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How was everyones summer? Sorry we haven’t kept in touch, we promise to do try and do better. Enjoy your winter.

Assistance in Beer Design

With beer brewing software you no longer need lessons on brewing as the software helps you design your beer. The software will therefore show you the various varieties of grains, hops and yeasts that will be necessary to make the beer you need.

If you have a specific beer style in mind, brewing software will advice you on the ingredients to use to make sure that the color and taste of your final product matches with the style chosen.

The number of people carrying out home brewing has been growing consistently in recent times and this proves very useful for those new to brewing. Some of the people participating in online forums are experienced brewers who are happy to share their knowledge with new comers. Some brewing software come with countless recipes which are available as downloads. Software therefore plays a great part in helping upstarts acquire the knowledge they need to become expert brewers.

Newbie brewers might have a hard time deciding what the cost of a particular batch of home-made beer is. Software offers the needed help by not only selecting for you the ingredients you’ll need for a particular recipe but also giving you a shopping list complete with the prices of all the ingredients you’ll use.

How Brewing Software Takes the Guesswork Out Of Home Beer Brewing

For anyone who desires to brew beer at home, the internet is a very useful resource and could turn the amateur brewer into an expert in very little time. The secrets of brewing which in the past were only possessed by a select group of brewers are now readily available online.

For starters, there are plenty of forums that a person could join to learn almost all there is to learn about brewing. Secondly, there’s plenty of brewing software that cost very little but which provide guidance on the precise steps you need to take to make great beer consistently. By using brewing software, your end product will use the correct ingredients and also in the correct quantity every time you brew.

A beer’s taste is to a very big extent influenced by the equipment you use. Brewing software available in the market gives you advice on how to select brewing equipment, how to set it up and how to make calculations when mixing ingredients. This then ensures that you’ll never get the process wrong and that you’ll continue to have consistent results.

Home Brewed Beer

So you just mastered your very own Home Brewed beer. Of course you wouldn’t let it go sitting on the fridge for too long. Now it’s time to impress your friends with your very own beer during Cookout Sessions. We all know that a freezing cold beer and a sizzling grilled dish is a perfect match in heaven. But it doesn’t mean that you can just pair any beer with any grilled dish that you want. As a rule of thumb, the more intense the flavor of the dish is, the more it should match with the weight, depth and flavor of the beer. Let’s go down to the specifics.
Here are the best grilled meats that complements a light beer.
Barbecues go perfectly well with light beers that are often characterized by its color, its low alcohol content and little bitterness. Light beers doesn’t sidetrack nor overpower the savory flavor of the barbecue. When you’re planning to grill some light and juicy chicken, you may also pair it with light beer with a fruity or spicy twist such as a farmhouse ale. The classic American Hamburger which is a lovely masterpiece that’s bursting with many flavors are further magnified with light and versatile lager. Hotdogs, which make regular appearances during backyard barbecue sessions are best paired with pale lagers especially when they are piled up high with onions, peppers, mustard and chili. Lean grilled steaks work better with less aggressive beers like a light roasted brown ale that does a great job in boosting a flavor, and yet it’s not that hard on your face. Lastly, the slightly charred Vegetable Kebabs makes a perfect combination with slightly sweet and light body malt beers.
Foods that go well with Malty or Dark Beers
The juicy and spicy taste of Sausages typically blend well with malty beers and golden ales. Similarly, the Beef rib’s sweet and spicy flavor also compliments malty beers. Beers that have higher alcohol content such as an India Pale Ale can stand up greatly to the slow cooked and spicy flavor of Beef Briskets. However, just be wary that IPAs (Indian Pale Ale) cannot outstand a heavily spiced meat. Grilled steaks that are simply served with salt and pepper will be highlighted more with a malty brown beer as it accentuates its sweet and delicate flavors. On the other hand, Sirloins that are served with rich, cream sauce are best paired with dark beers because it helps in neutralizing the creaminess of the sauce.

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How To Make Biodiesel -Introduction

How to Make Pop Bottle BiodieselBiodiesel is generally made using chemicals to alter an organic oil by using a catalyst and an alcohol (most people use ethanol ormethanol). Ethanol is less dangerous although methanol is not as expensive. For the catalyst, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide can be used, although sodium hydroxide is often cheaper. The process of converting oil to biodiesel is called Transesterification. The chemical reaction that occurs during this process “cracks” the oil into Esters and Glycerol. As the process occurs the glycerine gravitates to the bottom of the container leaving alkyl esters, the glycerol is then drained off and the remaining top liquid is biodiesel. The biodiesel is often then washed to remove any remaining impurities and can then used to fuel an unmodified diesel engine.

It is worth noting that pure biodiesel can dissolve natural rubber hoses and seals. Most new diesel engines have synthetic hoses and seals, but older engines may need to fitted with new hoses and seals. Diesel injector pumps don’t generally have rubber parts indirect contact with the fuel, so it is usually easy to replace hoses and seals without any major hassles. If a diluted fuel mixture of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel (called “B20”) is used it should have no effect on the older natural rubber hoses.

It is often recommended to make biodiesel from fresh oil to gain an understanding and appreciation of the processes before moving onto making bigger batches from waste oils. Biodiesel typically takes a couple of days to a week from start to finish to making a batch. Most people making biodiesel make anywhere between 20 to 100 gallons at a time in a batch process.
Here’s a breakdown of typical timing intervals from start to finish:

  • START
  • Collect Oil – 1-2 hours
  • Filter Oil – 1-2 hours (depends on amount of oil)
  • Titration Of Oil – 10-15 minutes
  • Transferring Oil To Processor – 10-20 minutes
  • Heating Oil – 1-4 hours (depends on amount of oil, voltage & wattage of element)
  • Making Methoxide – 5-20 minutes (depends on amount of methanol and catalyst used)
  • Mixing Methoxide Into Oil – 20-30 minutes
  • Mixing Oil & Methoxide – 2-3 hours
  • Settling Oil – 8-10 hours (usually overnight)
  • Draining Glycerine – 5-10 minutes

How to Make Pop Bottle BiodieselBio diesel can be made in anything from a small 2 litre drink bottle to an elaborate processor complete with separate tanks for processing,washing, methoxide mixing, settling, and filtering. Obtaining equipment is relatively easy. Complete processing equipment can be custom made using plans off of the web or by buying pre-made kits ready to assemble. Most people get started by making small batches with minimal equipment and then gradually move up to making large batches using large processors built specifically for making biodiesel.

Many home brewers either buy a variety of pre made processors designed for processing biodiesel or custom make their own processors either from kits or from plans on the web. Professionally built processors can cost as little as $500 to several thousands of dollars.Kits can be purchased for making your own from several online retailers for as little as $200 on up to elaborate systems complete with methanol recovery condensers.

Instructions on How to Make Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle BiodieselThis idea needs to be said again… Start with the process, not with the processor. The processor like the 250 litre (66 gallons) home made unit on the left comes later. Start with fresh unused oil, not with waste vegetable oil (WVO) that also comes later. Understand the process, start by making a small, 1-litre test batch of bio diesel using fresh new oil.You can use a spare blender, or, better, make a simple Test-batchmini-processor. Keep going, step by step. Study everything you can. One of the best resources on the Web for detailed instructions (it is free) is a site called Journey to Forever.

Definitive Guide- The Encylopedia of Making Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle BiodieselThe Encylopedia of Making Biodiesel is without doubt the best book on the market (and we have looked at plenty) on how tomake biodiesel. David and Tram are the Managing Directors of International Biofuel Solutions, and David is a lecturer at technical universities in both Vietnam and Thailand. Over 200 pages of step-by-step instructions with dozens of illustrations, drawings and photographs to assist you. Whether you are just starting out or a bio diesel pro, this book is really a must!

