March 1st, 2024

Science Smarts: Fun with household ‘chemicals’

By Patty Rooks on December 9, 2023.

All I can say is it is “beginning to look a lot like Christmas” around here!

It is wonderful to see so many people in the Holiday spirit. Trees in front yards are decorated with twinkling lights, giant snowman inflatables to dancing reindeer are everywhere – I absolutely love it! As I think of the upcoming Holiday break, I am trying to incorporate a bit of learning and science into the fun we will be having in our household. This activity is one to help polish up those chemistry skills. Let’s get started!

*An adult must help you with this experiment.

Materials

– Sucrose

– Concentrated liquid sucrose

– Potassium tartrate

– Lactose

– Food colouring

– Oil of peppermint

– Saucepan

– Measuring cups

– Measuring spoons

– Heat source

-Candy thermometer

– Aluminum foil

– Stirring utensils

Procedure

1. Decipher the list of “chemicals” you have. Do not be discouraged. They are really easy, and I am pretty certain many of you have them in your kitchen already!

– sucrose = table sugar

– concentrated liquid sucrose = clear corn syrup

– potassium tartrate = cream of tartar

– lactose = milk

2. Measure 60 mL (1/4 cup) of sugar. Add to the saucepan.

3. Measure 8 mL (1 ½ tsp) milk. Add to the saucepan.

4. Measure 10 mL (2 tsp) clear corn syrup and 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) cream of tartar. Add both to the saucepan.

5. Stirring often, heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 93 C (200 F).

6. Once you reach the temperature, remove from the heat and cover for 2 minutes.

7. Return to the heat and stir until it reaches 116ËšC (240ËšF) or sometimes called the soft ball stage.

8. Remove from heat and add a couple of drops of peppermint oil.

9. Stir carefully, it is hot!

10. Pour the mixture in drops on the foil. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Explanation

Did you know you eat “chemicals” all of the time. We are just use to calling things by their much simpler or common name. Do you remember the last time you asked someone to pass you the sodium chloride at the table at supper time? You likely asked someone to pass the salt!

I hope you had so much fun doing this activity that you did not even realize you were doing a chemistry experiment. This quick and easy (not to mention delicious) science activity can easily be pulled together with some simple ingredients you can find in your kitchen. Try investigation other “chemicals” you can find in your kitchen. For instance sodium bicarbonate – any guesses? Have fun exploring your kitchen!

If you are looking for more ideas, always visit our website for past hands on activities as they are quick and easy to gather up the materials for!

Patty Rooks, Senior Scientific Consultant PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community”. Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook. Address: #12 826 11 Street S. E., Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1A 1T7 Phone: 403-527-5365, email: praxis@praxismh.ca.

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