If you are looking for a really cool science experiment that will wow kids, you’ve got to try this homemade thermometer. With just a couple simple materials you can make your very own, working homemade thermometer experiment. This diy thermometer is fun to learn about weather, tempearture, and so much more with preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th graders, and up!
You can make a quick and easy homemade thermometer that will tell the temperature of it’s surroundings! This homemade thermometer science project works because the liquid will expand when warmed and contract when cooled. Once you have your temperature markings you will be able to see the rise and fall of temperature using this weather experiment. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschooler – you will love making a homemade thermometer with your preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students. Get ready to WOW your kids with this easy science experiment!
homemade thermometer experiment
All you need to try this fun weather activity for kids, teaching them how a thermometerworks, are a few simple materials:
- empty glass botte (like from starbucks frapaccino)
- rubbing alcohol
- food coloring
- clear straw
- modeling clay or playdough
- instant read thermometer
Start by adding water to a clean, empty, glass bottle. You want the conatiner to be about ¼ full of plain water.
Cool Science Project
Then, add an equal amount of rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, so that the bottle is half full.
homemade thermometer project
Add a few drops of food coloring. It doesn’t have to be red, it can be any color you like. But since a thermometer is typically red, we went with that for kids to more easily make the connection of what we were making.
homemade thermometer science project
Put your clear straw into the bottle, and holding it so that it does not touch the bottom but is suspended slightly in the liquid, wrap the playdough or modeling clay around the top of the bottle and the straw. This will hold the straw in place and prevent it from falling farther into the bottle.
making a homemade thermometer
Now take your instant read thermometer and note the temperature. Make a mark on your jar with your marker noting the temperatur end height of the liquid in the straw.
Move your homemade thermometer bottle to different locations where the temperature is likely to be different. We took our DIY thermometer outside and got a much higher reading. Again, use your digital thermometer to note the actual tempearture and make markings on the bottle.
Notice how the liquid either rises or sinks down in the straw. In warmer temperatures, the liquid will rise. In cooler temperatures, it will sink.
Easy Science Activity for kids
Try placing the bottle in direct sunlight, on a porch outside on a warm day, or in the refrigerator to see the liquid in the straw rise and fall with the temperature variation.
Homemade thermometer explanation
The liquid in the bottle expands when it is warmed, and contracts when it cools. There is only so much space at the bottom of the bottle, so when the liquid gets warmer, it rises in the bottle and is forced up into the straw. When the liquid is in a cooler environment again, it will begin to contract, moving down the straw. While this experiment won’t give you an exact temperature, only a real thermometer can do that, it will allow you to generally see which environments are warmer or cooler than others. And the more you lable the bottle, the more you can depend on the readings to tell what the weather is really like!
Learn how to make an EASY, working homemade thermometer. This fun science experiment teaches about weather and more with kids!
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