Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Camp- Let's Make Elephant Toothpaste!

This week at Summer Camp we’re diving into a new way to answer that classic children’s elephant joke:
         How do you fill an elephant’s tooth?” “Very quickly”
To keep our elephant out of the dentist’s chair, this week at Kid’s Korner Summer Camp edition we’re making Elephant Toothpaste with the help of Gabby.  What exactly is this time honored children’s science classic? Elephant toothpaste is the result of a chemical reaction that creates a rapid expansion of foam. It looks like a volcano of foam that produces so much foam it looks like an amount of toothpaste an elephant could use.

 Like everything found at Summer Camp, this activity can be for little of no cost with materials and supplies you probably already have on hand. 

·      16 oz. empty plastic bottle (preferably with a narrow neck)
·      ½ cup 20 volume (6 %) hydrogen peroxide (found in beauty supply stores-note 3% isn’t strong enough for this)
·      Squirt of Dawn dish soap
·      3 to 4 drops food coloring
·      1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of very warm water
·      Funnel
·      Foil cake pan with two inch sides
·      Goggles, Disposable Gloves and Smock or something to cover your clothes

1.  Set a soda pop bottle in the middle of a pan to catch the toothpaste.

2. Mix these in a separate container and swirl together for a minute.  
2 Tablespoons warm water
      1 Teaspoon yeast

3.  Mix these in your soda pop bottle:
      1/2 cup 6% hydrogen peroxide. 
      4-5 drops food coloring
      A squirt of Dawn dish soap

4.  Pour the yeast mixture into the soda pop bottle. Stand back and listen from the squeals of delight!

The Science Behind the Magic:

  • Elephant toothpaste can stain!
  • The resulting substance is called elephant toothpaste only because of its appearance. Don't put it in your mouth or swallow it.
  • The foam will overflow suddenly and quickly, Make sure you do this fun activity on a washable, stain-resistant surface, or better yet, outside and do not stand anywhere near the bottle when it foams.
  • This experiment cannot be done safely without goggles and gloves.

Why It Works-The Science Behind the Magic:
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) naturally breaks down into water (H2O) and oxygen over time. But you can speed up the process by adding a catalyst such as the enzymes found in the yeast. When the hydrogen peroxide releases a lot of oxygen at once in the presence of detergent, millions of little bubbles form quickly.  You might notice that the reaction produces  a small amount of heat. That's because the chemical process is exothermic, meaning that it releases energy.

Now the only question is, where will you find an elephant! Special thanks to Gabby and her family for allowing us to feature this wonderful up and coming scientist.  

Looking for the links on previous Summer Camps so you can relive the fun? Check out these links and keep checking back each week for more Kid’s Korner Summer Camp activities

1 comment:

  1. OHGosh, that is so cool! William loves to do "spearments" and I know he will love this! So cool!!