Elephant Toothpaste Experiment

A Fun Experiment for the Little Scientists in Your Life

Ever wonder what elephant toothpaste would be like? I have not, but silly young boys might! That’s what makes this science experiment so fun!

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Things you will need:

  • Safety glasses (boys get hurt enough!)
  • Lab Smock (‘Nuff said)
  • Foil cake pan for an easier cleanup
  • 16 oz. empty plastic soda bottle
  • 1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide
  • A squirt of dish detergent
  • A few drops of blue food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon yeast dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water
  • Funnel

Steps of the experiment:

  1. Have your boys put their safety goggles and smock on (correctly :P!) and give them a cake pan, a plastic bottle, dish detergent in a small cup, food coloring, ½ cup of peroxide, and the yeast mixture.
  2. Have the boys put the bottle upright in the center of the cake pan with the funnel in the opening.
  3. Add the few drops of blue food coloring to the peroxide and pour them into the bottle through the funnel.
  4. Explain to your boys that a water (H2O) molecule and a peroxide (H2O2) molecule will have a reaction so that one of the oxygen atoms will be set free. Use pictures or diagrams, or whatever you have to make this explanation easier.
  5. Add the detergent to the peroxide in the bottle and pour the yeast mixture into the bottle, removing the funnel quickly.
  6. Watch the elephant toothpaste shoot out of the bottle and into the pan!

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Having your boys observe:

Tell them to explain what they are seeing (it will look like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube). Let them touch the foam, as it is safe since it’s just the water, soap, and oxygen! Depending on how old they are you can explain that it is an exothermic reaction, so the bottle will be warm to the touch. Additionally you may explain that yeast acted as a catalyst (a chemical that accelerates a chemical reaction without changing itself), because it helped the peroxide release the oxygen atom more quickly.

 

Written by Canisius College Marketing Student, Jacklyn Steffen.

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