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Rainbow Electrolysis

Autopause

Materials

1 Round Petri Dish
1 Round Petri Dish
1 Plastic Cup
1 Plastic Cup
1 Pipette
1 Pipette
1 Bottle of Universal Indicator Liquid
1 Bottle of Universal Indicator Liquid
1 Bottle of Methyl Red Liquid
1 Bottle of Methyl Red Liquid
1 Bottle of Bromothymol Blue Liquid
1 Bottle of Bromothymol Blue Liquid
1 Battery
1 Battery
1 Battery Connector & Clamps
1 Battery Connector & Clamps
1 Tube of Pencil Leads
1 Tube of Pencil Leads

Instructions

STEP 1
0:00

Pull out the bag with the battery in it. Place everything around the white mat and, put the bag back in your box.

STEP 2
0:21

Take the round petri dish and place it in the middle of the mat.

STEP 3
0:34

Grab the bottle that says Universal Indicator.To open, simply push down on the top and turn.

STEP 4
0:54

Squeeze some of the liquid into the petri dish, but not all of it. Leave about a quarter of the liquid in the bottle.

STEP 5
1:16

Grab the battery, unwrap it, and throw the plastic wrapper away in the trash.

STEP 6
1:47

Attach the wire and the battery by matching the big connectors to the smaller ones.

STEP 7
2:14

Grab the tube of sticks of lead. Uncap the tube and place the lead sticks onto your mat.

STEP 8
2:41

Attach the connecter to the flat end of the stick of lead, below the edge.

STEP 9
3:03

Attach the other connector to another stick of lead. You have extras just in case one breaks.

STEP 10
3:32

Grab both sticks of lead, and hold them just like you do a pencil.

STEP 11
3:59

Place the tips of the lead sticks into the petri dish and hold them there for 15 seconds while the reaction starts to happen.

STEP 12
4:27

Move the sticks up and down in a light, flicking motion. The colors start to expand.

STEP 13
5:24

Try moving the sticks around in different directions, like circles. Experiment with all kinds of motions.

STEP 14
6:13

Use the pipette to suck up one color and squeeze it back out into another color to mix them. The pipette can also be used to swirl the colors.

STEP 15
7:13

Change the colors back to the original blue color by swirling the pipette around until all the rainbow colors have disappeared.

STEP 16
7:40

Place the empty petri dish back in the center of the mat.

STEP 17
7:47

Grab the bottle that says Methyl Red.

STEP 18
8:01

Squeeze the liquid from the bottle into the petri dish. Remember to keep a little bit in the bottle for later.

STEP 19
8:13

Place your lead sticks into the liquid and wait about 15 seconds before you start moving them around.

STEP 20
10:02

Try drawing something with the colors. If you go slowly, you can try to draw a smiley face.

STEP 21
12:43

When you’re done, gently empty the liquid into the plastic cup and setup again to try the final color.

STEP 22
12:56

Grab the bottle that says Bromothymol Blue.

STEP 23
13:05

Squeeze some of the liquid into your petri dish and save a little bit for later. Your color may look a little different than mine, but that’s okay!

STEP 24
13:37

Place your lead sticks into the liquid for about 15 seconds before you start to move them around.

STEP 25
16:31

When you’re done, pour the liquid into your cup. Everything in the bag can be recycled and the liquid can go down your household drain.

How It Works

In this experiment, there are two separate things going on. First, we are running electricity through water. You may have heard that water is also called H2O. The H stands for Hydrogen, and the O stands for Oxygen. When we run electricity through it, it actually rips apart the water molecules to make just H. Hydrogen. And just O. Oxygen.

We can see hydrogen gas and oxygen gas bubbling off of those black rods. Now that splitting process changes the property of the water near those rods. On one side it becomes acidic like lemon juice and on the other side, basic like baking soda. But if that’s all that was happening it would be clear and we would just see bubbles. We used another chemical called an indicator to indicate to us that the property of the water is changing by changing the colors.
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