SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS
LEARNING ABOUT ACIDS & BASES
In this experiment kids will learn that Acids and Bases isn't the name of a metal band
This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is one of our Animal Ambassadors and is used in public and school programs.
Most kids are familiar with the sour or tangy taste of lemon juice, and have seen a cake being made with baking soda. What they probably don’t know is that they’ve already had their first chemistry lesson in acids and bases!
In this experiment kids will learn whether certain liquids are acids or bases by using cabbage juice as an indicator. This will take some adult supervision and care for younger kids, but they’ll be excited to see the color-changing effect of acids and bases in this exploration. They’ll probably be relieved to know they don’t have to eat the cabbage once the project is finished.
- Shredded red cabbage
- Lemon juice or vinegar
- Baking soda
- Clear cups or jars
- Eyedropper or small spoon
- Hot water
THEN DO THIS:
- Put the cabbage in a pot or bowl and pour hot water to cover. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes for the color to seep into the water.
- Prepare your acid: Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice or vinegar with 1-1/2 cups of water and set aside.
- Prepare your base: Mix 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water and set aside.
- Pour the cabbage water into two cups or jars
- Using the eye dropper, place a few drops of the lemon juice or vinegar solution in one cup, and a few drops of the baking soda solution into the other cup
- Watch what happens to the color of the water!
- What did you notice when you added the acid or base to the cabbage water?
- What happens if you add acid and base solutions to the cabbage water?
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
The cabbage juice has lots of natural chemicals called anthocyanins, that occur in many foods like strawberries, blackberries and oranges. Most anthocyanins turn blue and green when mixed with bases, and pink, red or orange when mixed with acids. If you add both in appropriate amounts, they neutralize one another and the solution returns to its original purple.
WHAT THIS TEACHES:
Skills: Measurement, observation, scientific method
Themes: Chemistry, reactions, biological diversity