STEAM Activity: Lava Lamp

 

What Kids Learn:

In a Lava Lamp STEAM activity, kids learn about density and immiscibility as they see oil and water separate into distinct layers. Adding effervescent tablets causes a chemical reaction, creating bubbles that carry colored water through the oil. They also explore color mixing and practice observation skills, all while having fun and being creative with their lava lamp designs.

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What We Need

 

STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Materials
STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Materials

 

 

How To Make a Lava Lamp

 

 

  1. Take the empty jar and fill it about one-third of the way with oil.

    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Jar With Oil
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Jar With Oil
  2. Now, fill the rest of the jar with water. Make sure to leave a little bit of space at the top.
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Rest of the Jar With Water
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Rest of the Jar With Water

    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp oil and water are separated
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp oil and water sit separately
  3. Choose your favorite food coloring and add a few drops into the bottle. Watch how the color sinks through the oil and mixes with the water below.
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Put food coloring
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Put food coloring

     

    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Rest of the Jar With Water
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp Fill the Rest of the Jar With Water
  4. Drop one Alka-Seltzer tablet into the jar and close the lid.
  5. Now, watch the magic happen!  Watch what happens inside the bottle. The tablet reacts with the water and creates bubbles. These bubbles rise through the oil, bringing colored water with them. When the bubbles reach the top, they pop, and the colored water sinks back down, just like a lava lamp!
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp - Watch The Magic
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp – Watch The Magic

     

    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp - Watch The Magic
    STEAM Activity Lava Lamp – Watch The Magic

     

  6. You can keep adding more pieces of the tablet, one at a time, to keep the lava lamp going and enjoy the bubbly, colorful show.

Variations & Challenges

  • Instead of using just one color of food coloring, try using multiple colors. Watch how the colors blend and create new shades as they move through the oil and water.
  • Try using antacid tablets (like Alka-Seltzer) that are broken into smaller pieces or crushed. See how the size affect the speed of the bubbles and the overall performance of the lava lamp.

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Author

  • Isabelle

    Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 22 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom to a child in elementary school. She believes that when kids are curious and use their imagination, amazing things can happen. She is particularly interested in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). She believes when children are encouraged to develop STEAM skills from a young age, they gain valuable tools to tackle future challenges in a creative, imaginative, and innovative manner. She enjoys researching STEAM and craft activities, plays, toys and resources and share with parents.

    http://steamandcreate.com Isabelle

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