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Weather kid of the month: Elephant Toothpaste

Posted at 10:09 AM, Mar 19, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS — We will make elephant toothpaste in our science experiment and learn what a catalyst is and what it does in a decomposition reaction! Let’s get started and make some elephant toothpaste! Here’s what you need….

- Clean and clear 16 oz plastic bottle or beaker with funnel top
- ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide liquid
- 1 tablespoon (one packet) of dry yeast
- Liquid dish soap
- 3 tablespoons of warm water
- Food coloring
- Small cup
- Spoon
- Overflow pan
- Funnel
- Safety goggles

Step 1: place bottle/beaker into overflow pan and pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle
Step 2: add a few drops of food coloring
Step 3: add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap into the bottle and then swish the bottle around to mix everything together
Step 4: in the separate small cup combine the warm water and packet of yeast. Mix these two for about 30 seconds
Step 5: pour the yeast and water mixture into your bottle/beaker and watch what happens!!

We created elephant toothpaste!!!!! This foam explosion is pretty cool showing off each tiny little foam bubbles filled with oxygen. What happened was the yeast acted as our catalyst also known as the starter or helper for the experiment. The yeast helped remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. This happened really fast and created all our foam bubbles! This process is called a decomposition reaction where the catalyst breaks those molecules apart taking hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.

Typically, the bubbles would pop and the oxygen would escape quickly but by adding the dish soap we created more surface tension and all the bubbles to be trapped giving us all the foam! Check and see if the bottle is warm?? The reaction we created is called an exothermic reaction meaning energy is transferred to the surroundings and the temperatures of the surroundings increases.