Chemistry Whizz Kid!

Today we've enjoyed conducting some science experiments using a kitchen science kit that my sister bought the kids for Christmas. Each experiment requires certain apparatus from the kit as well as common kitchen ingredients.

Vinegar rocket 

The theory behind this is as follows. A chemical reaction takes place when the acidic vinegar is mixed with the alkaline baking soda to produce carbon dioxide. With no where for the carbon dioxide to escape inside the launch pad, the pressure builds up and eventually gets so great that the launch pad propels the rocket up into the sky. 

This was definitely our favourite experiment. First we set up an area outside by laying some newspaper down, this would be out launch site. Next we collected all the items and laid them out on the table. With some help from me, Jenson then followed the step by step instructions. 

First, Jenson put 2ml of vinegar into the launch pad. A Nurofen syringe worked very well for measuring!

Using the small spoon provided with the kit, Jenson next put a small spoonful of baking soda into the hole at the bottom of the rocket. He carefully removed the excess baking soda from around the edge of the rocket so that the baking soda just filled up the bottom cavity. 

Jenson then inserted the rocket into the launch pad. He shook it gently three times.

Quickly, Jenson placed the rocket and the launch pad onto the newspaper on the floor and stood back. The rocket shot off into the air!! It was great fun. We repeated the exercise about four times! 

Table Top Volcano

The theory behind this experiment is that when the vinegar and the baking soda are mixed together, a chemical reaction takes place that produces carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide escapes from the volcano in the form of bubbles. When all the carbon dioxide has escaped into the air, the solution becomes flat and the volcano stops 'erupting'. 

Before we could begin this test we first had to repair the damage Jenson had inflicted on the volcano after he had poked it a little too hard and put a massive hole in it! 

Next we placed the volcano on a large tray and covered the table in old newspaper. Jenson put two teaspoonfuls of baking soda into the volcano.

Next he added a few drops of washing up liquid and red food colouring, which would make the 'lava' look more dramatic. The washing up liquid would slow down the eruption and make the volcano foam. 

Next Jenson slowly poured a teaspoonful of vinegar into the volcano and watched it erupt with 'bubbly lava'. Another fun experiment using some very basic kitchen items.

Fruit Battery

The idea behind this are that the forks act like the positive electrodes of a battery. They are plated with a metal which is less reactive than the zinc plates provided with the kit. When the forks and zinc plates are inserted into the lemon, (we used an orange) a chemical reaction took place. Electrons, (extremely small particles with negative charge) move from the zinc plates to the forks to form a current, thus activating the LCD watch. The orange juice helps to conduct electricity. You could also have used a potato, grape fruit or soft drinks to see what effect this would have.

First Jenson connected the red wire on the LCD watch to a fork and the black wire to a zinc plate. He secured the wires in place with adhesive tape. 

Next Jenson got another fork and zinc plate and connected them with the white connection wire using more tape. He then inserted the forks and zinc plates into the orange halves that he had cut. 

With the forks and zinc plates inserted, the LCD watch became activated and started to blink. Not quite as exciting as firing a rocket but Jenson still found it interesting. There are a couple more experiments in the kit we haven't done yet but Jenson has a pretty short attention span and these ones alone took an hour and a half. I'll update this post with the others when we do them.