Some links to detailed methods when thinking about how to make biodiesel.

Introduction: Make Your Own Biodiesel!

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

This video shows how easy it is using items available at nearly any supermarket, and details some facts about biodiesel fuel you may not have known!

PREPARE THE METHANOL/LYE MIXTURE IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA (preferably outside)! FOLLOW ALL PRECAUTIONS LISTED ON THE HEET/ LYE CONTAINERS!

Ingredients: 1 cup (250 ml) Heet brand Fuel Line Additive (Methanol), 1/2 Tsp (4 grams) Lye drain cleaner, 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable oil, protective eyewear, rubber gloves, dry glass jar with airtight lid, Dry 2 litre pop bottle, funnel.

Step 1: Mix the methanol and lye in the glass bottle. Swirl and/or stir/shake until all lye is dissolved.

Step 2: Heat Veggie oil to approximately 60 C or 140 F.

Step 3: Use funnel to add oil to 2 litre pop bottle. Add Methanol/lye (methoxide) mixture with funnel. Cap the bottle and shake vigorously for 20-40 seconds.

Step 4: Watch over the next 20 mins as Glycerin layer forms at bottom of pop bottle. The upper layer (lighter colored) will be cloudy. Over the next 1-2 days, the upper layer will become crystal clear. Congrats! You’ve just made Bio-Diesel!

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Did you make this project? Share it with us!

Med hjälp av tratten, häll metanol i plastbehållaren. Använda den andra tratten, tillsätt lut.
2

Skruva på locket och skaka sedan vätskan i en cirkelrörelse tills lut är helt upplöst.
3

Med en spis eller värmeplatta, värm oljan till 130 grader Fahrenheit.
4

Kombinera oljan och metanol blandningen i en mixer som inte kommer att användas igen för livsmedel. Mixa i 30 minuter.
5

Häll blandningen i en av pop flaskor. Placera locket på flaskan och låt lösningen sedimentera under 24 timmar.
6

Medan lösningen är lösa, förbereda två tvätta flaskor genom att punktera ett 2mm hål i det nedre hörnet av två av pop flaskor. Täck hålen säkert silvertejp.
7

Efter sedimentering, långsamt hälla upp glycerin i den slutliga pop flaskan. Var noga med att inte göra det för snabbt eller glycerin och bränslet blir blandat igen. Om detta inträffar, låt blandningen vila igen. Kassera glycerin.
8

Blanda den råa biodiesel och 150 ml av vatten i en av tvätt flaskor. Efter tak det ordentligt, lägg flaskan på sin sida och rulla den tills vattnet och bränslet är jämnt blandat.
9

Placera flaskan upprätt och låt det sitta i tre timmar. Vattnet och biodiesel kommer att separera i två skikt med biodiesel på toppen.
10

Avlägsna tejp och dränera vattnet. Byt silvertejp innan biodiesel kan lämna flaskan.
11

Upprepa steg 8,9 och 10 tills du har tvättat den biodiesel fyra gånger. Alternativa flaskor varje gång och tvätta flaskan inte används före återanvändning.
12

Efter den sista tvättningen, låta biodiesel torka i en upprätt, öppen läsk flaska tills den är genomskinlig. Detta kan ta upp till fem dagar.

Before we go into the details of producing small amounts of Biodiesel at home we must first stress the importance of safety. The chemicals used in the process of making Biodiesel are dangerous and if used without taking the correct measures to protect yourself can cause serious injury or even death. Please, please be careful and make sure you are in a well ventilated area with access to running clean water.

MATERIALS REQUIRED

  • 1 litre of Vegetable Oil- new (SVO) or used (WVO)
  • NaOH (lye / caustic soda), at least 6g. This is often used as a drain cleaner and can often be found in your local supermarket.
  • Methanol (at least 250ml).Used as an Antifreeze, can often we found in Motor supply shops

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED

  • 1 to 2 litre Plastic Bottle – I often use an empty Vegetable oil container
  • A measuring cup
  • A scale
  • A teaspoon
  • A container to mix the methanol and NaOH (methoxide) Not plastic. Heavy duty glass is recommended
  • A Funnel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Heating you VWO

If you are using waste oil (WVO), take one litre and heat to at least 120 deg c to remove all water. If water is present the oil will spit and pop, when the water is removed this will stop. Be careful – this can be quite a violent process. Then Allow to cool

If you are using new vegetable oil it should not contain any water so just heat to 55deg c when you are ready.

MAKING THE METHOXIDE

WARNING Making Methoxide is dangerous. Methoxide is highly toxic. For this reason, the safety of the design of equipment and workspace should be carefully considered before use, and protective clothing and a respirator should be worn during handling. Only as much as is intended to be used immediately should be created. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Take 250ml of Methanol and add 4g (about half a Teaspoon) NaOH.

If you are using Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) just use 6g- 7g NaOH (about 1 level teaspoon)

Methanol and NaOH do not easily mix. Start with the methanol at body temp (not warm). NOTE that as you mix the two chemicals the temperature will increase. Do not panic… is normal. You will need to ensure all the NaOH is disolved in the Methanol, this could take over ten minutes.

After **ALL** the NaOH has disolved you may need to top up with fresh methanol as the process may cause some evaporation

MAKING THE BIODIESEL…

When the Oil’s temperature has dropped to 60 deg c or less, using your funnel, pour the litre of oil into you dry plastic container. Take your methanol/NaOH (Methoxide) and add to the oil. Ensure the container is sealed securely then shake vigerously for about 15 seconds.

Leave your Biodiesel to “set”. You will notice that after about 10 minutes the glycerine or “soap” will settle from your mixture. It will take a day or two for the Biodiesel to completely separate. You will see two defined layers – the Biodiesel and the glycerine.Typically the glycerine layer is about the same or a bit more than the amount of methanol used.

Now remove the Biodiesel from the container leaving the glycerine and you are ready for the washing…

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Dirty Vs Washed Biodiesel

WASHING YOUR BIODIESEL

Although the glycerine or “soap” and water has separated from your Biodiesel – it will still need washing. Please do not violently shake your unwashed Biodiesel as it will form an emulsion that may take days or evn weeks to fully seperate. The gentle approach is whats needed.

Wash One:

Pour 1 litre biodiesel into a a clean and dry plaric bottle.
Gently pour in 500ml water (body temp).
Replace bottle top.
Now GENTLY rotate the bottle end for end for about 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds place bottle upright.
Only If you have been GENTLE the water and Biodiesel will seperate immediatly.
You will notice the water is not clear.
Remove top and using your thumb as a stopper, turn bottle upsidedown and drain the water using your thumb as a valve.
You have finished wash one.

Wash Two:

Pour in another 500ml water and repeat wash one, except rotate GENTLY for about 1 minute.
Drain as in wash one.
You have finished wash 2.

Wash Three:

Again pour in another 500ml water and GENTLY GENTLY GENTLY shake bottle for a minute or so.
When water and biodiesel seperate discard water in same fashion as before.

Wash Four:

Another 500ml water and a bit more aggitation for about 1 min.
After seperation of water and biodiesel Drain as above.

Wash Five:

You should now be able shake fairly vigerously.

If the washing has been completed sucessfully the water should be almost clear. Be aware that in your later washes you should be able to shake mre violently although it will take considerably longer to seperate because the water forms tiny bubles in the biodiesel that take time to settle out.

