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Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Indoor $
Chemistry, Density

Activity Overview

Learn how to make a lava lamp with this fun science experiment for budding scientists of all ages. In this experiment, you will use materials that you more than likely have on hand at home right now to create chemical reactions which cause colorful balls to move about and resemble an actual lava lamp.

Explore the wonders of the world of density. The water and the oil separate from each other because water is more dense than oil. 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 creating a fascinating display.

Materials Needed

  • Water
  • A clear plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Alka-Seltzer Tablets

How to Make It

  1. Pour water into the plastic bottle until it is around one quarter full.
  2. Pour in vegetable oil until the bottle fills up and is nearly full.
  3. Wait until the oil and water have separated.
  4. Add around a dozen drops of food coloring of your choice to the bottle.
  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. Observe the activity inside the bottle which is just like a real lava lamp.
  7. When the bubbling action ceases, simply add another Alka-Seltzer tablet.

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