Home-made Lava Lamps

Hello all future scientists! Here is a lovely simple science lesson that involves making your own home-made lava lamp – Enjoy! 🙂

Materials

  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer (Please make sure you are fully supervising any children taking part in this investigation – Alka seltzer is NOT TO BE EATEN! It is a form of medication and should ABSOLUTELY NEVER be left alone with any children)

Instructions

  1. Pour water into the plastic bottle until it is around one quarter full (you might want to use a funnel when filling the bottle so you don’t spill anything).
  2. Pour in vegetable oil until the bottle is nearly full.
  3. Wait until the oil and water have separated.
  4. Add two or three drops of food coloring to the bottle (choose any color you like).
  5. Watch as the food coloring falls through the oil and mixes with the water.
  6. Cut an Alka-Seltzer tablet into smaller pieces (around 5 or 6) and drop one of them into the bottle, things should start getting a little crazy, just like a real lava lamp!
  7. When the bubbling stops, add another piece of Alka-Seltzer and enjoy the show!

Why did this happen?

The food coloring falls through the oil and mixes with the water at the bottom. The piece of Alka-Seltzer tablet you drop in after releases small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the top and take some of the colored water along for the ride. The gas escapes when it reaches the top and the colored water falls back down.

Have Fun!

Leah x

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