If you are looking for simple science experiments that require few ingredients and yield results in less than 48 hours, look no further than your kitchen. Chances are, you already have the makings for a quick chemistry lesson sitting in your cupboards. See what scientific wonders you can glean from these common household items.
Eggs and Vinegar
You'll need a few raw eggs, vinegar and a container big enough to allow for space between the eggs. Place the eggs in the container so they are not touching and submerge the eggs entirely in vinegar. Cover the container and refrigerate the eggs for 24 hours. Change the vinegar the next day. Is the shell dissolving? This is because the acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate shell and releases the carbonate from the calcium. Drain the vinegar while leaving the eggs in the container. Pour fresh vinegar over the eggs, submerging them entirely. Cover the container and refrigerate again. In less than two days, you should see the shell has completely dissolved with the membrane untouched, holding the inside of the egg intact.
Sprouting is a natural science experiment. Sunflower seeds sprout in less than two days. Soak 1 cup of raw, hulled (shelled) sunflower seeds in a jar of lukewarm purified water for six hours. Drain the seeds and rinse them in lukewarm water. Place the seeds in a bowl lined with a moist paper towel or cloth, and cover the bowl with a moist towel or cloth for another 24 hours. Gently rinse and turn your sprouts. You should see little tails growing from the protective layer of the seed called the testa. The tail emerging from the seed coat is called an epicotyl. The cotyledon is the nutritional center of the seed. Draw a diagram of what you see.
Borax crystals grow overnight. You'll need a wide-mouthed jar, flexible pipe cleaners, a string, a tablespoon, a pencil, boiling water and some Borax 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster, found in the cleaning section of most grocery stores. Bend the pipe cleaner into any shape and attach it to the pencil with a string. Fit the pipe cleaner and string to the jar's proportions so the pipe cleaner shape can dangle, attached to the pencil, into the jar without touching the sides or the bottom of the jar.
Set the pipe cleaner aside and fill the jar with boiling water. Add 3 tablespoons of borax for every cup of water, but add them one tablespoon at a time, stirring to dissolve the borax between each tablespoon. When the water solution becomes saturated, borax crystals will start to settle on the bottom. Place your pipe cleaner and string into the borax with the pencil resting across the mouth of the jar. The expanded state of the hot water provides an environment for more borax crystals to dissolve, but as the liquid cools and the water evaporates, the crystals move together and build on each other. Borax crystals should form in less than 24 hours.
Lemon Juice and a Copper Penny
Take 10 similarly colored copper pennies and drop them a glass jar of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Tape a similarly colored penny to the outside of the jar. Take a penny out of the solution every hour and shine it with a dish towel. The citric acid in the lemon juice reacts with the copper coating on the penny that has become oxidized over time. The bubbles during the process are the oxygen being released from the copper coating. Line your pennies up to compare their color, from least soaked to longest soaked. How long did it take for a complete breakdown of the copper oxide coating?