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Colorful Chemistry

Chemistry colors your world!

Visit these links and explore the ways that it does. It could be the rainbow glow of lightsticks. It could be how tattoo artists create their colorful effects. It could be how a chameleon changes its skin color. It could be using food materials to dye eggs. All these and more!

Watch the archive of our recent webinar—"Chemistry Colors Our World!" - Resources for National Chemistry Week, the Classroom, and Beyond—and related resources, for even more ideas.

  • Rainbow Connection
    Get in touch with your inner Kermit the Frog as your perform the “Rainbow Connection” demonstration set to music.
  • Color Changing Flower
    Can’t decide whether you prefer white or pink flowers? You can have both with this color change demo!
  • Opening Day Signs
    This colorful demo could kick off your school year. Show that chemistry can be a chemystery, and not chemisery.

Youtube ID: 52y-mu2WUpA

  • Bubbling Lava Lamp
    You won’t be able to take your eyes off these bubbling bursts of color. Make your own homemade “lava lamp” using household materials.
  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
    Link the suspenseful tale (it’s even based on a true story) from the children’s book Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie with the colorful glow of lightsticks.
  • Afterimages
    Ah, a lovely image of the American flag—yellow, blue and black. What? Find out how your eyes can turn them into red, white, and blue.
  • Dyeing Yarn with Kool-Aid
    An icy-cold glass of Kool-Aid can quench your thirst. But did you know you can also use the powder to color wool yarn? Mix up a batch!
  • Colors on the Mooooove!
    Try this swirling and twirling milk demo yourself. Then moooove on and share it with a friend.

Youtube ID: y1TNrdyqhcY

  • Natural Easter Egg Dyes
    Shopping list: cranberry juice, beets, carrot tops. Ingredients for a wacky dish? Nope. Just a way to add pizzazz to white hard-boiled eggs.
  • Ultraviolet Testing with Color Changing UV Beads
    SPF 100+? SPF 80? Do they make that much of a difference beyond, say, SPF 50? Investigate with color changing beads!
  • Turning on the Light
    Go for the glow with this luminescence activity. Can you find household items that give red, blue, and orange fluorescence?

Youtube ID: vpzEWQK7pOU

  • Ripe Bananas Glow Bright Blue
    Not sure when your banana is at peak ripeness and ready to eat? Just look for that beautiful blue glow!?
  • ACS ChemClub Calendar—Lightsticks
    Looking for some fun and colorful chemistry for your wall? This ChemClub calendar page about lightsticks is a great choice!
  • Food Coloring
    A blue slushy? Green ketchup? Orange cheese curls? Where do these colors come from?
  • Compound Interest
    Colors, colors, everywhere. Do a search for “color” to turn up infographics on colored glass, colors of blood, gemstone colors, and more.
  • Chameleons’ Color-Changing Science
    A chameleon changing its skin color looks like a neat trick, but what’s the chemistry behind it? 

Youtube ID: X0nWmTeQPfo

(all sites accessed Sept. 2015)