Your washed biodiesel will be VERY CLOUDY and much lighter in colour than the unwashed biodiesel a. After a day or 2 settling and drying it will clear

Drying your Biodiesel

You must remove all that water from your biodiesel before using it in a diesel engine or risk damaging the engine. The oldest method of drying is settling.

In this method the water settles to the bottom of the tank or container over time and can be sucked out using a small pump or syphon. For small batches it can take up to a day for the water and biodiesel to completely separate.

Over time the water will evaporate out of the biodiesel however if let in a muggy or wet environment this may not be suitable.

Once the water has all be removed you Biodiesel is now ready for use! Enjoy!

Please feel free to refer back to the process chart below.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

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Industrial designer Mark Sanders shows us his new improved design.

Earlier in the coronavirus crisis, we showed a design for a face mask and shield you could make out of a soda bottle. Now the industrial designer, Mark Sanders, tells TreeHugger that the design has evolved:

Now mask use guidance is much clearer – they DO have real benefits in preventing spread, mainly from asymptomatic carriers. So just like used for years in the Far East, the West is now accepting masks: ‘to protect you from me’. I hate waste and especially plastic waste, and yet still love Ginger Beer so I’ve done a new *clear* mask – “See Me, Protect You” to “share emotions and expressions but not C-19.”

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

© Mark Sanders/ Mas-design

This design doesn’t cover the eyes and doesn’t have a hose; it is not an attempt at making a fully sealed respirator mask, but instead is designed to prevent most droplets from passing freely between people. There is really not much to it, and it looks a lot more comfortable that the previous model. In lieu of covering the eyes, Mark recommends glasses or sunglasses for eye protection.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

What I particularly like about this mask, compared to a cloth mask, is that you can, in fact, see facial expressions, although in this photo I do think Mark gives us too much information. It’s also likely that my iPhone will actually open with face recognition– Mark says that facial unlock works with his Android phone.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

© Mark Sanders/ Mas-design

Also, Mark notes that “faces vary in size, so these instructions are for a large size and a small size (me and my wife), but please adjust sizes and folds to make comfortable.”

The first mask was very controversial; at first, we called it a respirator, which it actually is, but people confused it with a ventilator and complained that we shouldn’t be presenting this as a medical device, which we weren’t. But now the situation is much clearer; everyone is making masks, and the understanding that their purpose has changed: “Much is unknown about the spread of C-19 so this, other masks, shields, and visors cannot guarantee to stop its spread, but this aims to help reduce it.”

Thoughts about their effectiveness have changed too; six weeks ago, the advice was, “If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection.” But in places like Hong Kong or Japan, full of crowded cities with crowded subways, the virus has been controlled. According to Vox, “Not wearing masks in Hong Kong is like not wearing pants nowadays.”

On May 13, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias also pointed out that in April, researchers at the University of Hong Kong and in Europe calculated that if 80 percent of a population can be persuaded to don masks, transmission levels would be cut to one-twelfth of what you’d have in a mask-less society. However, that study has yet to be peer-reviewed.

In North America, masks were really not socially acceptable, although according to Mark Gollom of the CBC,

Societal attitudes in Canada and the U.S. toward wearing masks in public as protection against COVID-19 have undergone an “unprecedented’ shift in just a matter of months, some social psychologists say. “As somebody who studies social norms, it’s astonishing. It’s like a flip in a blink of an eye in terms of this change,” said Catherine Sanderson, a social psychology professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

© Mark Sanders/ Mas-design

The beauty of Mark Sanders’ mask is that it is totally transparent. For those concerned that it isn’t going to really stop the virus from traveling through the hole in the bottom, he’s also designed a filter you can add to it. Mark is sharing his design with anyone who wants to make their own; get your pdf of instructions here.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Cloth masks/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

I now wear a cloth mask when I go out, purchased from a neighbor who sells them on her street corner, with all proceeds going to a food bank. It’s exciting and inspiring to see how this has turned into a cottage industry, and how they have become socially acceptable so quickly.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Your kids will love to make this pop bottle craft this summer! A green pop bottle is transformed into a firefly using a glow stick. My kids just love glow sticks, and this is a fun and different way to enjoy them.

Kids love to make each lightning bug unique! Try adding crazy googly eyes, or painting the body. You can use clear bottles too but I think the green ones look more bug-like, don’t you?

Once made, they can be saved each year and then a new glow stick can be added inside.

The kids love flying these around the yard at night!

Materials Needed for Pop Bottle Craft:

  • One 20 ounce green plastic soda bottle, empty and cleaned out (label removed)
  • One glow stick
  • Three 12 inch pipe cleaners in green or black, for the legs
  • One 12 inch pipe cleaner in gold, silver, or black (for the antennae)
  • Two yellow pony beads (for the eyes)
  • Construction paper or card stock (for thorax and wings)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black paint
  • Clear tape

Pop Bottle Craft Instructions:

1. Begin this pop bottle craft by cleaning out a green 20 ounce soda bottle. Remove the label by soaking it for awhile in warm water. Wash well and allow it to dry completely.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

2. Twist three 12 inch green or black pipe cleaners around the middle of the bottle as shown. Give them a twist to secure, and then bend them to look like legs.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

3. Cut a rectangle of construction paper or card stock to wrap around the pop bottle. Don’t have it wrap completely. Cut the rectangle slightly smaller so it ends where the legs show (as shown). Glue this paper on to the body to secure.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

4. Fold another piece of construction paper or card stock in half. Cut a wing-like shape, using the fold to create mirror images of the wings. Glue these on top of the firefly’s body.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

5. Paint the bottle cap black and allow it to dry. Screw the cap on the firefly. Glue two yellow pony beads to the sides of it, to be the lightning bug’s eyes. HINT: Make sure to screw the cap on first before you glue on the eyes, otherwise they eyes may not be in the right position. Then, wrap a 12 inch gold pipe cleaner around the neck of the bottle, twist to secure, and curl the ends to be the lightning bug’s antennae.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

6. Crack to activate a glow stick and place it inside. You can let it be loose, but I used a bit of clear tape to secure the top end of the glow stick near the mouth of the bottle. If you glue the glow stick in, you won’t be able to re-use the firefly again very easily. Enjoy the pop bottle craft!

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

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How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Every little bit helps! If you are enjoying this site, would you consider making a small donation? I use the extra money to help with the cost of craft supplies! With any $5.00 donation or more, you will receive my 650 page ebook full of 178 craft tutorials from this site. Thank you for your consideration!

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In this class we will be building a mini ecosystem in a plastic bottle. Here is an excellent link to a video that covers what we will be doing and the materials we will need, so save up those plastic soda/juice bottles.

Sample introduction (in part)

Ecology is the study of the living organisms and how they relate to each other and to the non-living things in their environment. Living things, or biotic factors, in an environment include plants, animals and bacteria. Non-living things, or abiotic factors, in an environment include water, soil, sunlight and temperature. The kinds and amount of abiotic factors in a certain environment determine which biotic things can survive in the environment. For example, a tropical plant that needs lots of water will not survive in a desert that gets very little rainfall.

Biotic factors in an ecosystem have different ways that they get food and nutrients. Producers usually are plants that are able to make their own food using the energy from sunlight, which they convert into glucose through the process of photosynthesis. Consumers are other organisms, such as animals, that cannot make their own food and have to eat other living things to get food. A herbivore is a consumer that only eats plants and a carnivore is a consumer that only eats meat or other animals. Omnivores, such as humans, eat both plants and animals.

