BioluminescenceMaterials: Cypridina (a tiny sea crustacean), black film canisters, water
Crush or crumble the Cypridina. In a darkened room, take a pinch of the Cypridina and place into a film canister. Next add about a teaspoon of water to the canister. Gently swirl the mixture and observe. You could also try this experiment with water at different temperatures and observe the effect of temperature.
The bioluminescent reaction involves the oxidative decarboxylation of luciferin. Cypridina produces enough light that during World War II the Japanese used it to read maps.
Unfortunately you usually cannot purchase Cypridina locally, but must order it.
Tree Slice ObservationObtain an actual slice of a tree trunk (firewood makes a good source) and make a diagram of the tree rings. Using the tree trunk slice measure the thickness of each growth ring. Once you have measured the thickness of each ring, make a graph of the growth of the tree on a yearly basis. Measure the average radius thickness of the tree slice and using the number of rings, calculate the average growth rate of the tree.
You could also do the same experiment using a tree borer. Care needs to be taken while using the borer. You could contact your local forestry service for more information on use, safety, and possibly borrowing tree borers.
Return to the Learning Science With Science Fiction Main Page
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.