Sink or Swim: The Cartesian Diver

In this Activity, students assemble a Cartesian diver and observe the effects of changing the pressure and temperature. An optional extension challenges students to cause the diver to hit the bottom in one minute by connecting the diver bottle to a second bottle in which baking soda and vinegar are reacted.

Acid-Base Reactions with Carbon Dioxide

In this Activity, students investigate two acid-base reactions. In the first reaction, an aqueous solution of powdered laundry detergent is neutralized with the acid formed by the dissolution of exhaled carbon dioxide. This uses the spice turmeric as an indicator. In the second reaction, vinegar and baking soda produce carbon dioxide gas.

Anthocyanins: A Colorful Class of Compounds

In this Activity, students extract anthocyanins from flower petals and other plant matter. They observe what happens when vinegar or ammonia are added to the extracts. This Activity could be used as an introduction to the study of plant pigments and the idea that specific substances are responsible for the colors of objects.

Burning to Learn: An Introduction to Flame Retardants

In this Activity, students test common household substances to see how they change the way paper burns. Strips of filter paper are soaked in saturated solutions, dried, and briefly held in a flame. The Activity demonstrates the effectiveness of flame retardants. It could be used when discussing combustion reactions or during a unit on practical or everyday chemistry.

Acid Raindrops Keep Fallin' in My Lake

In this Activity, students simulate acid rain falling on lakes by adding vinegar to bowls of water. Several of the bowls contain solids such as crushed, low-dust chalk, sand, and lime. Students determine whether the solids affect the acidity of each solution over two days by periodically removing samples of each solution for testing with red cabbage indicator.

How Big Is the Balloon? Stoichiometry Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

In this Activity, students discover the concept of stoichiometry and limiting reactants in two ways: first by adding vinegar to a small quantity of baking soda until bubbles stop, and second by mixing a constant quantity of baking soda with increasing volumes of vinegar and collecting the carbon dioxide produced in balloons. This Activity could be used in an introduction to stoichiometry.

Blueprint Photography by the Cyanotype Process

In this Activity, students prepare cyanotype paper and use it to "photograph" different items using sunlight. This Activity demonstrates catalysis of chemical reactions by ultraviolet (UV) light using one of the earliest photographic processes, the cyanotype process. It is useful as an introduction to the damaging effects of UV radiation on living organisms and the role of sunscreens.

Just Breathe: The Oxygen Content of Air

In this Activity, students determine the concentration (percent volume) of oxygen in air. They place small quantities of fine steel wool into a test tube that is then inverted in a beaker of water. Oxygen in the trapped air reacts with the iron to form rust. The Activity ties in well with atmospheric chemistry.