"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

04 January 2016

Science Club: Acids and Bases

This month's science club was all about acids and bases. Before the children arrived, I made sure to have the following items on hand:

  • craft sticks for stirring
  • clear plastic cups (6-8 per child)
  • a Ph chart for each child
  • lots of paper towels for cleanup
  • masking tape and markers for labeling the cups
  • two pitchers for the cabbage juice
  • a variety of test materials - lemon juice, Alka-Seltzer tablets, baking soda, citrus-flavored soda, clear-colored shampoo, clear dish soap, etc. I avoided the ammonia, bleach, and HCl I've seen suggested elsewhere since there are a lot of young children who come to my science club

When the kids arrived, I explained what we were doing, and then showed them a video of the Sci Guys explaining how Ph works. Then we did our experiment. I had purchased some red cabbage extract so I could make as much cabbage juice as needed, so I (along with a few parents whom I asked to help) poured 5 or so glasses of cabbage juice per child, then led them through the first two or three substances, showing them how to add a substance and to figure out, based on the color change, whether that substance was an acid or a base. After that, I mostly circulated throughout the tables, making sure kids had the materials they needed and making comments on what they discovered. Kids were more than happy to pour more substances into the cabbage juice, or combine substances, or whatnot. Several children used their Ph charts to note which substances were acidic and which were basic, and they took the charts home with them. Overall, it was a successful science club with only a few spills and a pretty easy cleanup. 

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