Basic Science: Understanding Experiments

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Overview

Get to grips with science, by carrying out fun experiments at home

On this practical course you will start thinking like a scientist, by carrying out experiments at home.

You will extract the DNA from fruit, observe osmosis in action, see how different liquids behave when frozen, and bake a potato to destruction.

As you carry out these experiments, you will develop scientific skills including observation, record-keeping, data analysis and experiment control.

The course was produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education. You may also enjoy Basic Science: Understanding Numbers.

This course is intended for anyone with an interest in making scientific observations through experimentation, and does not require any previous experience of studying the subject.

The experiments do involve both hot and cold temperatures so younger learners may need supervision. As per FutureLearn’s terms and conditions - if you are under 13, you must ask an adult to create an account using their own name and communicate in discussions on your behalf.

All of the experiments can be carried out with items you would find in a typical kitchen, but before you start, you should probably make sure you have the following:

Shopping list

  • a cucumber
  • a kiwi
  • methylated spirits (or a bottle of vodka!)
  • olive oil
  • a potato
  • salt
  • sugar
  • washing-up liquid
  • yeast
  • distilled water

Equipment list

  • cling film
  • oven gloves
  • a freezer
  • an ice cube tray
  • kitchen scales
  • a marker pen
  • a microwave or oven
  • a paper clip
  • a printer
  • a ruler
  • a vegetable peeler
  • drinking glasses
  • knife