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No-lab hands-on science.

Check out these two classic hands-on experiments after you've read "Animal Action Stars!" (p. 10) and "Gone With the Wind" (p. 15). They're fun, easy, and foolproof!


In "Animal Action Stars!" you learned how oxygen helps your cells turn glucose into energy. And more air in your lungs translates into more oxygen for muscle power. How much air can your lungs hold? Do this experiment to find out.


empty 1-gallon milk container with lid * large, deep pan * 1 meter of rubber tubing * 1 large measuring cup * crayon * metric ruler * marker * lab partner


1. Fill the pan with 5 cm (2 in.) of water.

2. Pour 250 ml of water into the milk container. Mark the water line--write 250 ml. Add another 250 ml, then mark the new water line as 500 ml. Continue to add water this way until the container is full. Cap the bottle.

3. Turn the container upside down and place it in the pan with the opening completely underwater.

4. Carefully remove the lid. Slide about 10 cm (4 in.) of the tubing into the container's opening.

5. Hold your nose and exhale normally into tube. Mark the water level with a crayon. The displaced volume is the tidal volume, or amount of air in a normal breath. To find your vital capacity, or maximum amount of air you can force in or out, take a deep breath and exhale deeply into the tube. Mark it.


Repeat experiment with a lab partner. Are your results different? Why?


Does exercise alter lung capacity?


Tornadoes are dangerous. If you're not a meteorologist trained to observe them from a safe distance, here's how you can study one up close.


two 1-liter clear plastic soda bottles * water * food coloring * electrical tape


1. Peel the labels off the bottles. Remove the lids.

2. Pour water into one bottle until it's about three-fourths full. Add a few drops of food coloring.

3. Hold the empty bottle upside down over the water-filled bottle. Tape the mouths of the bottles together tightly with a long strip of electrical tape.

4. Turn the joined bottles upside down So that the water-filled bottle is on top, and quickly swirl the bottles for about 5 seconds. Place the bottles on a table, with the empty bottle on the bottom. As the water drains into the lower bottle, your liquid "tornado" should form on top.


What forces make a tornado form? How can you change the size, shape, or duration of the tornado you made?


Research how many tornadoes have occurred in the U.S. since 1990. Create a line graph that shows the number of tornadoes each year from 1990 to 2000.
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Publication:Science World
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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