Understanding what chemistry is and how certain substances can be mixed to create a reaction is integral to learning about the world. Children have been witnessing chemistry in action since they were born. Cooking is chemistry, showering and using shampoo with water is chemistry and washing our clothes is chemistry.
The best thing about chemistry is that it's also one of the most fun sciences. Mixing different chemicals create amazing reactions that are fun to create and more fun to see the desired effect, when they work.
Here are some great chemistry projects that elementary aged students can do that will encourage an interest in this great science.
GOOEY GREEN SLIME
This easy chemistry project will teach about fluids and viscosity. Viscosity is the speed in which a fluid flows. For example certain oils or honey may flow slowly because they have a high viscosity and water flows easily because it has a low viscosity. The end result is green slime, lot's of fun for any kid's to make.
~What you need: Corn flour, water, mixing bowl, green food coloring
1) Pour some corn flour into a bowl
2) Add water slowly to the corn flour until it starts to look like a paste.
3) Add 5-8 drops of food coloring at this stage to color your slime.
4) Stir the slime really slowly.
5) Stir the slime really fast. The slime should be so thick that stirring it fast will be extremely difficult to do.
6) Slime made, now you can hit it and punch it.
This science experiment will teach the student about surface tension. Surface tension is created when the molecules in liquids are attracted, forming a "skin". For example, the surface tension of water is what allows insects to walk on its surface.
~What you need: A saucer, milk, food coloring, and detergent.
1) Fill the saucer with the milk.
2) Using the food coloring, add one drop of each color to the milk by placing a drop near the edge of the saucer.
3) Add one drop of the detergent into the center of the saucer.
You will notice that the colors begin to swirl around the saucer. The reason for this is because adding the detergent to the milk changes it's surface tension, causing it's protective "skin" to change and the detergent effects the milk.
MAKE A VOLCANO
Every childhood won't be complete unless they've attempted to make their own volcano. This is a great chemistry project as it teaches how chemical react to form a reaction.
~What you need to make the Volcano: 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups water and 4 tablespoons of oil.
~What you need to make the lava explosion: 1 empty drink bottle, red food color, detergent, baking soda and vinegar.
1) Make the base of the volcano by mixing all ingredients together. When this is complete it should be firm.
2) Mold the dough around the base of the empty drink bottle, patting upwards so that it's shaped like a volcano.
3) Add warm water to the bottle, and then the food coloring. This can be done before you mold the dough around it but be careful you don't knock it over.
4) Add a few drops of detergent to the water and color mixture.
5) Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the water mixture.
6) When ready, add the vinegar to make your volcano.
The baking soda and the vinegar causing a reaction when combined cause this chemical reaction. Carbon dioxide gas is built up inside the bottle and when the vinegar and baking soda react together, it then causes it to explode from out of the spout.
There are so many fun projects you can do that involve mixtures of various substances to learn about chemistry. In the classroom, the chemistry lab will have many chemicals available to safely create chemical reactions with teacher supervision. But the above are easy projects you can do at home and by using ingredients and objects available around the home.