(You fill in the rest………)

Problem and hypothesis

In this experiment, the problem was whether a self contained, sealed (aquatic or terrestrial) ecosystem could be created that was balanced and could survive without any interaction with the outside, including air exchange. The hypothesis was that if the correct balance of abiotic and biotic factors were added to the bottle ecosystem, then the ecosystem would survive and the living things would be alive and be able to live in the ecosystem.

Sample materials and methods

In the experiment, an aquatic ecosystem was created. The materials used to create the ecosystem are: one clear 2 litter soda bottle, 600 ml of aged distilled water, 4 scoops of gravel, 4 Elodea water plants, 2 guppies and one water snail.

To create the ecosystem, the soda bottle was rinsed and cleaned. (If you cut the bottle, describe that) The gravel was measured, rinsed with tap water and added to the bottle. Aged distilled water was measured in a graduated cylinder and 600 ml was added to the bottle. (Continue……)

Figure 1 is a picture of what the bottle ecosystem looked like on the first day when it was created.

Sample results

On the day the ecosystem was created, the temperature of the water was 25°F and the pH was 6. The temperature was measured with a thermometer and the pH was measured using pH paper.

Observations were taken on day 3, 6, 10 and 12 (you have dates on the table, so use the correct day numbers) after the ecosystem was created. On day 3 after the ecosystem, the guppy was not moving and was floating at the top of the water. It is believed that it died. In addition, the Elodea plants looked a bit brown, not as green as the first day. The water was a little bit cloudy and particles could be seen floating in the water.

On day 6,……………….. you fill in.

On day 14, the ecosystem was taken apart. The temperature was ___ and the pH of the water was ____. The Elodea plants were _______ (alive, green, starting to grow, brown, etc). The sea snail shell was empty. The guppy was dead. The gravel was _____. (other observations) A picture of the final day of the ecosystem is attached as figure 2.

A summary table of the observations is attached as table 1.

Sample discussion

In this experiment, a self-contained ecosystem was created. The plan was to create a balanced ecosystem in which the gases would exchange, through the process of photosynthesis and cellular respiration, since no air from the outside was exchanged. Photosynthesis uses CO2 and releases O2 while cellular respiration uses O2 and releases CO2. Only plants undergo photosynthesis and are needed to feed other members of the ecosystem, so more plants were added to keep the balance of gases and to have enough energy for the guppies and sea snails. Guppies eat the Elodea plants and blood worms, and sea snails eat algae and Elodea plants. Because the sea snails eat the algae, they keep the water clean. In this experiment, the snails died early and there was no one to eat the algae, so the tank became cloudy with algae.

More plants needed to be added to the ecosystem because there is a loss of energy as energy is transferred to another living thing. In this experiment, the Elodea plants became brown and did not seem to be good for eating. Also, the guppy and snail died, so no organisms were eating the Elodea.

There were errors that could have affected the ecosystem survival and affected our results. When the guppy was added to the ecosystem, it dropped on the table before going into the bottle. This may have caused stress and made it die quickly. (If your bottle disappeared, say so. Observations were made on our ecosystem on day 3, but on the next day, the bottle had disappeared. Maybe another class took it by mistake, but no more observations were made using the original bottle. The observations were taken from another group’s ecosystem from day 6 on.) Can you think of other errors that could not be helped? Temperature changes over the weekend? Rainy days with no sunshine?

Sample Conclusion

The hypothesis for the experiment was if the correct balance of abiotic and biotic factors were added to the bottle ecosystem, then the ecosystem would be able to survive. In the experiment, the correct balance of biotic and abiotic factors were not added, so the organisms did not survive. However, there were errors that might have contributed to the demise of the organisms. These are (temperature changes, loss of the bottle, etc).

If this experiment could be done again, there are changes that would help make it more successful and have more organisms being able to survive. More plants should be added so that more energy and gas exchange can occur. (Other things that you think would help make it better next time).

Overall, in order to create a successful self-contained ecosystem, many things must be kept in mind, including having enough energy sources from producers and the correct exchange of gases. Other things are (………).

Erin Huffstetler is a writer with experience writing about easy ways to save money at home.

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How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

The word “flies” isn’t regularly preceded by the word “pesky” for nothing. They’ve gained their bad reputation honestly. Having these irritating flying pests land on your food isn’t just annoying, it’s a chance to get sick. Fight back by making a fly trap to lure them away from your patio, deck, and garden all summer long.​

What You Need

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Mark Your Cutting Line

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Draw a line around the bottle, just below the tapered neck.

Cut the Top off the Bottle

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Cut along the line to remove the top from the bottle.

Assemble Your Fly Trap

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Remove the soda cap. Then flip the top of the bottle upside down so that it looks like a funnel and slide it into the bottom portion of the bottle to complete your flytrap.

Bait Your Trap

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Fly larvae feed on rotten meat and feces, while adult flies feed on sweet things like decomposing fruit. Bait your trap with either of these things, and you’ll attract lots of flies. To keep bees out of your trap, add a splash of vinegar to the mix.

Meat and sweets will also attract wasps to your trap. If you only want to catch flies, bait your trap with fruit and vinegar in the early spring and fall months. Switch to meat and vinegar in the summer.

Want to get rid of wasps, too? This trap can serve a double purpose. Just use meat and vinegar as your bait in the early spring and fall, and sweets in the summer.

How the trap works: Flies smell the bait and fly into the bottle to get to it (either to lay eggs or to feed). Once inside they aren’t able to navigate back up the narrow opening, and they become trapped.

Maintaining your trap: Empty the dead flies and re-bait your trap regularly. If you decide to use meat or animal droppings (chicken litter, rabbit pellets) as bait, you’ll also need to destroy any larvae that you find in your trap. Filling the bottle with hot water should do the trick.

Make a Handle for Your Fly Trap

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

If you prefer a hanging trap, use a hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the bottle. Make sure they go through both layers of the trap. Then thread a piece of wire through the holes, crimp the ends, and your trap is ready to hang.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Have you seen those fantasy faux-glass flowers made from recycled pop bottles?

I mean the delicate fragile-looking twisty looking ones, like those the US-based artist Laura Astor) used to make. Like this.

(Note: these aren’t the Anthropologie-style of flowers that use the ends of the bottles. But there’s a great tutorial from Sonia at Kosmic Chai, if you’re looking for a how-to on making that type.)

These more delicate PET flowers would make gorgeous Christmas-tree decorations, I think, if you coloured the flowers red like a poinsettia — or put together a whole bunch of the clear plastic flowers would make a fun sun-catcher mobile for your garden or a little girl’s bedroom — or tie them into a good thick evergreen wreath to add a little frosty glitter. The possibilities are endless!

Here, Leanne of Luvlee Scrappin gives a little video tutorial to walk you through how she makes her pop bottle flowers. You’ll find a number of YouTube videos that show a similar how-to techniques, but Leanne’s tutorial has the clearest instructions and best quality sound and pictures of any I’ve looked at.

Instructions for Pop Bottle Flowers

Here’s a quick outline of how Leanne shows how to make pop bottle flowers, just to give you an idea of what’s involved, but do watch the video (it runs about 10 minutes) for full instructions:

From the side of a plastic pop bottle, cut:

  • 2 squares, 2.25″ x 2.25″ each
  • 1 square, 1.75″ x 1.75″

Cut each square into four petals that are joined together at the middle. Leanne likes to cut curves from corner into the center like a windmill, then turn the plastic piece the other up and cut the other direction to complete the petals.

