Viral Science Experiment: Elephant Toothpaste
Our mission as an organization has always been to make students excited about learning, and it remains a top priority today. Some of the best ways we can get students invested in their learning are by getting creative in the classroom and letting our students be involved in their learning. Conducting experiments, whether as a demonstration or as a hands-on project, can do just that. Mobile Ed has a simple recipe for this classic chemistry experiment filled with ingredients you might already have in your classroom. Start amazing your students with this fascinating classroom experiment!
The reason the elephant toothpaste experiment is such a classic in our classrooms is that it’s safe, simple, and captivates students! We do this experiment because it shows us a perfect example of an exothermic reaction (and it looks pretty cool to watch!). Hydrogen peroxide naturally breaks down into oxygen and water very slowly. But when we add a catalyst (the yeast), this reaction happens much faster and releases lots of bubbles filled with oxygen! Adding some dish soap helps create more foam, which comes out looking like a big squirt of toothpaste—big enough for an elephant! We can’t forget to mention that it’s easy to clean up, too.
(Image from Wikipedia)
What You’ll Need
- An empty 16-oz plastic pop bottle
- 1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution)
- 1 Tablespoon of dry yeast
- 3 Tablespoons of warm water
- Liquid dish soap
- Small bowl
- Safety goggles
- Food coloring (optional)
What You’ll Do
- Protect your surface space by using a large tray, or be sure to place your bottle on a washable surface. Your foam will overflow out of your bottle.
- Put on those safety goggles.
- An adult can carefully pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.
- Optional: Add about 8-10 drops of food coloring into the bottle.
- After adding 1 Tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle, gently swirl the bottle around to mix up your ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine the warm water and the yeast together and mix with a spoon for 30 seconds.
- Carefully pour the yeast/water mixture into the bottle (a funnel can be used here), and watch the magic begin!
ADVANCED VERSION: Have all of your students bring in their own soda bottles and their favorite colored food dye to create their own elephant toothpaste experiments!
The Magic of Science program is one of our personal favorites that we offer at Mobile Ed! We never get over watching students’ eyes widen with wonder after they start to understand how “magical” science really is—and that it’s all around us! Through audience participation, humor, and magical demonstration, everyone in the audience will learn to become magicians by first becoming scientists!
In the Magic of Science program, students will learn about:
- Chemistry experiments they can recreate at home
- Optical illusions
- Tricks to solving math problems
- How science can be made to look like magic
Not only is our Magic of Science program one of our favorites, but it’s one of our most demanded programs across the country. We brought our Magic of Science program to Sunset Hills Extended Student Services, and here’s what they had to say:
“[The performer] was professional and kind. The kids really enjoyed the show where they learned and laughed a lot. We would highly recommend this show to other schools/organizations!"
Give us a call at 800-433-7459 with any questions you have about our programs, or browse our website to see all that Mobile Ed has to offer you and your students.
Blog post inspired by scholastic.com.