Today, we’re celebrating the holiday of love with a “hearty” dose of FUN science! Get ready to take a walk on the sweet side & discover if you’ve got the beat!
Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post to find FUN Valentine’s Day At-Home Science Experiments!
As always, We’d LOVE to hear how you spent your Valentine’s Day with Science! Click here to email us pictures & more!
To millions of American’s, Valentine’s Day means chocolate hearts, flowers & heart balloons, conversation hearts & even, heart cards. Matters of the heart have baffled humans since the dawn of time, with sonnets & entire books devoted to the meaning of love. But what about our actual hearts?
As we prepare to be immersed in heart-shaped imagery in the coming weeks, we wanted to investigate the mysteries of that vital organ that makes us tick – the human heart! It’s a fact that you can’t live or love without it & this month, we’re getting to the heart of the matter. Prepare to be amazed as we uncover some fascinating facts about our personal pumping machine!
Who says the kids at MIT only learn about quarks, electrons, and semiconductors? Turns out that for the past 6 years, a popular club at the prestigious school has celebrated the science of chocolate!
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a walk on the sweet-side of science to find some decadent facts straight from MIT’s Laboratory for Chocolate Science. Plus – check out the end for a delicious how-to video from the MIT Scientists with all you need to know for tea-infused chocolate truffles!
It’s time to Bring the Love Out of the Lab!
Power of the Pulse!
The heart. It’s amazing! Our heart is the key organ of our lives, pumping oxygen-rich blood to every part of our body. The rhythmic throbbing of your heart is called your pulse. Get Pumped as you explore the incredible power of the pulse & what makes us tick with this FUN at home experiment!
Pumping Heart Model
The heart has long been the symbol of poetic love and a widely used symbol on Valentine’s Day. Our blood picks up the oxygen from our lungs. Our blood carries the oxygen all through our bodies and picks up the CO2 that we won’t use. Then it’s released from our blood into our lungs for us to breathe out.
Our heart is a huge muscle that pumps our blood all through our bodies. This model shows how the heart muscle can pump blood.You can make this model of a heart with your child to demonstrate how blood is pumped around the body. Why does our blood only pump in one direction? (answer: the valves close off and do not allow the blood back into the chamber it just came from.) You can see how to make a model heart here: http://www.smm.org/heart/lessons/lesson5a.htm.
Good ‘ol baking soda and vinegar! These two substances react to form Carbon Dioxide. A solid (Baking Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate) and a liquid (Vinegar, or Acetic Acid) react to form a gas!
Fill a tall, clear glass half full of water. Let your child drop in 2 or 3 little candy valentine hearts (conversation hearts). Observe the hearts. Now stir in a Tb of Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate). Observe the hearts. Do you see any bubbles forming along the edges? Pour in a little Vinegar (acetic acid). Observe the hearts. Do you see any bubbles forming along the edges? Wait for a moment and you will see the bubbles form along the edges of the hearts…so many bubbles that they buoy up the heart so that it rises to the top of the water. The hearts will rise and fall. Why do the hearts fall? Why do they rise again?
Another round of Baking Soda and Vinegar to create a Carbon Dioxide explosion! You’ve probably all done this reaction at home, but put this Valentine’s Day twist on it for a lot of chemistry fun!
Pour a Tb of Baking Soda (Love Powder) into a tall, clear glass. We used a vinaigrette cruet because it looked more like a potion bottle. Drop in 2 drops of red food coloring. Have your child drop in one or two valentine candies (just for fun- they don’t effect the reaction). Now pour a tiny bit of vinegar (Valentine’s Day juice) into the bottle and swirl it all around quickly. Watch the liquid turn red and dissolve the solid baking soda. It will bubble slightly. Now pour a bit more vinegar into the bottle and observe the power of the Love Potion! Be sure to do this fun little experiment over the sink.
Find even more science experiments that are perfect for Valentine’s Day! You can perform a color change reaction, make a chemical “beating heart”, prepare a special Valentine gift, and more!
- How Love Works, Chemically Speaking
- Vanishing Valentine Chemistry Project
- Gallium Beating Heart Project
- Make Colored Flowers
- Make Your Own Perfume
- Make a Crystal Heart Decoration
- Hot and Cold Pink Valentine Demo
- Find More Valentine’s Day Projects
As always, We’d LOVE to hear how you spent your Valentine’s Day with Science!