You can draw out the petals with a Sharpie first, if you like, but just be sure to cut all the pen marks off so they don’t show up on the finished flower. (My suggestion, if you’re not confident of your freehand scissor work: draw out a pattern on paper, lay the plastic down on top of the paper, and follow along the lines with a stylus or pencil point, then cut the plastic along the scored lines.)

If you want a coloured flower, use a coloured plastic pop bottle or colour the petals with Sharpie pens or alcohol (not water-based) inks.

Next, you’re going to want to melt the edges of the petals to get a bit of a natural curve or twist look. For this, Leanne suggests a tea light candle. You could use a heat gun can be used, but Leanne says it doesn’t give the nice ripple effect on the edges that you’re looking for here. I suspect that the heat from a heat gun is spread out evenly over too large an area, not as concentrated as a candle flame and not as unpredictable.

So, light you little candle (keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby, as always when working with an open flame) and grab a pair of metal tweezers you don’t mind using for craft projects.

Gently heat the edges of petal (holding it about inch and a half away from the candle flame, Leanne suggests) until the edge of plastic starts to melt and curl. This will happen quite fast, so be careful not to melt it too much! Then give the petal a twist with your tweezers. Try to keep the centre as flat as possible as this is where you’ll glue the layers together to form your flower.

Repeat with other petals.

Cut a couple of leaves from a green pop bottle (or cut from a clear bottle, if that’s all you have, and colour it with a Sharpie or alcohol inks). Use the same heat-and-shape technique to give a little ripple to the leaves.

Assemble — very carefully! — using a hot glue gun, positioning the petals and leaves in whatever way looks good to you. Add a bead, pearl, or other embellishment of your choice to make the centre of the flower.

And there you have it, a faux glass flower made from an old pop bottle!

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel Step 1: The first step in bottling beer at home is to verify that your primary or secondary fermentation is complete by checking the specific gravity two or three days apart. If the reading is the same on both days it is safe to bottle, otherwise you should wait until you get the same reading. This will prevent over-carbonation or exploding bottles.

Step 2: A typical 5 gallon batch of beer will require forty-eight 12-ounce bottles or twenty-six 22-ounce bottles along with the same amount of bottle caps. Clean and sanitize your bottles, caps and all other equipment before you start the bottling process. We recommend using a non-rinsing sanitizer like Easy Clean or Star San.

Additional equipment needed to bottle homebrew (be sure to sanitize all equipment prior to beginning the bottling process):

  • Bottling bucket and siphon hose (or a carboy, racking cane, and siphon hose)
  • Bottle filler
  • Bottle capper

The bottling bucket is a regular brew bucket with a spigot near the bottom. This is convenient in that you can let gravity move the liquid without inducing a siphon. You can also use a carboy with the siphon hose attached to a racking cane. An auto-siphon is an excellent option to avoid inducing a siphon by mouth if you are using a carboy instead of the bucket. A spring-loaded bottle filler is one of the neatest inventions since sliced bread for the home brewer. It’s a tube with a spring-loaded valve in one end that opens/closes by pushing/releasing against the bottom of your bottles, allowing the beer to quietly fill the bottle and not drip in between fills.

Step 3: Assuming you have 5 gallons of beer to carbonate, in a small pot/vessel boil 5 oz (3/4 cup) priming sugar (or 1-1/4 cups dry malt extract) in 1 cup of water for two minutes and let cool to approximately room temperature (quick tip: you can quickly cool the small pot in a sink filled with about an inch of cold water). The cooling process is especially critical if using a glass carboy to avoid cracking the glass. Pour the cooled liquid into your bucket or carboy, then siphon the beer from your fermenter leaving any sediment behind. Make sure that the siphon hose is at the bottom of the bucket so the siphoning action evenly mixes the sugar water with the beer for uniform carbonation. When siphoning is complete, gently stir the beer with a sanitized spoon.

Step 4: Now it’s time to fill the bottles. If you are using a bottling bucket, attach the siphon hose to the spigot then the bottle filler to the other end of the hose. Insert the bottle filler into a bottle, then open the spigot and press the bottle filler against the bottom of the bottle to start the flow.

If you are using a carboy and racking cane, attach the hose to the racking cane then invert and fill both with water. Fold/pinch the end of the hose, then quickly insert the racking can into the carboy, release the hose to allow the siphon to start, and then insert the bottle filler onto the end of the hose. With an Auto-Siphon, attach the hose to the Auto-Siphon and the bottle filler to the other end of the hose and pump the inner wand to induce the siphon.

Fill the bottles to 1” from the top and lift the bottle filler to stop the flow. Fill the remaining bottles in the same way. Then cap and let sit for 2-3 weeks in a dark place at room temperature (the bottles won’t carbonate in the refrigerator if you are using ale yeasts). Then chill and enjoy!

Final Thoughts: If your carbonation seems fine after 3 weeks but seems to be over-carbonated after 5-6 weeks on a consistent basis (or if you just prefer less carbonation), reduce the amount of priming sugar to 3.7 oz per 5 gallons of beer. This may extend the carbonation time but will eliminate long-term carbonation. If you have less than 5 gallons of beer to carbonate, then prorate the amount of priming sugar you use on bottling day. Cheers!

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

José Alano is a model of creativity in tackling environmental problems in Brazil. In 2002, the retired mechanic transformed a pile of plastic bottles and cartons into a solar water heater. Since then, thousands of people in southern Brazil have benefited from Alano’s invention, saving money while reducing waste.

The idea came from the lack of recycling collection services in his small home town of Tubarão. Refusing to throw plastic bottle, carton and other recyclable waste into the landfill, José Alano soon realised he had a problem: a room full of rubbish.

‘Being 59 years old, I have had the opportunity to witness the technological advances of science, which improved food storage. But nowadays, some packaging weighs almost the same than the food itself! Years ago, my wife and I realised that we were not prepared for this new form of consumption.’

Using his basic knowledge on solar water heating systems, he and his wife built an alternative version using 100 plastic bottles and 100 milk cartons. ‘It worked perfectly well, and we got rid of our waste in a responsible way,’ he says.

A winning invention

Alano’s initiative became widely known in Brazil after winning the Superecologia prize, offered by the Superinteressante magazine for renewable projects in the not-for-profit sector. Since then, the retired mechanic has been busy with workshops and lectures in community centres and schools, particularly in the Brazilian southern state of Santa Catarina, where he lives.

Yet, Alano never wanted to profit from it, and explains why: ‘I am a simple person, but I am very aware of my own responsibilities as a consumer. The recycled solar water heater was just my small contribution to the environment, and to improve the lives of people who need to save money. I registered the invention, so nobody else could copy and profit from it. Although the information on how to build it is in the public domain and anybody can access it, there are two restrictions: to its industrial production and to its use by politicians during electoral campaigns.’

The information on how to build the recycled solar heater has reached communities through the support of local governments, media, state-owned and private electricity companies, which also donated pipes and other materials.

Alano says that now it is difficult to keep track of all the projects being developed across Brazil, but he mentions some figures from the southern states: ‘More than 7,000 people are already benefitting from the solar heaters in Santa Catarina state alone. There are two cooperatives, one in Tubarão and other in Florianópolis, the last producing 437 solar heaters to be installed in council houses. In Paraná state, the number of solar heaters had reached 6,000 in 2008, thanks to the DIY leaflets and workshops that the governmental body SEMA organised there.’

Big savings

The alternative water heater can provide power savings of up to 30 per cent, but apart from that, Alano notes that every recycled solar water heater built also means less plastic bottles and cartons finding their way to landfill. Since Alano’s invention, Tubarão has been benefiting from regular collection of recyclable waste, something that unfortunately still doesn’t happen in many Brazilian towns.

