This stuff is great fun around halloween, but who says you have to wait till October for some fun with fake wounds and fake blood? Mix up a batch and see how gross you can make it look! Read more
Flubber is similar to slime in many ways, sort of just a variation on the recipe. The slight change in the amounts of water, borax and glue makes a big difference in the final product. Try for yourself and check this stuff out. Read more
Elephants Toothpaste is a fun chemical reaction that creates a huge blob of soapy foam that everyone loves. You may have seen us do this experiment as part of our Extreme Science demonstration with super concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Unless you’re a teacher or science museum it’s difficult to obtain the 30% hydrogen peroxide needed to do this experiment. The peroxide you can buy at a drug store is only 3%. We recently have come across a version, from our friend Steve Spangler, that only requires a 6% solution of peroxide that you can buy from a local hair salon.
The basic science here is that you have hydrogen peroxide, which really should be called hydrogen dioxide, since it is just a water molecue with an extra oxygen added on. Hydrogen peroxide is H2O2, water is of course H2O. By adding another chemical called a catalyst to the peroxide, you create a chemical reaction that releases the extra oxygen attached to the water molecule. If you mix in a little detergent you can capture that released oxygen in the form of bubbles.
Here’s what you need
- an empty 16 oz. plastic soda or water bottle
- 1/2 cup 6% hydrogen peroxide
- Dish detergent
- Food coloring
- 1 teaspoon (or half a packet) of yeast dissolved in warm water
Fill your soda bottle with the 1/2 cup of peroxide and then add a squirt or two of dish detergent. If you want, you can also add a squirt of food coloring to make things a bit festive. Now you need to prepare your yeast. Actually you have a couple of options, you could just pour the dry yeast into the bottle. This will create a surge of foam from the bottle with large bubbles. The yeast acting as a catalyst to release oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. However, if you want a rich creamy foam of tiny bubbles, you should really add your teaspoon of yeast to a few tablespoons of warm water, then add the liquid to your bottle.
If you have ever made bread from scratch, you know that adding yeast to warm water allows the yeast to multiply into a somewhat smelly and foamy froth of more yeast cells. When you add this liquid to the peroxide you will get quite a surge of tiny soapy bubbles. The bubbly mixture is simply detergent, water, and oxygen filled bubbles and quite safe to touch. In fact you might observe that the foam is warm because this reaction is exothermic, meaning giving off heat.
Play around with the amount of peroxide, detergent, yeast and bottles to create the best guyser of foam!
DNA is the blueprint for life. This simple experiment will show you how to extract DNA from fruit like a banana or strawberry. All you need are some fruit and some things you probably have around the house right now. Read more
It’s always summer somewhere in the world and this is a great activity that lets you create your own special flowers in the colors you choose. Gather up some carnations, some daisies or pretty much any white flower and some food coloring and have some fun coloring flowers. They make a fun science gift for anyone. If you really want to get crazy try using two colors on the same flower. This can get tricky since you’ll have to figure out how to split the stem so each colored water travels up it’s own section of the flower stem. The results can be unpredictable! Read more
If you’re a Harry Potter fan you may want to try your hand at mixing up this color changing potion. Grab a head of red cabbage and a few items from the kitchen and you can cook up a potion that will change it’s color depending on what kinds of liquids you add to it.
What you need:
- Red Cabbage
- 5 clear cups
- boiling water
- an adult
- baking soda
- lemon juice
What to do:
- Finely chop up the cabbage until you have about 2 cups.
- Place the cabbage into a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover the cabbage.
- Let the cabbage soak for 15 minutes, until the water is red, purple, or blue. Now that you have your potion lets use it!
- Take the 5 cups and evenly distribute the cabbage juice between the cups.
- Number the cups with a marker 1-5.
- Add baking soda to cup 1 until you see a color change.
- Repeat with the lemon juice in cup 2, vinegar in cup 3, and antacids in cup 4.
- Leave cup 5 with just the cabbage juice.
- Compare the colors of the cabbage juice in all 5 cups. What do you notice?
What’s the Science?
This isn’t a potion at all. It’s science! Red cabbage contains the pigment flavin. This pigment is in the juice that leaks into the boiling water. Flavin will change color in response to changes in the hydrogen ion concentration, this is commonly called the pH of a solution. Acids have a lower pH (0- 7) and bases have a higher pH (7-14). Acids will change the color of the cabbage juice to a deep red bases will change it to a greenish-yellow. Something that has a pH of 7 is said to be pH neutral because it is not an acid or a base.
The cabbage juice is called an indicator because it can tell you the pH of a solution based on the color that it changes. The vinegar will turn the cabbage juice red because it is an acid (acetic acid). The baking soda will turn the cabbage juice greenish-yellow because it is a base (sodium bicarbonate).
What color does the cabbage juice turn when you add the other household items? What else could you add to the cabbage juice? What color does the cabbage juice turn?
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