Tag Archives: kitchen oceanography: food related

Vacuum pumps

What else did you think we tested them on?

Before using my parents’ vacuum pumps (“vacuum” being used in a loose sense of the word…) on water in this post, we obviously had to make sure they worked. And can you guess how you best test that?

Really. What else did you think we tested them on?

Happy Easter!

Tasting sea water reloaded

Doing the “tasting sea water” activity again with a different group of students.

A very good introduction to the concept of salinity is the “tasting sea water” activity. Last time I ran that activity, students were very quick to correctly connect the samples with the correct sampling locations without much discussion going on. This time round, though, there was a lot of discussion. Students quickly sorted samples in order of increasing salinity, but there was no agreement to be found on whether the Baltic or the Arctic should be fresher. Since I only pointed to a location and didn’t specify the depth at which the sample had been taken, some students argued that the Arctic was very fresh at the very top, whereas the Baltic was brackish. Others said that the Baltic was a lot fresher than any oceanic location.


Students tasting four different samples of “sea water” with salinities corresponding to Arctic sea ice, the Baltic sea, the open ocean and the Mediterranean. Samples have to be associated with locations on a map.

In another group, there was a big discussion going on about how in marginal seas, evaporation or precipitation can dominate.

It is always great to see how much you can discuss and learn from an activity as simple as this one!

More on density

Extremely simple experiment to illustrate the effect of density differences.

At room temperature, will coke cans float or sink in freshwater? And how about coke light?


Soft drinks in cans. Who knew you could do science with them?

Btw, this experiment is only easy if you are in a country where you can get the right soda brand both in normal and in light version in cans. Thanks to Anna’s friends for importing them for me! As we found out – Red Bull does not work.