By figuring out how to change the speed a reaction takes place as well as what gets created in the process, you can get a better handle at creating the things you want. We’re going to learn why fish don’t drown, create glowing slime, turn water into ink you can really write with, make a solution that appears by breathing on it, how to create rubber-like bouncy balls out of clear liquid, shake up a rainbow of colors, learn how to get a lemon to light up a light bulb, and discover what fire really is made of.


Why study chemistry? Baking is chemistry. Cars use chemistry to zip down the street. Your body converts food into energy using chemistry. Everything you see, touch, taste, and smell is a chemical.


Studying chemistry is like peeking under the hood of a racecar – you know you put gas in and it goes, but that’s all you can tell from the outside. Chemistry gets you into the inner workings on the molecular level. Are you ready? This video will get you started on the right foot for your study into chemical kinetics:


It all comes down to controlling the reaction and figuring out what you want to get out of the process. Are you ready? You can get started by watching this video, and afterward either read more about it or start your experiments!


Scientific Concepts:

  • Different indicators are used for specific ranges of acids and bases. Phenolphthalein changes from clear to pink when added to a base.
  • Splitting the water molecule into parts (hydrogen and oxygen) requires power (electrolysis) to break the bonds.
  • Thin layers of metal can be moved from one object to another using the electroplating technique.
  • Chemists want to control the speed of a reaction as well as what gets generated from the process (the products of the reaction).
  • Several factors affect the speed of a chemical reaction, including catalysts, surface area, temperature, and concentration.
  • Polymers are long chains of slippery molecules. Coagulation happens when you cross-linking the chains into a fishnet-looking design.


Select a Lesson

Special Science Teleclass: Chemistry
This is a recording of a recent live teleclass I did with thousands of kids from all over the world. I’ve included it here so you can participate and learn, too! (Click here if you’re looking for the more recent version that also includes Chemical Engineering.) When you think of slime, do you imagine slugs, …
How to Not Burn Your Eyeballs and Lose Your Fingers
Chemical Data & Safe Handling Information Sheet What do I really need to know first? First of all, the chemicals in this set should be stored out of reach of pets and children. Grab the chemicals right now and stuff them in a safe place where accidents can’t happen. Do this NOW! When you’re done …
Bouncy Ball
This is one of those ‘chemistry magic show’ type of experiments to wow your friends and family. Here’s the scoop: you take a cup of clear liquid, add it to another cup of clear liquid, stir for ten seconds, and you’ll see a color change, a state change from liquid to solid, and you can …
Glowing Slime
When you think of slime, do you imagine slugs, snails, and puppy kisses? Or does the science fiction film The Blob come to mind? Any way you picture it, slime is definitely slippery, slithery, and just plain icky — and a perfect forum for learning real science. But which ingredients work in making a truly …
Turning Water into Wine
Phenolphthalein is a weak, colorless acid that changes color when it touches acidic (turns orange) or basic (turns pink/fuchsia) substances. People used to take it as a laxative (not recommended today, as ingesting high amounts may cause cancer). Use gloves when handling this chemical, as your skin  can absorb it on contact. I’ll show you …
Turning Water into Ink
You can use this as real ink by using it BEFORE you combine them together like this: dip a toothpick into the first solution (sodium ferrocyanide solution) and with the tip write onto a sheet of paper. While the writing is drying, dip a piece of paper towel int other solution (ferric ammonium sulfate solution) …
Hot Liquids and Cool Solids
Dissolving calcium chloride is highly exothermic, meaning that it gives off a lot of heat when mixed with water (the water can reach up to 140oF, so watch your hands!). The energy released comes from the bond energy of the calcium chloride atoms, and is actually electromagnetic energy. When you combine the calcium chloride and …
Elephant Toothpaste
I mixed up two different liquids (potassium iodide and a very strong solution of hydrogen peroxide) to get a foamy result at a live workshop I did recently. See what you think! Note: because of the toxic nature of this experiment, it’s best to leave this one to the experts. Nurses will put hydrogen peroxide …
What is Fire?
What state of matter is fire? Is it a liquid? I get that question a LOT, so let me clarify. The ancient scientists (Greek, Chinese… you name it) thought fire was a fundamental element. Earth, Air Water, and Fire (sometimes Space was added, and the Chinese actually omitted Air and substituted Wood and Metal instead) …
Decomposing Hydrogen Peroxide
This experiment below is for advanced students. If you’ve ever wondered why hydrogen peroxide comes in dark bottles, it’s because the liquid reacts with sunlight to decompose from H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) into H2O (water) and O2 (oxygen). If you uncap the bottle and wait long enough, you’ll eventually get a container of water (although this …
Taking the Salt out of the Ocean
This experiment is for advanced students.Have you ever taken a gulp of the ocean? Seawater can be extremely salty! There are large quantities of salt dissolved into the water as it rolled across the land and into the sea. Drinking ocean water will actually make you thirstier (think of eating a lot of pretzels). So …
Fruit Battery
This experiment shows how a battery works using electrochemistry. The copper electrons are chemically reacting with the lemon juice, which is a weak acid, to form copper ions (cathode, or positive electrode) and bubbles of hydrogen. These copper ions interact with the zinc electrode (negative electrode, or anode) to form zinc ions. The difference in …
Electroplating
If you don’t have equipment lying around for this experiment, wait until you complete Unit 10 (Electricity) and then come back to complete this experiment. It’s definitely worth it! Electroplating was first figured out by Michael Faraday. The copper dissolves and shoots over to the key and gets stuck as a thin layer onto the …
Iodine Rainbow
This is the experiment that your audience will remember from your chemistry magic show. Here’s what happens – you call up six ‘helpers’ and hand each a seemingly empty test tube. Into each test tube, pour a little of the main gold-colored solution, say a few magic words, and their test tubes turn clear, black, …
Iodine Clock Reaction
First discovered in 1886 by Hans Heinrich Landolt, the iodine clock reaction is one of the best classical chemical kinetics experiments. Here’s what to expect:  Two clear solutions are mixed. At first there is no visible reaction, but after a short time, the liquid suddenly turns dark blue. Usually, this reaction uses a solution of …
What do I do with Ammonium Chloride?
So this is probably the last chemical in your set you haven’t used… I had to really dig into my ‘bag of tricks’ to find something suitable for you to practice with. Ammonium chloride is found near volcanoes and coal mines, as glue for plywood, in hair shampoo, in the electronics industry in solder, and …
Rusty Balloon
Mars is coated with iron oxide, which not only covers the surface but is also present in the rocks made by the volcanoes on Mars. Today you get to perform a chemistry experiment that investigates the different kinds of rust and shows that given the right conditions, anything containing iron will eventually break down and …
Dinosaur Toothpaste
Hydrogen peroxide is used to fuel rockets, airplanes, and other vehicle engines. Chemistry teachers everywhere use it to demonstrate the power of a catalyst. To speed up a reaction without altering the chemistry of the reaction involves adding a catalyst. A catalyst changes the rate of reaction but doesn’t get involved in the overall chemical …