Alano has lost count of the number of times he has lectured or been visited by groups of students, eager to learn about the invention. However, this is not his only one. Alano designed a low cost multifunctional bed for disabled people, but he is struggling to find a business partnership. Although there has been much interest to put it into production, Alano says that the problem is always to keep profits lower in order to benefit the consumers.

Eight years after its creation, the solar heater still takes a lot of his time, but he believes that now he will finally be able to focus on the multifunctional bed and other projects: ‘The recycled solar water heater is only the result of persistence over frustration’, he explains. ‘I don’t consider myself an inventor. I am just a citizen trying to find solutions to problems.’

Do it yourself
Despite latitude and climate differences between southern Brazil and Britain, the solar water heater designed by Alano is based on the principle of thermosyphon, used in many commercial heaters sold in the UK for as much as £6,000. In this system, neither pumps nor electricity are used to induce circulation. The different water densities are enough to cause a cyclic movement from the collector panel to the tank: less dense hot water upwards, more dense cold water downwards.

The assembly is straightforward, and can be better understood through the illustrations contained in the DIY leaflet (text only in Portuguese). Obviously, size does mater. Alano reckons that to heat water for a shower of one person, a 1m² panel would be enough.

If you are interested in building up your own, these are the basic materials needed: 2L plastic bottles (60), cartons (50), 100mm PVC pipe (70 cm), 20mm PVC pipe (11.7m), 90-degree 20 mm PVC elbows (4), 20mm PVC T-connectors (20), 20 mm PVC end caps (2), PVC glue, black matt paint and roller, sand paper, self-amalgamating tape, rubber hammer, saw, wood or other material for the support.

With the diagrams in the DIY leaflet as a guide, use the 100mm PVC pipe as a mould and cut off the bottom of the bottles. Cut the 20mm PVC pipes into 10 x 1m and 20 x 8.5 cm pieces, and assemble with the T-connectors. Cut and paint the cartons (pag.10-12), as well as the one-meter long pipes. Assemble according to figure B.

The panels must be placed at least 30 cm below the tank and be sited on a south facing wall or roof. To optimise heat absorption, the panels must be mounted at the angle of your latitude, plus 10°. In London, for instance, the panel’s inclination should be 61°. Alano recommends that the plastic bottles in the panels should be swapped for new ones every 5 years: ‘Over time, the plastic becomes opaque, which reduces the heat caption, while the black cartons can be repainted.’

Giovana Zilli is a freelance journalist

Hi Everyone! This is Melanie from Artzy Creations here to share with you another fun craft for kids. Summer is a perfect time to try simple and fun projects with the kiddos. Especially when the kids are looking for a good boredom buster. Having taught art for 18 years now, I have also looked for projects that you can upcycle/recycle. These Bottle Cap Bugs are great for kids for all ages because they can be as simple and intricate as you want. Kids can create all different types of bugs. Bees, Lady Bugs, Beetles, and all sorts of imaginary bugs are possible. Plus, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for your supplies.

  • Bottle Caps
  • Transparency Paper
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue or Elemer’s Glue (You can use Elemer’s Glue to glue the wings and eyes of the
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Googly Eyes

Step 1: Using the transparency paper, cut any shape of wing.

Step 2: Color the wings in using the Sharpie markers using any pattern or design.

Step 3: Hot glue or use Elmer’s Glue to glue the wings onto the bottle cap.

Step 4: Glue the googly eyes on to the front of the bottle cap.

A couple of tips to share while making these cute bottle cap bugs. Sharpie Markers as you can see can get a little streaky. If you have younger kids make these, they might have to slow down a bit when coloring to make sure the marker is not too streaky. Also, remind kids to not drag their hands over areas that have just been colored. The marker will smear.

Look at all of this cuteness! I can’t pick a favorite because I love them all. My daughter’s just love making these and I’m sure your kids will too.

Thank you to the wonderful Made From Pinterest sisters for having me.

Hope you all continue to have a wonderful summer and enjoy all of the fun Bottle Cap Bug Making. See you next month!

Check out these fun projects too:

10 Minute Dinosaur Mason Jar For Kids

This awesome post has been shared with Home Stories A to Z

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Make a Pop Bottle Greenhouse

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

So, today I really wanna share what I think is the most awesome project for anyone who wants a greenhouse but, needs a more inexpensive way to do it. It is a greenhouse made of recycled 2 liter pop bottles! As my aunt was telling me about this idea the other day I thought to myself , “no way totally, won’t work” but after a quick goolge search on the subject I found out I was wrong. You Can Build a Greenhouse out of 2 liter Bottles!!
Okay, bring the excitement down a notch..for a 8’x8′ greenhouse you will need approximately 2,000 2 liter bottles. no that’s not a typo..lol and you still will need wood for the frame and some wire to help secure the bottles. Still, I believe this is a remarkable idea! Recycling at it’s best! Definitly a project I want to do myself. However, it is a big undertaking and with the busy home life, time is not always on my side. So, instead of making you wait until October (lol) for me to finish making my own greenhouse out of 2 liter bottles, I thought I would share the link of how to do it instead.

So, here’s the link to the instructions on how to make a greenhouse out of 2 liter bottles.
http://www.squidoo.com/plasticbottlegreenhouse
This one has held up well to the weather for 4 years!

Side Notes: You could get creative with this a little too! You could build a smaller greenhouse for a child to practice gardening, which would use less bottles, and be a great learning experience for them. I have considered making one just to be a gardening shed, by changing the pattern a little maybe this idea could be used to make a sun room or the roof to a gazebo. who knows!

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  • How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies on an Orange Tree

Things You Will Need

1/2-cup honey or sugar

Wasps can become a nuisance — and be a danger to your family — when they build nests on or near your home. Building a trap using a 2 L bottle is a safe and easy way to rid your yard or home of the stinging insects. Traps use a sugary bait that will attract the wasps, and allow you to dispose of them without harm.

Remove the label from your 2 L bottle. Soaking the bottle in warm, soapy water will loosen the glue and make removal easier.

Cut off the top of the bottle with a box cutter. Make the cut about 4 inches from the top; cut at the point where the curve of the bottle ends.

Turn the bottle-top upside down, and place it inside the bottom of the bottle. Line-up the cut edges, and staple the sides together every 2 inches.

Mix 1/2-cup honey or 1/2-cup sugar with 1-qt. water. Pour the bait into the plastic bottle, making sure the liquid coats the sides.

Punch a hole in both sides of the wasp-trap near the top. Thread a 14-inch piece of string through the holes, and knot the ends to secure. Hang your wasp-trap in a tree or on a fence post.

Hang your wasp trap 20 to 30 feet away from areas frequented by people. Empty your bottle of trapped wasps frequently.

This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. You can make a pop bottle bottle ecosystem with all your kids. If you have older teens, have them help in the teaching as well.

The pop bottle ecosystem is a biology exploration the pairs with Layers of Learning Unit 4-19, which is about habitats. Layers of Learning has hands-on experiments in every unit of this family friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.

An ecosystem is an interconnected zone where life exists. It includes the air, the water, the soil, the animals, the plants, and the bacteria in that zone. The space an ecosystem takes up depends on how a person defines it. The entire Amazon rain forest could be an ecosystem, but so could the life cradled in the water trapped in a single leaf high in the canopy of the rain forest.

Defining an ecosystem helps us see that life is interconnected and when one living thing or species is affected so are they all. We see how materials, like water, are cycled through the whole ecosystem to benefit each part of it. The fish and the plants and the soil are all affected by the same water, for example. You can make a small ecosystem in a pop bottle.

