Friday, February 6, 2009

Mummified hot dog

From Exploratopia  
This experiment takes 17 days to complete.  If presenting, you may want to have one hot dog completely mummified, one that has only been prepping for 1 week to observe the process and one that is "fresh" if you can use that word to describe a hot dog. ;)

What you Need:
*A plastic container that's several inches longer, wider, and deeper than your hot dog
*A very large box (or two smaller boxes) of baking soda (sodium bircarbonate)*A small scale, like a postage scale (optional)
*An ordinary hot dog (could be beef, turkey, vegetarian- doesn't really matter because you're not going to eat it)
*Paper and pencil
*A ruler
*A piece of string at least 3 inches long

What you do:
1.  The ancient Egyptians mummified very important people-royalty like King Tut.  Out of respect to your very important hot dog, we have named him King Oscar.
2.  Fill the plastic container about two inches deep with baking soda.
3.  If you have a scale, weigh King Oscar now.  Record his weight.
4.  Use your ruler to measure how long King Oscar is now.
5.  Use your piece of string to measure the distance around King Oscar's middle.  This is his circumference.
6.  Make notes on what King Oscar looks like now so you can compare that with what he will look like later.
7.  Place King Oscar on top of the baking soda in the container and cover him with more baking soda.  Make sure the baking soda is a couple of inches thick on the top and sides of dear departed king Oscar.
8.  Place King Oscar in a special place (not back in the refrigerator).  Leave him there for a week.
9.  A week later, remove King Oscar from the baking soda.  does he look different?  what does he smell like?  how long is he now?  What is his circumference?  Write down your observations.
10.  If you have a scale, weigh him again.  Did he lose or gain weight?
11.  Throw away the old baking soda and surround King Oscar with fresh, new baking soda and put him back in his special place for ten more days.
12.  Ten days later, take King Oscar out of the baking soda again.  what's he like now?  he's been transformed into a stiff, leathery mummy!  Now he will last a very long time.  (Egyptian mummies are thousands of years old!)  Put King Oscar in a place of honor.

What's going on?
The dramatic changes seen in King Oscar are direct results of dehydration, which means that water is removed from something.  If you'd left Kin Oscar out in the open without baking soda, he would get moldy and smelly.  food that's not refrigerated goes bad because bacteria and mold need water--and you've used baking soda to take the water out of King Oscar.  Not water... no rot!  King Oscar is preserved for posterity.  That means for future generations, infinity and beyond.)  One fine day, some future archeologist will dig up your mummified hot dog... or maybe not! 

1 comment:

Karen said...

Completely awesome...we'll be welcoming King Oscar II to our home any day now! Very cool blog...and nice to "meet" you!