Inspired by, Be Cool Grandpa
“The emission of light as result a of a chemical reaction.
Time: set up - gather chemicals, glow sticks and beakers or glass jars
Activities: 4 plus
Skill level: medium to difficult - Adult supervision. It will require some house hold, common chemicals.
Materials to get started:
Spoon (non porous)
A packet of glow sticks - Amazon link
Sharp knife (adult supervision)
Cutting pliers - Amazon link or home building
(3) Small beakers or glass jars
30% Hydrogen Peroxide (beauty supply store)
Sodium Bicarbonate (It’s Baking Soda)
Let’s Get Started:
Activity 1 - Dissecting the Glow Sticks (IMPORTANT: An adult should do this step!)
Step 1. Prepare your work area in a place where it won’t damage any wood or porous surface area.
Step 2. Put on your eye protection and plastic gloves.
Step 3. Take (2) glow sticks, and with a sharp knife carefully, and slowly, cut the top off the plastic glow sticks. You will need to start your cut above the inner/color glass tube. Be careful not to break the inner/color glass tube. When you start cutting, will notice some of the hydrogen peroxide solution start to leak from the top plastic tub. That’s okay, because you will supplement part of this solution using your supply of hydrogen peroxide. Use some paper towels and wipe up the solution then dispose of it in the garbage.
Step 4. Carefully, pour the remaining hydrogen peroxide solution of both glow sticks into the small beaker or jar. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you pour the solution, the inner glass vile will start to drop out of the plastic tube. Catch the glass vile and be careful not to brake the glass!
Step 5. Remove and dispose of the outer plastic tube.
Step 6. It’s time to work with the inner/color glass tubes. Again, an adult should do this step!
Step 7. The glass tubes are very fragile, so handle with care. Take a paper towel and wrap it around the glass tube, making sure you cover one of the ends. With the covered tube held vertically, or upright, you will take the cutting pliers and gently brake the top of the glass tube making sure you are cutting the top you have covered with the paper towel.
Step 8. Slowly uncover the glass tube. Don’t cut yourself, and pour the color solution in a beaker or glass jar and dispose of the glass tube and paper towel in the garbage.
Step 9. You now have two jars with a small amount of fluid, the outer/clear, hydrogen peroxide solution in one jar and the inner/color solution in another jar.
Activity 2 - Flow the Glow
Now that you’ve done the dissecting of the glow sticks, let’s have some fun.
It’s fun to do this activity with mixing the different colors together. Take a red and a yellow and make a orange, etc.
Step 1. In the jar with the clear hydrogen peroxide solution, you need to supplement it with 5ml of the 30% hydrogen peroxide to the beaker/jar.
Step 2. In the color solution jar, add 1 teaspoon of the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and dissolve it in the color solution. The sodium bicarbonate will act as a binder and create additional pop to the glow.
Step 3. Lets create a chemical reaction and make some light. First, put on your gloves and eye protection and dim the lights or go into a room that is dark.
Step 4. Get the glass bowl and put it on a solid surface. Take in one hand the jar with the hydrogen peroxide solution and, in the other hand, the jar with the color solution. Slowly pour them together into the bowl and watch the bright light glow.
Step 5. With your spoon, slowly stir the chemicals around. You will notice some separation of the colors as the color solution binds with the sodium bicarbonate. The sodium bicarbonate portion will be brighter and can look like stars.
Step 6. When the chemicals come together they are now safe to wash down the drain with some running water.
Activity 3 - Let’s kick it WAY up.
For this activity you will need to dissect 10 to 15 glow sticks and follow the “Let’s Get Started” steps. It will take some time but well worth it for the “WOW” factor.
You’ll also need some additional materials. These include a clear funnel, some plastic tubing, a brace to hold the tubing and a glass container to catch the solution. And don’t forget to use your camera and video your hard work. It’s pretty cool to see it flow in slow motion.
Step 1. In the jar with the clear hydrogen peroxide solution, you need to supplement it with 100ml of the 30% hydrogen peroxide to the jar.
Step 2. In the color solution jar, add 2 tablespoons of the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and dissolve it in the color solution. You should have about 75ml to 100ml of the solution.
Step 3. With the solution jars ready, get the camera ready to video, dim the lights and pour the solution in the funnel. It’s amazing to see how bright it becomes. You will want to watch the video to catch the details and show your family and friends.
Step 4. Dispose of the solution by pouring it down the drain and wash it out with soapy water.
I know this activity takes a lot of work and you will go through a whole bunch of glow sticks. But it’s worth it to show your grandkids. This has the WOW factor that everyone will love.
It’s just a fun way to get the kids involved. My challenge is for you to think of different ways you can tweak this activity for your liking.
Have fun and be cool grandpa!