By Tabitha Jenkins, The Biochemical Society
Fa la la la la, la la la la. Tis the season to be jolly and start decorating! Why not make your Christmas different this year and add a sprinkle of science to your decorations. If you are like me, you like to make your own decorations, and even better have a theme! Well this year let’s make it all about Science; there is no reason we can’t enjoy both and even better, combine them!
Here is a list of my top ones I have found and will most certainly be trying in the weeks coming up to Christmas; if you have kids to entertain, are a scientist or just a massive science nerd why not join me and have a go! And then share your creations with us on Twitter @The_Biochemist.
1. Science Inspired Christmas Tree Baubles
This year when you put up your tree, and start adding the tinsel and baubles, why not add a little something special, give your tree a science makeover. Create hanging ornaments from petri dishes, bacteria patterns are artworks themselves, you can recreate drawing these in your petri dish ornaments. Or you could even create all the planets to hang on your tree!
2. Grow your own Crystal Snowflakes
Growing salt crystals is easy, just make sure to do it a few days before you need your creation. You will need table salt (or borax powder-washing detergent, for a thicker crust), hot water, and paper cut outs of your snowflakes. To make these stand out more you could make snowflake stars from pipe-cleaners. Make a 1:1 suspension solution of salt/borax in hot water- you can add food colourings to change the colour. Place your cut out snowflakes into a dish and pour the salt solution over the shapes. For the pipe-cleaners, suspend the structure in a jar and fill the jar with the salt solution to get a full covering of salt. Now just wait for the water to evaporate and there you have your crystal snowflakes giving the illusion of frosted snow that you can hang in the window.
3. Christmas Science Erupting Ornaments
These erupting science baubles provide a fun science experiment to do during the Christmas festivities doubling up as a table show stopper at your Christmas Party. To do this one you will need plastic globe ornaments with removable tops, baking soda, vinegar, different food colours and lots of glitter. Prepare for mess, the bigger the eruption the bigger the mess! Put about 2 tablespoons of baking soda into each bauble and all the glitter you want. Mix in a separate container, LOTS of vinegar and food colouring. When you are ready to go, add the vinegar to the ornaments and enjoy the spectacular Christmas science experiment.
4. Candy Cane Fluffy Slime
You can’t have Christmas without candy canes and you can’t have science without Slime. Making slime is a great science activity for the whole family (or just you if you want to be reminded of your childhood science lessons). It’s easy, there are loads of great recipes online – all you need is shaving cream, PVA glue, some red food colouring, baking soda and saline solution (must contain boric acid and sodium borate. The shaving cream makes the slime nice a fluffy, perfect to create your candy canes.
5. DNA Tinsel!
A classic really, or at least it should be. I cover my home in tinsel so if you really want to get the message of science across this is a great one. Four bases, four tinsel colours, and a fifth colour for the DNA backbones. Wrap the backbones into a double helix, then using your four base colours create your ‘stripped’ DNA base pairing-You get the idea!
This is only a few of the amazing ways you can decorate your home with science this Christmas! You all now know what my home will look like this December… Enjoy being creative and I wish you a Very Merry Science-Christmas!
If you are also looking for science inspired Christmas presents, check out James Brown’s gifts guide here.