Step 1: Library Research

Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about ecosystems. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about ecosystems. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

What If There Were No Bees?

by Suzanne Slade

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Exploring Ecosystems With Max Axiom

by Agnieszka Biskup

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

The Wonderous Workings of Planet Earth

by Rachel Ignotofsky

Step 2: Pop Bottle Ecosystem Exploration

To make each pop bottle ecosystem you will need a clear pop bottle, a small plant, 2-3 small fish, aquarium rocks, string, paper coffee filters, and water.

After you have built your ecosystem, you will also need fish food for your fish.

Start with a 2 liter bottle, clear is best so you can see through it. Cut the top off the bottle, just below where the straight sides begin on the bottle.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Next add some aquarium rocks, some water, and a few goldfish. Make sure you use water your goldfish are acclimated to temperature wise. If you leave the water sitting out at room temperature for a few hours before you add it to the goldfish water it will be fine.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Now get two coffee filter papers and cut two small holes in the center. Cut a piece of string long enough so it can reach from the top of the bottle down to the water with the goldfish. Tie a knot in one end of the string. Thread the un-knotted end through the top of the filter papers, through the little holes you made. Set the filter paper down inside the inverted top of the bottle that you already cut off.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Get a plant from the garden center and place it into the coffee filter inside the inverted top of the pop bottle. You may need a little extra gardening soil to fill up the space.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

The base of the plant should end up about level with the upper cut edge of the pop bottle.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Place the plant and top of the bottle into the lower part of the bottle, the part with the goldfish in it, so that the string dangles down into the water.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Poke a small hole in the side of the lower part of the bottle, above the water line, but low enough that your child can put a flake or two of fish food through the hole to feed the fish each day. The water, rich with nutrients from the fish, will wick up the string to water your plants. You have made a little ecosystem with a plant, animals, water, soil, rocks, air, sunlight, and food that you replenish every day.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

Step 3: Show What You Know

Draw a labeled diagram of your pop bottle ecosystem in your science notebook. Explain how the parts of the ecosystem are connected to one another.

Additional Layers

Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.

Writer’s Notebook

Write a story about a little person inside your Pop Bottle Ecosystem. What would your little person eat? How would she get down to the water? How would the water get clean enough for your little person to drink it?

Deep Thoughts

Talk with your child about he or she must care for the ecosystem. The fish needs to be fed a flake of food each day. The water needs to be cleaned every couple of weeks. The plant needs to be set somewhere it can get enough light. And the soil needs to be checked to be sure it stays moist enough.

Compare this to the way people need to care for all of the ecosystems on earth, by not littering, by using resources responsibly, and by lightly treading in our world.

Additional Layer

Learn about a particular ecosystem near where you live. Find out about the animals and plants that live there and the amount of water and sunlight the area gets. Are there any endangered species or invasive species that have changed the ecosystem lately? What is the human impact on the ecosystem. Read everything you can and then if possible go visit in person and observe what it is like in your local ecosystem.

Get the first Layers of Learning unit free when you sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Asthma is a global disease, but its impacts aren’t.

For one thing, it’s linked to a variety of factors, including air pollution, smoking, and insufficient medical care, that are more severe in poorer countries.

The effects can be seen in mortality rates. According to the Global Asthma Network, age-standardized asthma mortality is highest in Fiji, the Philippines, and South Africa. (However, there are data gaps in a number of countries, especially if asthma isn’t recorded as a cause of death.) While asthma deaths are low overall, these are preventable.

One reason people, mainly older adults, are still dying of asthma is that in resource-strapped places, it’s hard to access preventers. So these medical systems are likely to focus on relievers instead. Thus, in low-income countries, according to the Global Asthma Report 2018, “the huge majority of asthma patients are being treated only on an emergency basis.” At that point it may already be too late. One policy implication is that preventive medicines and care should be provided for free or at subsidized rates to affected people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

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But while asthma inhalers themselves are complicated to manufacture, and heavily marketed, one accessory doesn’t need to be costly. In fact, according to the Global Asthma Network it can be made using commonly found and discarded objects.

This is the spacer, which helps slow the flow of medication. A spacer is an empty tube that attaches to an inhaler on one end and a mouthpiece on the other. In other words, it creates space between the inhaler and the back of the mouth. According to Asthma UK, this allows for more effective use by some people, particularly children. And because large particles collect in the spacer rather than the mouth, the likelihood of side effects is reduced.

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

The Able Spacer (Photo by Photofusion)

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Simple spacers can be made with plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, plastic baggies, paper, or even toilet paper rolls. This kind of hack is especially useful for non-medical settings or places with little money to spend on medical devices. In the US, a spacer typically retails for around $20. Some research suggests that a DIY version is just as effective as a commercially made one, although this may need to be reevaluated as inhalers become more sophisticated. Other research points to the inconsistency of these unconventional spacer models, which are criticized by some allergists.

With these caveats in mind, how can you actually turn a .5-litre plastic bottle into a spacer?

The Global Asthma Report 2018 gives the following steps:

“1. Wash the bottle with soap and water and air dry for a minimum of 12 hours to reduce electrostatic charge on the interior plastic.

2. Make a wire mould similar in size and shape to the mouthpiece of the MDI [metered-dose inhaler].

3. Heat the mould and hold in position on the outside of the base of the plastic bottle until the plastic begins to melt (

10 seconds). Rotate the mould 180% and reapply to the bottle until the mould melts through to make a hole.

4. While the bottle is still warm, insert the MDI into the hole to ensure a tight fit between the MDI and bottle spacer. New bottle spacers should be primed initially with 10 puffs of the medicine to reduce electrostatic charge on the walls, which attracts small particles, and thus make more aerosol medicine available for inhalation.”

A simpler version is just to cut an opening into the bottom of a plastic bottle and insert an inhaler, although this is likely to be less effective than the one above, as it would be less securely fitted and would have greater electrostatic charge.

If you have asthma or another medical condition you should always seek advice from your doctor before altering your treatment.

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

By John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He builds project for Adafruit Industries. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter/IG @johnedgarpark

@johnedgarpark

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

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My son has this totally awesome “exhaust” pipe on his bike that I covet. It’s really a resonator for the classic baseball-card-in-the-spokes trick. It makes a terrific racket, and gets people to move out of the way without necessitating a honk on your horn. I decided to build my own, using a recycled beverage bottle. Armed with a Dremel Rotary Tool, a bottle of energy drink, and a depleted gift card, I set out to make my own soda bottle bike exhaust.

Materials:
Dremel Rotary Tool cut-off wheel, 180- and 280-grit abrasive buffs, aluminum oxide grinding stone, and 1/8″ drill bit
Aluminum 16oz. beverage bottle
Hose clamps (2)
Plastic gift card (depleted)
#8 screw (1) with nuts (2) and washer (1)
Pop rivet gun with 1/8″ short aluminum rivets
Permanent marker
Masking tape
Dust mask
Safety goggles

Download the Project PDF
(Right click to save the PDF to your desktop.)

How to Make Pop Bottle Biodiesel

If you’re looking for a super fun yet educational project for the little ones, creating a 2-liter bottle greenhouse fits the bill. Heck, making a soda bottle greenhouse is fun for adults too! Read on to see how to make a pop bottle greenhouse.

How to Make a Pop Bottle Greenhouse

Pop bottle greenhouse instruction couldn’t be simpler. These micro greenhouses can be made with one or two soda bottles with the labels removed. All you need to begin is:

  • One or two empty 2-liter soda bottles (or water bottles) that have been thoroughly washed and dried
  • A craft knife or sharp scissors
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • A plate to put the soda bottle greenhouse on to catch any drips.

