Since fireworks are no longer an option, you have to find some way to occupy your time on the 4th of July. I turned to my demo team and brainstormed anything we could do in the backyard at 9News for the celebration. Here’s the classic Elephant’s Toothpaste demo using hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide as the catalyst to make a red, white and blue patriotic eruption that shot up about 20 feet in the air.
We also learned that Oxiclean is the magic cleaner that will remove iodine stains from the beautifully pressed white shirt of a news anchor (thanks to Mark Koebrich for being the best Science Monday co-host in the world!)
UPDATED JULY 5, 2011 – Mark Koebrich asked photo journalist Brian Willie to share some behind-the-scenes video of this amazing eruption. Yes, everyone was wearing safety glasses. It’s important
I remember coming to the NAEYC Conference years ago and watching Steve Spangler present his hands-on science activities to a room of 50 or so early childhood educators, but those days are long gone. That intimate workshop experience in the past has given way to a ballroom packed with a few thousand teachers who are wondering what he’s going to do this time.
“I saw Steve last week on the Ellen Show and didn’t even know he was going to be at this conference,” said Shawna Dematre, a second year teacher from an early learning center outside of Nashville. “When I saw his name on the program, I wanted to come to the session to see how I can do more science experiments for my kids.”
When Steve hit the stage, the audience had already been treated to twenty minutes of simple science experiments and other video clips from Spangler’s website. Within five minutes from the start of the program, pieces of potatoes were already flying through the audience and he was setting up his main themes:
The difference between good teachers and great teachers is that the great ones know how to create unforgettable learning experiences.
The Genie in the Bottle experiment is a special effects secret used by the movie industry. It’s not really a secret, it’s science.
**This experiment is not intended to do at home. Your chemistry teacher is a great resource to demonstrate this reaction. The hydrogen peroxide used is 30% and can irritate the eyes and throat.
This experiment uses two compounds – hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide. The hydrogen peroxide is made up of water and oxygen (H2O2). The peroxide decomposes and releases the oxygen molecules as it breaks down. The manganese dioxide (MnO2) is used as a catalyst to tear apart the H2O2 molecules.
The secret to releasing the genie is to hang the manganese dioxide on a string above the hydrogen peroxide in a bottle. When the cork is pulled, the string drops into the liquid and starts the reaction. The reaction is gaseous oxygen propelling tiny