Revisit: Sweden

It hasn’t been too long since we learned about Sweden but there was one science experiment we never got to do so this week of revisiting was a great opportunity to learn about Anders Celsius.

Anders Celsius (1701-1744) was a Swedish astronomer who amongst many things developed a temperature scale very close to todays Celsius scale. So, 1948 the centigrade scale was renamed after Celsius to honor his contributions to science.

To take things one step further, Martin and I made our own thermometer.

Thermometer Science Experiment

You will need…

  • Modeling Clay or Play-Doh
  • Red food coloring (optional)
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clear straw (not textured like ours…)
  • Small clear bottle with a narrow neck (again not textured, you need smooth sides)

Note: the textured bottle and straw held onto the liquid after the temperature changed and made it hard to read.


Into your bottle, pour equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and water to fill the bottle 1/4 of the way- for us it was about 1/4 cup of each. Next add some red dye to mimic the red mercury of glass thermometers.

Next place a straw into the jar and secure it in place with clay or play-doh, make sure that the straw does not touch the bottom of the jar.

Now it is time to measure some temperatures! In a large microwave safe bowl heat some water for 5 minutes on high to reach boiling. Carefully remove it and carefully place your thermometer into the water. Hypothesize with your little scientist about what will happen in the hot water and watch the reaction.

Next take a bowl of ice water and place the thermomether in the cold water. Again hypothesize and watch the results.

We them combined the two waters and tested it again.

You can take it outside and measure the temperature out there, you can mark the bottle to better compare different temperatures. We even used a candy thermometer to test if our thermometer was correct in how the red moved up or down.

For more Swedish fun check out our meatball dinner, delicious cardamom cinnamon buns called kanelbuller and one of my favorites recycled planters 🙂

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