Independence Day Science

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What could be more fun during your 4th of July celebrations this year than some added science lessons?  No, I'm not talking about making family vacation time into school.  When you think about how we celebrate Independence Day, there are plenty of experiments and learning experiences built right in!


I can't think of a more exciting way to see science in action!  I'm sure as kids we all tried the tricks with coffee cans and Black-jacks.  No?  Regardless of whether you are participating in the show or just sitting back and watching the biggun's, fireworks are a great lesson in chemistry, physics, and technology.

If your children express an interest in fireworks, maybe you could entice them to find more about how they were invented.  You could do research into pyrotechnics and the relationship between fireworks and gunpowder.

As with all fire and flames, remember to keep it safe and legal!

Try How Stuff Works for more fascinating info on fireworks.

Ice Cream

Making home-made ice cream is one of the best ways to demonstrate the freezing point and transfer of heat.  You can also have ice cream tastings with a mixture of home-made and store-bought flavors to determine which kind has the smoothest texture, best taste, melts the fastest, etc.

Maybe your kids have never made ice cream before.  Discuss where the raw ingredients come from; milk, sugar, and flavorings. How is sherbet made?  Is there a difference between ice cream, custard, and frozen yogurt?

You can find all these answers and more at The Complete Guide to Ice Cream.


Insects that act like flashlights make great science fun!  You can find out about bio-luminescence, the cool science term for the chemical method and process that these little beetles use to light up.  Catch them in a jar or your hand, or count how many you can see.  Help scientists keep track of firefly numbers on Firefly Watch.

All the little insects and creatures you encounter on your adventures can count towards biology and ecology.


There is science even in the games you play.  Our favorite lake-side entertainments as children included horseshoes, frisbee, and sand volleyball.  Any game played outdoors incorporates physics, health, biomechanics, and even probability.

Find some fun outdoor games to include in your holiday at Family Fun.

Any activities your family is involved in while celebrating our nation's birthday will include some science.  The pleasure and excitement come from learning while not even realizing it!

Aadel Bussinger

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