Easy Kids Science Fair Project Idea and Demonstration

In this science project you will learn how to create a thermometer to measure heat.

This is an instrument used in various applications to measure temperature. Doctors use them to check our body heat and we use a gauge outside to see how cold or warm the weather is. In the United States we general use Fahrenheit to measure the temperature but you can also use Celsius. With Fahrenheit 32 degrees is freezing and 0 degrees is freezing with Celsius measurements.

Here is what you will need to get:

  • Water
  • Alcohol (rubbing alcohol – DO NOT DRINK)
  • Clear plastic bottle. Use a common water bottle which is empty
  • Food color
  • Straw
  • Play dough

Instructions to make this equipment:

  1. Mix equal parts of the water and alcohol together to make about c cup. This means you will need 1/8 cup of water and 1/8 cup of alcohol. Do not make more than this amount.
  2. Pour the liquid into the plastic bottle.
  3. Put a few drops of food coloring into the bottle. This will be your measure for the thermometer so make it interesting. A normal gauge uses red as its color because it stands out so if you want it to look traditional use a red food color.
  4. Mix the color with the liquid until blended.
  5. Insert the straw through the opening but do not let it touch the bottom of the bottle. The bottom of the straw should sit in the liquid but not touch the bottom.
  6. Use the play dough or clay and put it around the mouth of the bottle securing the straw in place. You can actually wrap the dough around the lip a little to make sure it seals the bottle and holds the straw where it should be.
  7. DO NOT DRINK THIS!

Now warm your hands up by rubbing them together quickly and then place them around the bottle. Hold them on the bottle and watch the straw in your thermometer rise.

Congratulations! You just made a thermometer and it is showing the heat created by holding your hands on the bottle.With a thermometer when the solution inside gets warm it expands and pushes the mixture up the opening because it no longer fits in the bottom of your plastic container . If your mixture would get very hot the alcohol would end up spilling out the stop of the straw.

Leave your thermometer on a counter and watch it through the day and over a week time period to graph how it changes. Does it go up if the bottle is placed in the sun? What happens when it is shaded? Now this will not show the exact temperature outside but it does show change in warmth and coolness by the expansion of the mixture.

When finished with your product. Make sure to have your parents dispose of the material in a proper place and you will have to throw away the bottle. It can not be used for anything else. Enjoy this science …