Fifth Graders Wrap Up Chemistry Unit by Testing Mystery Chemicals

Fifth graders have been engaged in a hands-on chemistry unit in which they have examined acids and bases through a cabbage juice experiment. “Cabbage juice is an acid and base indicator,” explains STEM teacher Eitam Kohen. “This means that when mixed with acids, like vinegar and lemon juice, the liquid turn pink or red, and when mixed with bases, like baking soda and drain cleaner, the liquid turns blue, green, or yellow.” Following the initial experiment, students gained an understanding of what types of liquids are acids and what types are bases, and are now being given mystery chemicals to test and determine what the liquids are. This lap experiment helps introduce the scientific method, which fifth graders will use often as they progress through the grades.
Adds Mr. Kohen, “I love how experiential this unit is. Students are naturally curious when liquids change colors or when powders heat up when mixed with other substances. All that’s left for me to do is help them harness this curiosity and use the scientific process as a guide to discover what natural phenomena is responsible for what they are observing. Cool stuff!”