? In this session, explore the fundamentals of the acid and base reaction while learning about process scale-up. Groups will help make a large-batch of their own bath-fizzies and package them up to take home. Think through how a chemical engineer would scale up the recipe to make 500 and 1,000 bath fizzies.