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Last updated:

May 19, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


This practical, hands-on course aims to help you start thinking like a scientist by carrying out experiments at home and making scientific observations.

You will carry out simple experiments to extract the DNA from fruit or vegetables, observe osmosis in action and bake a potato to destruction! You’ll also investigate how different liquids behave when frozen and how much water an everyday food item contains.

As you carry out these experiments you will develop important science-based skills including observation, record-keeping, data analysis and how to control an experiment. After examining your results, you will share them with other learners and discuss your findings.


This free 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. To create an OpenLearn account, you must be aged 13 years or over. Adults may want to use their own OpenLearn account to supervise younger learners on the course, and assist with the experiments.

All of the experiments can be carried out with items you would find in a typical kitchen, but the Introduction to Week 1 provides a full equipment list.

This OpenLearn science course is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Start thinking in a rigorous and scientific way
  • Recognise the influence of experimental design and variables
  • Consider how the world around you works.

Course Curriculum

    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • Keeping a study journal 00:15:00
    • Introducing the experiment 00:15:00
    • Drawing graphs 00:30:00
    • Experiment 1: Potato experiment 00:15:00
    • What’s in your graph? 00:20:00
    • Why does it matter? 00:15:00
    • Experiment 2: Cucumbers and osmosis 00:25:00
    • Sharing your results 00:15:00
    • Osmosis explained 00:15:00
    • Why does it matter? 00:20:00
    • Week 1 summary 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Experiment 3: Ice tray experiment 00:20:00
    • The experiment 00:20:00
    • Discussing your results 00:10:00
    • Ice tray experiment explained 00:20:00
    • What if ice was denser than water? 00:10:00
    • Week 2 summary 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Experiment 4: Yeast experiment 00:15:00
    • The experiment 00:10:00
    • What were your results? 00:10:00
    • Yeast experiment explained 00:15:00
    • Altering variables 00:15:00
    • Yeast – who needs it? 00:20:00
    • Week 3 summary 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Experiment 5: Kiwi experiment 00:20:00
    • The experiment 00:20:00
    • What were your results? 00:15:00
    • Why does it matter? 00:20:00
    • The beginning of your scientific career 00:15:00

About the instructor

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