2. Sweet Physical Science
In this activity outlined by Bill Nye, students will discover that despite atoms and molecules combining to make something, they can appear to be nothing. Using a cup of hot tap water filled to a nearly overflowing bulge at the top, a teaspoon, and some powdered sugar, students will engage in one of the simplest, yet most incredible, STEM activities for afterschool programs. Students should fill the cup with water and slowly add a teaspoon of powdered sugar without allowing the spoon to touch the liquid. Repeat a few times and students will notice that the water will not overflow. After dissolving, the sugar molecules occupy the empty spaces between those in the water.
Depending on the grade levels of students, this activity can kick start discussions about solutions and mixtures, chemical and physical changes, atoms and molecules, the preservation of matter, surface tension, and more.