Chemistry and Art. This year I have been teaching a high school art elective, where we do chemistry experiments with an art twist.
This science experiment uses ingredients common in every kitchen (well, except for the cabbage part – we aren’t cabbage eaters, had to buy that).
AND… kept the attention of 3 year olds and 14 year olds!
Items Needed to make the Test Sheets:
- Red Cabbage (yes, it *has* to be red).
- Viva (or any super tough) paper towels. Regular ones disintegrate.
Chop the cabbage and boil it. We filled out crockpot, plugged it in outside – the smell is something else – filled it with water, and came back after a couple of hours.
Strain the cabbage out. You should have dark purple dye remaining. Soak the paper towels in the dye. Hang them to dry in a place where they won’t be disturbed (and is generally chemical-free – i.e. not in the laundry room if you are like me and store cleaners in there).
When the towels dry you they should have a very faint, uniform purple color.
Doing the pH test:
Is it Acid, or is it Base?
We collected a “buffet” of items from our kitchens to do the test. We had slices of grapefruit, potato water, pancake syrup, solutions of baking powder, baking soda, borax and laundry detergent. We had containers of vinegar, lime juice, apple juice, milk of magnesium, tummy antacid, vitamin C pills, two different brands of toothpaste, dish soap, windex and more.
The kids took one drop from the various solutions and dripped them onto their paper towel “test sheet”.
The more acid that was in the solution, the brighter the red/pink. And if a solution was alkaline (or base) it would leave a blue green color…
Doesn’t it look cool??
The kids had a lot of fun mixing the chemicals too – when they dropped an acid and a base in the same spot they would cancel each other out, leaving a yellow “hole”.
Warning: This is a very stinky science experiment. Make sure that your testing area is well ventilated. AND as you are dripping chemicals onto the sheet, make sure that your children are old enough to follow directions and not eat the test samples. We did this with preschoolers, and they did well, but they needed to be well supervised.