Dissolving Ink Experiment

A dissolving ink experiment.

Get two clear jars or cups and fill one with water and the other with rubbing alcohol.  Using a waterproof (permanent) marker, write 2 of the same message – each on a sheet of tough paper (we used index cards).  Gently fold or roll up the messages and soak them – one in each jar of solution.  Now watch and see what happens over time.   What happens after 10 minutes?  An hour?  A day? (Different inks react differently, but most will gradually disappear over time in the alcohol, but stay legible in the water.) Different liquids dissolve different substances.  Alcohol can dissolve many inks while water cannot.  You can watch other things dissolve differently between water and alcohol too. Now Try This Dissolving Salt Experiment Put some water in a mason jar and add salt to it.  Stir it until the salt dissolves.  Now put some rubbing alcohol into a … Keep on reading

Decanting a Liquid in Chemistry and an Experiment

Decanting is pouring off the clear part of the liquid, leaving behind the sediment.  When doing a lime-water test for carbon dioxide you need to decant the clear lime-water from the portion with the sediment. This video shows how to decant a liquid. Lime Water Experiment The experiment we did was very simple.  You just need pickling lime, which you can get wherever canning supplies are sold, in Wal Mart or grocery stores, and distilled water. Pour enough distilled water into a jar or flask to fill it three quarters full. Add 2 Tablespoons pickling lime. Put a lid on the jar or a stopper on the flask.  Shake it up to dissolve and mix. Let it sit overnight. Decant the clear liquid into a beaker or another jar, leaving the sediment behind. Using a straw, blow into the clear liquid in the beaker. The lime-water in the beaker will … Keep on reading

Hard Water Experiment

Learn about the difference between hard and soft water by mixing some of your own in this hard water experiment. Hard water just means water that has minerals in it.  The high mineral count is usually comprised of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are dissolved in the water.  You can’t usually see whether or not you have hard water just by looking at it, but you’ll probably be able to tell other ways.  One way people quickly notice is that they tend to get “ring around the tub” and other mineral deposits in their sinks and bath tubs.  You can also tell if you have hard water by how it lathers.  Water with a lot of minerals won’t bubble up as much when soap is added as soft water will.  You can easily see the difference by comparing plain water with hard water that you mix yourself in this … Keep on reading

Solids, Liquids, and Gases

The states of matter can be confusing.  We often show them (like when we show an ice cube, a glass of water, and then steam rising from the pot on the stove), but we rarely explain to kids WHY they behave the way they do.  Solids, liquids, and gases make a little more sense when you look at the microscopic make-up of matter. States of Matter Exploration – A Look at Solids, Liquids, and Gases Start by taking as many kids as you can possibly get into a hula hoop, then ask them to dance, jump, and wiggle!  Not too easy when all those molecules are all packed in tightly!  That’s like a solid.  Now have a few kids step out and ask the same thing.  That’s like a liquid.  The particles have a little more room to move.  And finally, leave just one kid in the hula hoop and … Keep on reading

Simple Electrolysis

Water is made of oxygen atoms and hydrogen atoms combined.  They are chemically bonded together.  But you can break water molecules apart into oxygen atoms and hydrogen atoms with this simple electrolysis experiment.You need: a small glass or jar a 9 volt battery copper wire 4 alligator clips 2 pieces of mechanical pencil lead scotch tape water Fill your glass with about 2 inches of water. Tape the 2 pieces of pencil lead to the inside of the glass.  Make sure the bottoms are touching the water and the tops are above the glass rim. Now attach the copper wire (with ends exposed) to the lead with the alligator clips, and also to each side of a 9 volt battery with alligator clips like this: If you look really closely at the ends of the pencil lead that are in the water, you will see tiny bubbles form all along it.  The … Keep on reading

PVC Rocket

All rockets are powered by explosions.  All explosions are rapidly expanding gases.  Usually they’re expanding because they’re burning, but not always. In the PVC rocket launcher the propellant is burning hairspray. The Science Behind the PVC Rocket In the rocket we built, the hair spray inside the tube is set on fire.  Hairspray is tiny particles suspended in the air, it is in aerosol form.  This means each little particle is mixed with lots of air.  And each little particle is also very inflammable, it will burn with the slightest provocation.  When the hairspray burns the chemicals in the hairspray, which usually includes some form of alcohol, mixes with oxygen and forms carbon dioxide gas.  The carbon dioxide gas formed is in much greater concentration than that of the surrounding air.  That means the pressure inside the launching tube is much greater than the pressure outside.  The easiest way for … Keep on reading

How To Measure Chemicals With A Chemical Balance

This is an explanation about how to measure chemicals with a chemical balance.  Most homeschool parents are not scientists.  If you took chemistry in high school at all, at this point it’s a vague memory.  But chemistry is a valuable, fun, and a not-really-that-hard-to-teach-subject for kids (we start doing “real” chemistry in 1st grade with our kids). A chemical balance is just a scale, usually electronic.  You can buy one in WalMart in the kitchenware aisle (though this isn’t as accurate as a scale used in chemistry labs, it will do).  People use little scales like this to measure their food for portion size or when following a recipe.  They’re not very expensive and they are easy to use.  If you want a real chemistry scale, which is much more sensitive and can measure the tiny quantities used in chemical experiments, they are available at Home Science Tools and other … Keep on reading

Floating Eggs Experiment

Try this cool floating eggs experiment to study density.  First, make a saturated solution of salt and warm water.  We added blue food coloring for fun too.  When the salt is dissolved, put an egg in it.   You’ll see the egg rise to the very top because the egg is less dense than salt water.  (That’s the middle glass in the picture.) Next, add blue food coloring to a glass of plain water and drop the egg in.   You’ll see the egg sink to the bottom!  What happened this time?  Well, the egg is more dense than plain water, so it sinks. Finally, try a cool trick.   Make the egg float in the middle of the water.  Put warm salt water on the bottom (about 2/3 full).  Then slowly and carefully pour in plain water on top. Gently put the egg in and watch it float between … Keep on reading

The Chemistry of Blood

Our bodies are chemical factories. Everything you do from breathing and eating to moving and thinking involves chemical reactions. The Chemistry of Blood Take blood for example. There’s the reaction where oxygen is bound to the red blood cells through the aid of hemoglobin, which contains iron. Then there’s the complex reactions that take place for blood to clot. Then again there are the chemical signals used by white blood cells to differentiate between what is the body and what is not so that the white blood cells only attack foreign objects. Then there’s the way blood travels around the body giving out nutrients in just the right places and picking up waste carrying it back to the kidneys. Each of these exchanges in the blood involves multi-step complex chemical reactions. The body daily performs wildly complex reactions that scientists can not begin to comprehend let alone to duplicate in … Keep on reading

Carbon Creatures Chemistry

To make carbon creatures and see this cool carbon creatures chemistry experiment, you need: 1 t. baking soda 4 t. powdered sugar a splash of alcohol (isopropyl, ethanol, or lighter fluid all work equally well) matches or a lighter a metal dish Mix the baking soda and powdered sugar. Pour a splash of alcohol, just a couple of teaspoonfuls, into the dish. Now make a pile out of the powdered sugar mixture. Light it with the match and watch the reaction. At first you’ll see bits of the sugar going black. Then you’ll notice the black parts growing into little puffy mounds.  Ahem, I mean, carbon creatures.  THAT is carbon creatures chemistry. The Chemistry Explained Here is the chemical reaction that happens:          NaHCO3       –>      NA2CO3        +    H2O        +       CO2 * sodium bicarbonate –> … Keep on reading