May 2014

Elephant’s Toothpaste Materials (5/28/14)

MATERIALS

  • 16 oz. empty plastic bottle
  • ½ cup hydrogen peroxide
  • A squirt of Dawn dish detergent
  • Food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • Funnel
  • Foil cake pan or tray to contain the mess

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Safety first! Protect your eyes with safety glasses!
  2. Set the empty bottle right side up in the cake pan. Place a funnel in the opening of the empty bottle.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to the hydrogen peroxide, and pour the mixture through the funnel into the bottle.
  4. Add a squirt of Dawn dish detergent into the bottle.
  5. Stir 1 teaspoon of yeast with 2 tablespoons of warm water.
  6. Pour the yeast and water mixture into the bottle, and quickly remove the funnel.
  7. Finally, watch the magic happen, and be sure to touch the bottle to feel its temperature!

How does it work? Chemically speaking, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) should be called oxygen water, because hydrogen peroxide is just water with an extra oxygen atom. The yeast acts as a catalyst (a helper) to quickly remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. This essentially produces water and oxygen gas. The oxygen gas gets trapped in the soap which produces tons of foam, or elephant’s toothpaste! Did you notice that the bottle got warm? This demonstration showcases a chemical reaction called an exothermic reaction – this means it not only creates foam, but it also produces heat!

Bubble Snakes (5/14/14)

MATERIALS

  • Clean, empty 16 oz. plastic bottle
  • Scissors
  • A piece of fabric (old socks or washcloths work great!)
  • Rubber band or duct tape
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Distilled water
  • Food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Using adult supervision carefully cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle.
  2. Cover the bottom of the bottle with a piece of fabric that is large enough to cover the hole, and use a rubber band or duct tape to secure the fabric. An old sock or washcloth works very well!
  3. Your bubble snake maker is complete! To make the bubble solution, mix dishwashing liquid and distilled water in a small bowl. Original Dawn seems to work the best!
  4. Dip the fabric-covered end of the bottle into the bubble solution, and gently blow into the mouth of the bottle. Remember to blow air out and not suck air in! You’ll be making amazing bubble snakes in no time!
  5. Let’s kick it up a notch! Add a few drops of food coloring to the fabric-colored end of the bottle, dunk the fabric into the bubble solution, and blow into the mouth of the bottle. Wow, amazing!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

A water molecule (H2O) is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Hydrogen and oxygen atoms are best friends, so they want to stay close together. This is called a hydrogen bond! When you blow air into the bubble solution, the molecules still want to be close together, so they wrap around the pocket of air until they can connect to each other again. That’s how bubbles are made!

When you blow into your bubble snake maker, air makes its way through the fabric, and bubbles are continuously being created. The bubbles attach to each other when they come out of the fabric, and it’s all thanks to the same hydrogen bonds that make bubbles!