Tag Archives: Science Experiments

Chemical Reaction – Penny Cleaner

Chemical Reaction – Penny Cleaner

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Everything in the universe is made of teeny tiny particles called atoms. Some things are made up of just one kind of atom. A penny is made up entirely of copper atoms. Atoms can join together to make molecules. When a penny is exposed to oxygen in the air, the copper atoms of the penny and the oxygen atoms in the air combine. A chemical reaction takes place that makes a molecule called copper oxide – that is the dirty stuff that you see on the penny.  This “stuff” is often referred to as “tarnish.” When you soak the pennies in taco sauce, another chemical reaction takes place. Try this experiment to watch this chemical reaction.

You Will Need:srppennies

  • Dirty Pennies
  • Taco Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Small Plates
  • Masking Tape

Put some tarnished pennies in a small dish and pour taco sauce over them. Let the taco sauce sit for a few minutes and then wash the taco sauce off the pennies. How do the pennies look now? If you look at the ingredients in the taco sauce you will notice that the main ingredients are tomato paste, vinegar and salt. Which ingredient affected the tarnish on the pennies? To find out, you need to test different combinations of the ingredients. First, try to polish the pennies with just tomato paste, just salt and just vinegar. How do the pennies look? Then, try polishing the pennies in different combinations of the ingredients: tomato paste + salt, vinegar + salt and tomato paste + vinegar.  Which combination worked best?

Here are some websites that will give you good directions for this experiment and an explanation of the chemical reaction that creates the tarnish and then takes it away again:

Here are some books that will help you see other chemical reactions that polish tarnish from pennies or silver.

  • Science Experiments That Surprise and Delight: Taco Sauce Penny Cleaner (pages 60-63)
  • Science Rocks!: Spruce Up Silver (pages 41-42)
  • Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble: Not Quite the Midas Touch (Pages 20-21)
  • Mythbusters Science Fair Book – Can Cola Shine a Penny? (Pages 13-14).
That Surprise and Delight Science Rocks Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble Mythbusters Science Fair Book

Words to Know:

Chemical Reaction – A change in which a substance (or substances) is changed into one or more new substances.

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Chemical Reaction – Exploding Ziploc

Chemical Reaction – Exploding Ziploc

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In today’s experiment you will be able to watch a chemical reaction. In this experiment vinegar (a substance) and baking soda (a substance) will mix together. When mixed together the molecules of the two substances will re-arrange, or change, to make new substances.

Vinegar has acetic acid in it. The chemical name for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When you mix the two together you get sodium acetate and water. You also get carbon dioxide, which is a gas. The bag puffs up because carbon dioxide is a gas and takes up a lot of space. Eventually the bag isn’t big enough to hold all that carbon dioxide gas so it explodes.

You Will Need:

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Snack size ziploc bag
  • Quart size ziploc bag

srpziplocdogMeasure one tablespoon of  baking soda into a quart size ziploc bag. Measure 1/2 cup of vinegar into the snack size ziploc bag and zip the bag closed. Put the snack size ziploc bag full of vinegar into the quart size ziploc bag with the baking soda in it. Get as much air as possible out of the quart size bag before zipping it closed. Go outside! Stand in the middle of your yard. Grip the snack size ziploc bag from the outside of the quart size bag and pull it open. As soon as the vinegar starts to mix with the baking soda drop the bags into the grass and watch what happens.

If your bag inflates, but does not explode, try increasing the amount of baking soda and vinegar. If you do this, be sure to drop the bag quickly and take several steps away after you mix the two substances together – when the bag explodes it splashes vinegar everywhere…which does not feel good in your eyes. See the dog’s nose and eyes? Too close! And…it goes without saying to do this OUTSIDE.

srpziplocinflated1Websites that give you good directions for making exploding ziplocs.

Here are some books that give you good directions for making exploding ziplocs or other demonstrations using vinegar and baking soda to make a chemical reaction.

  • Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Make a CO2 Sandwich  (Pages 44-47)
  • Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble: Personal Puffer (Pages 14-15)
  • Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble: Soda Shooter (Pages 26-29)
  • Mythbusters Science Fair Book: Make Your Own Water Rocket (Pages 108-109)
  • Science Experiments That Implode and Explode: Plastic Bag Bomb (Pages 12-13)
Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes Science Experiments That Fizz and Bubble Mythbusters Science Fair Book Science Experiments That Explode and Implode

Words to Know:

Chemical Reaction – When a substances or substances is changed into a new substance.

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Acids – Folding Egg

Acids – Folding Egg

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Vinegar is an acid. Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate. If you soak an egg in vinegar the eggshell will absorb the acid and break down, or dissolve. The calcium carbonate will become carbon dioxide gas. What is left is the soft tissue that lined the inside of the eggshell. Today’s experiment is similar to the Bouncing Egg experiment. For this one, before you soak the egg in vinegar, you blow out the egg like you are going to decorate an Easter egg. This time, the egg will be empty when it soaks.

