Biology

Chemistry 101: At Home Awesome Chemistry Experiments

Chemical reactions happen around us all the time. These reactions occur when we cook or bake and even in our bodies, like when we breathe. Everyday objects are able to react and cause incredible reactions. Here are some easy science experiments you can create using things you can find around the house. Make sure you act safely during the experiment and have fun!

Invisible Ink with Lemon Juice

Materials: half a lemon, water, a bowl and spoon, a cotton swab, white paper, and a lamp.

Process: Squeeze some of the lemon juice into the bowl, add a few drops of water, and mix them together. Dip the cotton swab into the mixture and write a message on the piece of paper. Wait for the message to dry and then heat the paper by holding it closely to the light.

You should be able to read your message because the heat from the light oxidizes the lemon juices, which makes it turn brown. The water dilutes the lemon juice so it looks invisible on the paper.

Ice Cream

Materials: 1/2 cup of milk, 1 tbsp of sugar, 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract, 6 tbsp of salt, ice, a large and small plastic bag, and other flavors of your choice.

Process: Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and added flavor to the small bag. Squeeze out the air and then seal the bag tightly. Place it into another small bag and seal it again. Then, put the bag into a bigger freezer bag. Fill the bigger bag halfway with ice, add the salt, and squeeze out the air. Gently shake the bag and make sure the ice is spread out. Shake for about 5-10 minutes. When it freezes, enjoy the ice cream!

This reaction is an endothermic process because heat is required to melt the ice. The salt melts the ice, taking heat from the ice and making it even colder. Since the ice becomes colder, the milk begins to freeze and changes the milk from a liquid to solid ice cream.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Materials: Empty, compressible plastic bottles (gatorade bottle, 2-liter soda bottle) with NO lids or caps (covering the bottle will be dangerous), water, dishwashing detergent, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring.

Process: Use warm water to fill the bottle most of the way, then add a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda and cover the bottle opening with your hand, shaking the bottle to make the detergent water bubbly. Add some drops of food coloring into the bubbles. Then, pour in some vinegar. This will start the reaction and you can squeeze the bottle to help it along.

The reaction you will see takes place because the hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium bicarbonate ions in the baking soda.

Silly Putty Chemistry

Materials: Liquid starch, Elmer’s glue (Elmer’s lets the putty bounce, but other glue can be used), mixing bowl, large spoon, and food coloring

Process: Measure out 1/4 cup of the starch and 1/2 cup of glue. Then, pour the starch and glue into the mixing bowl and mix them together. Add your food coloring and stir until the coloring is absorbed and the substance is mostly solid. Then, start kneading the substance with your hands until most of the liquid is absorbed. You should have a ball with a similar consistency to silly putty. You can drain some liquid starch or add more glue to get a different consistency.

The mixture of starch and glue is held together by chemical bonds that are stretched and broken when you play with it.

Soda Fountain

Materials: A piece of paper, Diet Coke bottle, pack of mentos, a card, goggles, and a piece of tape

Process: Cut your paper to make a tube to hold the mentos. Then, block one end of the tube with a piece of tape. Open the Diet Coke bottle and place it carefully on a flat area outside. Place the card over the bottle opening and put the mentos tube upside-down on top of the card. Put on your goggles. When you are ready, remove the card so that the mentos drop into the Diet Coke, then move away and watch the reaction.

The carbon dioxide molecules from the soda attach to the surface of the mentos and react, forming bubbles which you will see shoot out of the bottle like a fountain.

Works Cited

Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Have a Vinegar and Baking Soda Foam Fight.” ThoughtCo, 25 Nov. 2019, http://www.thoughtco.com/vinegar-and-baking-soda-foam-fight-605989. Accessed 22 May 2020.

“Ice Cream Chemistry.” Making Science Make Sense, http://www.makingsciencemakesense.com/static/documents/Experiments/ice_cream_chemistry.pdf. Accessed 22 May 2020.

“Invisible Ink with Lemon Juice.” Science Kids, http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments/invisibleink.html. Accessed 22 May 2020.

“Mentos and Diet Coke.” ACS Chemistry for Life, American Chemical Society, http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/adventures-in-chemistry/experiments/mentos-diet-coke.html. Accessed 22 May 2020.

Urdaneta, Caroline. “Two Ingredient Silly Putty.” PBS for Parents, http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/two-ingredient-silly-putty-video. Accessed 22 May 2020.

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