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Compact Science is an engaging new YouTube series from WNED PBS and the Buffalo Museum of Science that explores the wonders of science right in our own backyard. Host Sarajane Gomlak Green investigates the geology of Niagara Falls, discovers the chemistry at work in sponge candy, learns how density plays a key role in lake-effect snow, and more. 

If you’re curious about the world around you, there’s a lot to explore and Compact Science will be your guide.

Compact Science | Promo

 New Video Episodes  

Every Other Tuesday

 March 30 - May 25

Explore the wonders of science in this new digital series that uncovers the mysteries of science with engaging, fun demonstrations and explanations.

 FIND US ON 

 
Sarajane making sponge candy
Sarajane investigates sponge candy chemistry

Geared towards children (grade K-6), their families, and anyone with a curiosity of the world around them, Compact Science episodes frame a scientific concept with a signature regional connection that celebrates the science and history of the Western New York and Southern Ontario region. Journey to Niagara Falls to explore geology, discover the chemistry at work in sponge candy, learn how density is the key to lake-effect snow, investigate the role of friction through the sport of curling, and more.  

Each episode concludes with a Compact Science Viewer Challenge, an experiment aligned with National Science Education Standards, that can be performed at home or in a classroom. Instructions will be available right here on our website. We invite you to share your videos and photos of your results and we'll add them to the website.

Sponge Candy Chemistry | Watch

Sponge candy, a delicate, yet crunchy toffee confection covered in chocolate, is perhaps the sweetest way to explore chemistry.

Sponge Candy Chemistry 

Viewer Challenge

Are you curious about chemical reactions?  Check out our Compact Science Viewer Challenge for the Sponge Candy Chemistry episode.

Sponge Candy Chemistry | Chemistry 

Topic: Sponge Candy, Chemistry of Baking Soda

 

Viewer Challenge/At-Home Version:Fizzy Fun!

 

Materials

  • Balloon
  • Funnel
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Empty plastic bottle (1L to 2L)

 

Directions

  1. Use the funnel to pour the baking soda into an empty balloon. Rinse and dry the funnel.
  2. Use the funnel to pour vinegar into the bottle
  3. Stretch of the mouth of the balloon around the bottle top
  4. Lift the balloon and gently shake the baking soda into the bottle.
  5. Watch what happens!

 

How does it work?

Instead of adding heat to change the baking soda, we added another chemical! When you combine the baking soda with the vinegar, an acid-base chemical reaction takes place, creating carbon dioxide gas! This carbon dioxide is what made the balloon inflate, and it’s what makes forms the bubbles in sponge candy. 

 

New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards

The content in these videos and accompanying activities touch upon various concepts from the New York State Science Learning Standards - Grades 3-5 and Middle School (Grades 6-8).

 

Grade 5

  • Structure and Properties of Matter

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

  • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • Chemical Reactions

 

materials for experiment
kids try the Fizzy Fun! Viewer Challenge

The Fury of the Falls | Watch

Niagara Falls is one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the world and it also happens to be in our backyard.  In this episode we explore the power of water and its erosive power that shaped this geological wonder.

Fury of the Falls

Viewer Challenge

Are you curious about erosion?  Check out our Compact Science Viewer Challenge for the Fury of the Falls episode.

The Fury of the Falls  | Geology  

Topic: Water & Erosion, the Formation of Niagara Falls

 

Viewer Challenge/At-Home Version:  Candy Erosion

Use water in different ways to see how fast your candy disappears.

 

Materials

  • Two pieces of [fun sized] candy, can be hard candy, chewy candy, or chocolate
  • Two see-through jars with lids
  • Water
  • Clock

 

Directions

  1. Fill each jar half full of water so that candy will be completely submerged
  2. Put one candy in each jar, close the lids tightly, and label jars A and B
  3. Let jar A stand, untouched for the duration of the experiment
  4. Shake jar B for 20 seconds once every hour
  5. What do you notice about the candies in the water after 1 day? 2 days? 3 days?  And what does that tell us about the force of water?

 

How does it work?

Water can erode on its own through the process of dissolution, like in jar A. With added force, or shaking, like in jar B, we can speed up the rate of erosion. This is one of the reasons why areas that have fast water movement, like Niagara Falls, experience a faster rate of erosion than other places where water is standing still, like in a pond.

 

New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards

The content in these videos and accompanying activities touch upon various concepts from the New York State Science Learning Standards - Grades 3-5 and Middle School (Grades 6-8).

 

Grade 4

  • Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

Grade 5

  • Earth’s Systems

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

  • History of Earth
  • Earth's System
Candy Erosion Challenge
Compact Science Viewer Challenge

Compact Science is funded by The Joy Family Foundation.