What You Need:

  • Egg
  • Straight Pin or Tack
  • Tall Glass
  • Vinegar

Use a stright pin or a tack to poke a small hole in both ends of raw a egg. Hold the egg over the sink and blow on one end of the egg so that the yolk and egg white drain out the hole on the other side. Once the egg is empty soak the remaining egg shell in vinegar for a week. How does the egg look when you are done soaking it? Hold the egg in your hand and fold it in half. Now let go. What does the egg do? Toss the folded egg gently back and forth between your two hands. Now what does it do?

The vinegar dissolvs the hard shell of the egg. What you have left is the soft inner membrane of the egg. It LOOKS hard and still has an egg shape but it is soft, that’s why you can fold it.  When you gently toss the egg back and forth btween your hands air enters through the two holes at either end of the egg. The egg blows back up, just like a balloon.

Here are some books websites that will help you understands acids and how they behave and the strange example of the folding eggshell:

Acids and Bases Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes

Words to Know:

Acid – A chemical that is often sour tasting and corrosive. It dissolves some things.
Dissolve – When a solid comes apart and spreads out into a liquid…like kool aid in water.
Calcium - One of the most common minerals found in animals bodies. It makes up bones, teeth, and eggshells.
Absorb – To soak up…like a sponge in water.

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Chemical Bond – Kool Aid Tie Dye

Chemical Bond – Kool Aid Tie Dye

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When the atoms in different kinds of molecules come together they can form a chemical bond. This happens when some of the electrons from each kind of atom have an attraction to each other so they stick together. In this experiment you will be able to see a chemical bond. Dye made from kool aid and vinegar will make a bond, or “stick” to the fabric of a cotton t-shirt.

srpkoolaidpartsSome chemical bonds are strong and the two substances really stick to each other. Some chemical bonds are weak. The chemical bond between kool-aid/vinegar and the t-shirt is weak. The vinegar added to the kool-aid is called a mordant. A mordant is a substance that helps dye stick to fabric. The kool-aid/vinegar dye will make a weak chemical bond so your shirt will fade over time. The chemical bond in a permanent dye is strong – shirts dyed with this kind of dye stay bright for a long time. After you practice with kool-aid, THEN try a more permanent dye.

NOTE: Even though the kool-aid/vinegar dye is weak…you should still do this OUTSIDE! The kool-aid/vinegar dye will stay on your fingers and especially your fingernails for a day or so unless you wash them really good. (So…it would also stay for awhile on your clothes or the carpet in your house!) My dog licked the bowl of blue kool-aid/vinegar dye and it turned her tongue blue. She also splashed some on her foot. The next day her tongue was not blue anymore put the fur on her paw was!

 You Will Need:srpkoolaidpour2

  • T-shirt/Sock/Towel – Anything Made From Cotton
  • Kool Aid Packets
  • Several Bowls
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Measuring Cups
  • Rubber Bands

Science Experiment Idea: Try dying three identical shirts with kool aid using different amounts of vinegar. Which mixture made the darkest color? Which mixture lasted the longest?

Website that give you good directions for Kool Aid Tie Dye:

Atoms and Molecules

Words to Know:

Atoms – The smallest, most basic unit of matter. An atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons.
Molecules - At least two atoms held together by a chemical bond.
Chemical Bonds - An attraction between atoms so that the atoms stick together. The attraction happens because the two kinds of atoms have opposite charges. Some kinds of chemical bonds are really strong and some are weak.
Mordant – a substance that is used to set dyes on fabric. It helps make the chemical link or bond so that the dye will not wash out.

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Acids – Bouncing Egg

Acids – Bouncing Egg

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Vinegar is an acid. Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate. If you soak an egg in vinegar the eggshell will absorb the acid and break down, or dissolve. The calcium carbonate will become carbon dioxide gas, which will go into the air. What is left is the soft tissue that lined the inside of the eggshell.

Science Experiment Idea: Make three bouncing eggs. Soak one egg in vinegar for 24 hours (1 day), one egg for 48 hours (2 days) and one egg for 36 hours (3 days). How do the eggs look when done soaking? How does each egg behave when you try to bounce it? Hint: BOUNCE OUTSIDE!

Here are some websites that will help you understands acids and how they behave:

Here are some books that will help you investigate bouncing eggs.

  • Google Preview: How to Make a Bouncing Egg
  • Google Preview: Science Experiments That Surprise and Delight (Bouncing Egg page 22-23)
  • Google Preview: Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes (Naked Egg page 83-87)
  • Kitchen Science Experiments: Naked Eggs (pages 45-47)
Acids and Bases That Surprise and Delight Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes Kitchen Science Experiments
How to Make a Bouncing Egg

Words to Know:

Acid – A chemical that is often sour tasting and corrosive. It dissolves some things.
Dissolve – When a solid comes apart and spreads out into a liquid…like kool aid in water.
Calcium - One of the most common minerals found in animals bodies. It makes up bones, teeth, and eggshells.
Absorb – To soak up…like a sponge in water.

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