In most areas of the United States, the warmer weather has both teachers and kids thinking about summer. For me, I started thinking about science that can be done outside! For instance, instead of doing our Gummy Bear Dare catapults for gummy bears, why not have kids design them for water balloons?!!!
Then recently a Shaving Cream Challenge appeared on my Facebook feed, where people film themselves stepping into Crocs filled with shaving cream. That led me to wonder about the multiple uses for shaving cream (we used to use it to get spots out of the carpet), and whether these uses were actually valid. Couple that with memories of my young children playing with shaving cream and I thought: Why not have kids design experiments Mythbusters style? Having your students test certain myths scientifically is a great way for them to feel empowered as scientists while also allowing them to think critically about whether or not some of these myths are true.
For these experiments, the driving questions that students will be answering is, “Is it true?” If you haven’t seen an episode of Mythbusters, I highly suggest it, since they really show the processes of science in a fun way. These are also fun episodes to show kids when they study the nature of science, too! …especially before doing this set of Mythbusting experiments!
First, have kids look up the uses for shaving cream. I happened upon this site, Joey Green’s Wacky Uses for Shaving Cream, which can be a great start. Have kids work in teams of 2, and as they go through the different uses of shaving cream, ask them, “Do you think this use is true? Do you think it would work?” then, have them design experiments for determining whether or not the use actually works.
For example, when I was a kid, my mother taught me to use shaving cream to clean up the accidents left by the dog. Kids can test this (in a sanitary and dog-free way) by using water mixed with yellow paint, and pouring it onto white material, or a light scrap of carpet. They can test this against other pet stain cleaners, as well, to find out the best method to get out pet stains!
Joey Green’s page suggests that shaving cream can be used for cleaning pots and pans. Perhaps your students go home to test this on the pans, themselves!
For each experiment that your students design, be sure to have them have their scientist hat on, and ask for a control group. In other words, in addition to using shaving cream, they can compare it against a known agent to see if it is any better. For example, students should compare the pots and pans cleaned with shaving cream with pots and pans cleaned with regular dishwashing soap.
Can shaving cream clean off your student’s desks? This could be another experiment to try (and to compare it against a known cleaner, like a Clorox wipe, or cleaning solution), AND you get the benefit of having clean desks at the end of it.
Have questions on experimental designs? Send a me a line, or drop a question into our Facebook group, and we can help!