Seeds can be veggie, fruit or flower. You can even plant “free” seeds from your own kitchen pantry. Dried beans and peas can be used, as well as tomato or citrus seeds. These seeds may be hybrid varieties, however, so they may not turn into a replica of the parent but they’re still fun to grow.

The first step to pop bottle greenhouse instruction is cutting the bottle. Of course, this should be done by a grown-up if your kids are little. If using one bottle, cut the bottle in half so the bottom piece is deep enough to hold the soil and plants. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the bottle for drainage. The top half of the bottle will be the top of the micro greenhouse with the cap on.

You can also use two bottles with one bottle cut 4” high to create the bottom and base and the 2nd bottle cut 9” high for the lid or top of the greenhouse. Again, poke a few holes in the base piece.

Now you’re ready to finish creating your 2-liter soda bottle greenhouse. Simply have your child fill the container with soil and plant the seeds. Water the seeds in lightly and replace the lid atop the soda bottle greenhouse. Put your new mini greenhouse on a plate and put it in a sunny spot. The lid will retain moisture and heat so the seeds will sprout quickly.

Depending on the type of seed, they should sprout within 2-5 days. Keep the seedlings moist until it is time to plant them in the garden.

Once you transplant the seedlings, reuse the bottle greenhouse to start some more. This project teaches kids how their food is grown and allows them to watch all the stages a plant goes through before it finally becomes food on their plates. It is also a lesson in re-purposing or recycling, another lesson good for planet Earth.

Ice Packs – I use a large pop bottle (2-litre) and fill it with water about 2/3 full then freeze it. That way I always have ice packs on hands. (Bonus: when the ice packs start to melt, I have clean and ice cold water to drink). Using small size pop bottles (250 mL, 300 mL, 350 mL, etc.), I fill them about 1/2 with water and freeze. The next day, I fill with fresh tap water or juice. That way, my son gets cold drinks for the day without having to bring bulky ice packs in his lunch box: one half for the morning recess and the other half for the afternonn recess. Contributed by Lynne

Potpourri Holder – Cut the bottom from the bottle. Fill with pot pourri and cover the open part with curtain lace and glue to the outside of the bottle. Cover the raw edges of the curtain lace with either ribbon or lace. Contributed by Boston, [email protected]

M&M lolly jar – Cut the middle from the bottle and keep the top and bottom. Rejoin these (with hot glue). Glue lace or ribbon or both to cover the join. Paint the lid or decorate with lace or ribbon. Contributed by Boston, [email protected]

Plastic Butterfly – Make a stencil using a piece of cardboard in the shape of a butterfly, about 4x4inch or so. You trace the butterfly out onto the bottle and then you can cut it out. Down the center of the butterfly you can bend it, so it has its arches. You then can paint/design the butterfly in any colour of your choice. To stick them up, you can use putty. Contributed by [email protected]

Ocean in a Bottle – Take 1/2 bottle of oil, half water. Add food coloring and glitter. It is pretty cool, and works well with smaller bottles for babies to play with. Contributed by Starr, [email protected]

Substitue Funnel – Cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and voila! a handy funnel to use for putting oil in your car, or filling jugs, etc.

Substitute for Sand Bags – If you’ve ever used sand bags for weight in the winter you know they can be very messy when they break or just a plain hassle to move around. Put the sand in 2 liter bottles (must be dry not frozen).These are easily moved and in extreme weather when stuck on a slick spot I just grab a bottle and sprinkle sand under the tires, I’m on my way in seconds. Contributed by Belinda C., [email protected]

Bathtup Submarine – Cut three lines in a shape like this, |_| as a door and put your little action figures in a go for a swim. Contributed by [email protected]

Small thingee holder – Cut the top off 2 litre bottles so they stand 6-8 inches tall. With a small screw and washer, screw them to a 1×4″ board. Screw that board onto the wall in your workshop to hold a wide variety of tools. Contributed by Dave Sturby, [email protected]

Slalom Course – Fill up partially with sand, and make a slalom course for your skateboarders, inliners, or for a bike rodeo. Contributed by Dave Sturby, [email protected]

Spray Pumps – Some bottles can be fitted with a spray pump (ala windex) to spray a dilute latex paint mix. Good for small projects , clean nozzle with clear water and re-use. Contributed by Dave Sturby, [email protected]

Water balloon filler – Contributed by Dave Sturby, [email protected]

Wind Socks – Cut top and bottom off 2-liter bottle to have a perfect cylinder. Punch 4 holes (with a hole punch) spaced evenly on top. Tie a 12 inch piece of fishing line to each hole. Attach all four to a large swivel snap used in fishing. Sand the bottle and paint with paints any design you wish. When dry, punch holes every inch around the bottom. Tie a 3 foot piece of ribbon in each hole. Vary your colors or make them all the same. Hang up and enjoy. Contributed by Cathy Williams, [email protected]

Pop Bottle Snowman – Instructions here.

Yarn Holder – Keep yarn from getting tangled when knitting or crocheting. Cut off bottom of bottle and insert yarn, pulling strand through top opening then tape bottom back on. This will keep your yarn from rolling across the room on you and your cat from playing with it.

Plant / Seed starter – Cut off bottom fill with soil, add seed and water. Reattach the top of the bottle (with the cap on) using tape. Keep in a warm place and wait for seeds to germinate. When your seedlings are tall enough, transplant in a larger pot or in your garden.

Decorative Containers – Cut off the tops of two bottles (keep the bottoms). Paint, decoupage, or cover with fabric. Make a hinge out of ribbon or make a small holes and wire the bottoms of two bottles together. This will give you a container that will open. For a handle, glue on a bead, button, or a piece of ribbon. Fill will small gifts, jewelry, candy, etc.

Make a Bank – Paint or cover with fabric. Cut a small slit in the top so you can drop the coins in. (You’ll have to cut the bottle open to remove the coins, unless you want to cut a three-sided doorway in the back or bottom.)

Make a Doorstop – Paint and fill with sand or gravel. Glue strips of narrow wood to the sides so it won’t roll away.

Plant Waterer – Remove the cap and the bottom of the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down, and set the spout into the ground or pot. Fill with water and this will allow your plants to be watered when you are going to be away for a few days.

Make plastic shapes – Take a clear bottle and draw the shape of a butterfly or bird, or any small animal. Cut around the shape, sand and paint with acrylic paint.

Make a Mobile – Cut out shapes (see above) and poke a small hole in the top. Poke a piece of string or yarn through the hole and tie a knot. Attach the other end of the string to a hanger and hang from the ceiling or ceiling fan.

Plant Decorations – Cut out shapes (see above) and attach to a piece of dowel with glue. Poke into the soil of your potted plants or in the garden for yard decorations.

Pop Bottle Bird Feeder – Sand and paint the bottle. Poke 4 holes in the top of the bottle, just below the lid. Insert two long pieces of wire – the wires will form a X. Attach the ends of the wire to a plastic lid by poking holes in the rim and twisting the wire through. Poke two more holes in the bottom of the bottle, on opposite sides. String another piece of wire or string through these holes to hang the feeder. Fill the bottle with the seed and hang it from a tree. (NOTE: You might be able to find a kit at K-Mart, Target, or your garden center that contains the adapter to convert bottle to bird feeders. Usually quite cheap!)

Make a Bird House – Turn the bottle on its side. Cut little windows/doors high up on the sides. Paint or cover the bottle with fabric. Hang from tree branches for birds to nest in.