Chemistry Experiments for Kids

We've had a fabulous year with our Chemistry studies - following The Well-Trained Mind format and adding in lots of fun experiments with a Magic School Bus kit. Read more about how we studied in this post: Chemistry for Elementary Students. Below are some of the fun chemistry experiments that TJ did:

Experiment: Sticky Ice

Last week was our introduction to third grade science. We are focusing on chemistry this year. TJ looked over the experiment cards, played with her new tools, and we did a few definition pages. This week TJ did the first two experiments on her own. Using some salt and ice cubes, she learned that salt will melt ice. The second experiment didn't work as well - she couldn't get the string to stick to the ice. That didn't seem to phase her a bit, though. She had so much fun that she took her supplies to the sink and played some more.

When she finished her experiments she filled out her experiment form. I helped her a bit with wording and spelling, but she did all the writing entirely on her own. She also had two definitions to work on this week: periodic table and dilute.

Overall, I'd say that our first week of chemistry was quite successful!

Sticky Ice!

Experiment: Solids & Liquids

Measuring her ingredients

This week's focus was on the states of matter - TJ combined cornstarch and water in a petri dish and discovered that the combination of the two is not quite a solid and not quite a liquid. Next week she'll read a few book and watch a video or two about the topic.

This week she completed her experiment form without any help from me. (Yay for independence! Me? I'm learning to deal with the mess!) She also added three definitions to her science dictionary this week: mixture, solid, and liquid. She still needs a bit of help in finding the words in the dictionary - usually because she's skimming the page too quickly and missing the words she's looking for.

Messy, gooey, mixture of cornstarch and water

Acids & Bases:

TJ learned about acids and bases this past week. Using red and blue litmus paper she learned that vinegar is acidic and baking soda is not. After that, she wanted to test everything in the house and compare them to her results with the vinegar and baking soda. I limited her to three tests and she chose to test dish soap, milk, and lemon juice (and she guessed correctly that lemon juice was an acid).

Testing acids and bases

She filled out an experiment form completely on her own with no help from me and did a great job. (I'm loving that this subject is becoming independent!)  Then she looked up her science definitions for: acid, base, neutral, and litmus paper.

Experiment Page

Chemistry: pH, Acids & Bases

TJ learned more about acids and bases this week - she tested the pH of baking soda and vinegar (and mixed a bit of baking soda and vinegar together to see what would happen) using pH paper. She used a pH chart to determine the pH of each substance. (I imagine that she will be asking to test more substances for their pH level in the coming days.)

Testing the pH of baking soda

I pulled out the Usborne Science Encyclopedia and we looked at the pages on acids, bases, and pH. She learned that bases are also known as alkalis and that, if you are stung by a wasp (it injects an alkali), you can neutralize it with vinegar (an acid). That's what I call useful science!

Measuring out the supplies

Besides spelling vinegar wrong throughout her experiment form, (and wasn't too thrilled that she had to correct it) she did very well with the experiment page. She also added a few more definitions to her science notebook (pH, hydrogen, and neutral).

Experiment: Copper Plating

This week TJ learned about copper plating.

She measured out some vinegar and added it, along with some salt, to a petri dish.

Then she added a handful of pennies to the mixture and let them sit for 15 minutes.

After the pennies had soaked for awhile,

she took them out and and put a piece of iron in the petri dish.

She left it to sit for one hour but didn't see much of a change.

So she left it in the mixture for a few more hours,

checking on it periodically to watch the gradual change.

Below, you can see that the iron is no longer a shiny silver color,

but has picked up some copper from the pennies.

Experiment: What happens when you combine vinegar and baking soda?

TJ is fully aware of what happens when you combine vinegar and baking soda but that didn't stop her from being very excited about combining them again!  She did three experiments last week using baking soda, vinegar, some balloons, and various science tools.

I love that this Magic School Bus kit explains the "why" of the experiments in simple terms - TJ can easily read and understand without much explanation from me. She learned about carbon dioxide from her experiments and added it to her science dictionary.

I also love that she's old enough to clean up after herself when she's finished!

Experiment: Surface Tension

This week TJ learned about the surface tension of water. She's done a few experiments in the past - floating a needle on top of the water, etc. so the idea of surface tension isn't a new one for her. Still, give her an hour to "play chemistry" and she has a great time!

Measuring out the pepper

This was a fairly quick experiment - she put some water in a petri dish, added a few spoonfuls of pepper and saw how most of them floated along the top. Then she touched the surface of the water with a bar of soap and watched the pepper scatter. Then she tried it with liquid dish soap to see if that would have the same effect.

Hmmm.... I wonder what's gonna happen?

Afterwards, she completed her experiment page and looked up the definition of surface tension. Since it was a fairly quick experiment I let her do the next experiment - cleaning a dirty penny with a mixture of vinegar and salt.

Experiment: How many drops of water will a penny hold?

This week TJ did 2 more experiments - she learned more about surface tension and the bond between water molecules. Her second experiment involved making a small clay boat and floating it in a bowl of water. For her first experiment, she used a pipette to add drops of water to the top of a penny to see how many drops it could hold.  Any guesses?

She was able to add 16 drops of water to the penny before the surface tension broke. After that, she added a bit of soap to the top of the other penny and learned that the soap kept the water molecules from bonding as they had on the other penny and she was only able to add 4 drops.

Experiment: Bubbles!

'Bubbles' was the theme of the week for TJ's chemistry study. She worked on three experiments using water, dish soap, and various chemistry supplies. She started making just simple bubbles with water and a straw. Then she added some dish soap to the water and made some bubble sculptures.

Bubble sculptures

The best part of the experiment was adding a funnel to the end of the straw and making giant bubbles. These simple experiments have given TJ a solid understanding of water and surface tension.  Who ever said science couldn't be fun?

Working on a giant bubble!

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.