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Student Organization: AIChE
Title of Activity Homemade Lava Lamps
Content of Subject Area Fluid properties, attraction forces, reactions
Length of Video 10-15 minutes
Duration of Activity ~20 minutes


General Objectives

To discover and observe the basic scientific principles of density and polarity through the creation of a lava lamp.

Learning Outcomes

What do you want students to know and be able to do?

What knowledge, skills, strategies, and attitudes do you expect students to gain?

What important math/science and engineering or computer science applications will students learn?

What are the safety protocols you should take.

Describe how a lava lamp works in scientific language

Be able to connect observations to scientific principles

Density and Polarity are fundamental principles applied everyday in chemical engineering

goggles, apron or old clothes, towels to immediately clean spills

Materials and Resources

1) Flask, tall glass or jar
2) Vegetable oil
3) water
4) Food Coloring
5) Alka-Seltzer tablets


Instructional Procedures


1) fill flask most of the way w/ vegetable oil
2) Fill the rest of the flask with water
Stop and Observe the water going to the bottom

Key Question:
Why do you think the water and oil do not mix when we put them together?

3) Add drops of food coloring. Food coloring is water based so it sinks too
4) Break an alka seltzer tablet into a few pieces. and drop into the flask one by one. Stop and Observe

Key Questions:
What did the alka seltzer tablet do?

- Mention reactions happening. Key question one introduces density. Key Question 2 introduces simple polarity
- Mention simple example of both of these principles in the context of engineering


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