frodi Registered User

Can anyone here suggest some interesting experiments (or web sites with experiments) that I could carry out at home for my 11 year old. he got a chemisrty set for xmas and frankly most of the experiments in it are tame, (too tame for some one used to the instant gratification of a PS2 & a fan of Brainiacs)
I have reasonable knowledge of science (BSc 23 years ago).
The chemicals in the set are Copper Sulphate (CuSO4.5H2O), Iron Sulphate (FeSO4.& H2O), Tartaric acid (C4H6O6), Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2), Sodium Carbonate (NaCO3), Potasium Iodide (KI), Potasium Hexacyanoferrate (K4Fe(CN)6.3H2O) and Magnesuim.
I know that I can use vinegar & lemon juice as acids and baking soda as a alkali or caustic soda as a stronger alkali.

Thanks in adv


Have a look in a leaving cert chemisty book..

Chemistry by it's nature is dangerous - we are basically a bunch of chemicals. So you should do them interactively rather than letting him "play" with the set. - out of curiousuity what sort of hazard data came with it.

colour changes might be good - and the fizzing of CO2 is also good

copper sulphate - (toxic and stains things etc) grow crystals - put a nail in a test tube of it and the nail gets a copper plating and the colour changes from blue to green, electro plating a nail or something - put some in a oven to dehydrate it and see the colour dissapear (in a throw away dish) and let it sit in the air for a long time to get it back - if you use an innamiate carbon rod (centre of an old battery) and keep the current on afterwards you might be able to get all the copper out and start electrolysis of water

KI - starch test - where it makes that dark blue colour - if you can find a titration with it even better - nice the way the colour changes from black back to white with a single drop

you could try making oxygen with pond weed and doing the glowing splint trick

caustic soda - nasty stuff - defo not for 11 year olds - adding it to hot water will cause the water to boil so much is given off and when you get some on your hands you don't feel your fingerprints for about a week , it turns the oils/fats in your skin into soap etc.. - you could demonstrate aluminium foil in it giving off hydrogen (also gives off about 1/2 volt if you use iron as the other electrode) and if the test tube is a pryex one (strong) you could go for the pop. IIRC you could also use it for electrolysis of water.

If you had a digital multimeter you could make some batteries with different metals and various things , like lemons etc.

frodi Registered User

thanks, I appreciate that.
I don't let him play with it, I sit with him and supervise. Still I got my first chemistry set when I was 11 and played with it on my own, nearly started a fire as well going for the pop with hydrogen.

Hazard data was a one word description eg corrosive, flamable etc describing each chemical. Also a pair of safety goggles for child (look a bit weak to me) and a note advising that the supervising adult should wear eye protection (not supplied). Lucky I have my own. Nothing about protective gloves.

In fairness to them they do say that it is not designed for childs use on their own. A lot of the later experiments (116 listed in all) involve preparing and storing products of earlier reactions with nothing in the kit for labelling or storing them. A lot of plain white powders. There are also a few electro plating and experiments using batteries without any real directions how to connect a battery to a test tube of liquid.

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