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  • Gloria Hoffner

Science in a Straw

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

Science for Seniors FREE Tuesday activity asks you to remember blowing bubbles in your milk with a straw? Did you ever shoot or were the victim of a spit ball from a straw? Science is all around us in our memories and in how we connect with the world from the edges of the universe to the dining room table. Here are some fun ideas you and your residents can do with straws. Trivia - Who invented the straw? Answer - The first straws were made from stalks of grain. When was the first commercial straw? Answer - Marvin Chester Stone of Washington, D.C. patented his straw in 1888. What was the first commercial straw made from? Answer - It was made from manila paper, hand rolled and coated with paraffin. When did manufacturing straws begin? Answer - In 1905 Stone's company invented the straw-making machine. How do plastic disposable straws hurt our planet? Answer - Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws a day which results in more a landfill mass of more than 360,000 school buses full of straws every year. How do these hurt wildlife? Answer - Plastic straws are not recyclable and end up in the stomachs of penguins, necks of birds etc. What is a safe straw? Answer - Use a paper straw which breaks down in the environment or use reusable and/ or disposable straws made from bamboo. here is an example:… What is a pipette tube? Answer - A container used by scientists to move liquid which works in the same process as a drinking straw. Experiment: Make a paper straw. Materials: Paper, scissors, and tape. Process: Cut the paper to 2 inches by 5 inches. Hold the paper at one end and roll diagonally creating a rolled up cylinder. Then tape the sides securely shut. Experiment: How does a straw work? Materials: Paper straw Glass of water Empty glass Process: Put the straw into the glass of water. Suck some water up the straw. Then quickly remove the straw from your mouth and place you finger over the straw. Take the straw out of the glass keeping your finger over the one end of the straw. Place the straw in the empty glass and remove your finger. Result: When you remove your finger over the second glass, the water flows out of the straw into the glass. Why? The Science Behind the Experiment - Most people think when using a straw they are pulling liquid up by sucking. That's not what is really happening. In truth, when you are sucking on the straw you are removing some air inside the straw. This makes the internal air pressure of the straw lower than the external air pressure. The greater air pressure outside the straw forces the water in the glass up the straw and into your mouth. Experiment #3 - Make a straw atomizer. Materials: Straw Scissors Glass of water Process: Starting 1/3rd from the end of the straw, make a horizontal slit. Bend the straw at the slit and place the short end of the straw into the glass of water making sure to keep a quarter of the slit portion above the water line. Blow hard through the long section of the straw. Result: Water enters the straw from the glass and spraying out from the slit portion of the straw. This is how the bulb on a perfume bottle uses air to spray the perfume. Science Behind the Experiment: Blowing into the long end of the straw creates a stream of air flowing over the top of the short section of the straw. This action reduces pressure at that point of the straw. The normal air under the straw forces the water up into the straw and the blowing action of your breath forces the water out as drops. For more ideas check out my new website!!! And join Science for Seniors Facebook page!!

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