Saturday Science: Creating Lava Lamps

Find Saturday Science instructions for creating your own lava lamp below!

Saturday Science is a monthly enrichment opportunity for FLVS elementary students and their families.

During these online sessions, we do an experiment together that helps us “see” and better understand various scientific concepts. Experiments are chosen to include materials commonly found at home or the local dollar store. A big emphasis is also placed on selecting experiments that require materials that might otherwise be thrown out after use, such as plastic water bottles, plastic bags, paper towel cardboard rolls, boxes, etc. Elementary students can perform the experiment live during time together or simply watch if they do not have the materials. All sessions are recorded so that if a student misses the “live” event or later acquires the materials, it can be viewed at any time.

As a teacher, it is my hope that Super Saturday Science helps create and/or deepen a love for science and hopefully plants a seed of interest that encourages our elementary students to pursue a career in science!

In the activity below, students can explore the differences between mass vs. weight.

Lava Lamp Instructions

Lava Lamp 1

Materials

  • 2 empty clear plastic bottles with cap
  • 1 small bottle of Sprite or seltzer
  • 1 box of raisins
  • 1 plastic spoon

Procedure

  1. Cut about 5 raisins into thirds (or in half if the raisins are small)
  2. Pour about 1 cup of seltzer/soda into a cup or empty bottle
  3. Watch the raisins and make observations

Lava Lamp 2

Materials

  • 1 empty clear plastic bottles with cap
  • 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 bottle of alka seltzer
  • Food coloring

Procedure

  1. Fill the bottle 3/4 full with vegetable oil
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with water (almost to the top, but not overflowing)
  3. Add 4-5 drops of food coloring
  4. Divide the Alka-Seltzer tablet into 4 pieces
  5. Drop one of the Alka-Seltzer pieces into the oil and water mixture and watch what happens.
  6. When the bubbling stops, add another piece of Alka-Seltzer.
  7. When you have used all of the Alka-Seltzer and the bubbling has completely stopped, secure the bottle cap.

What did you observe? Were there any significant differences between the two bottles? Why do you think that is? Let us know in the comments!

Post by Marti Dayton, FLVS Biology and Environmental Science Teacher

While Mrs. Dayton loves spending Saturday mornings with our elementary students across Florida, during the week she teaches AP Biology and AP Environmental Science to much bigger kids all across the US and around the world as part of our FLVS Global School team. During the 2018-19 school year, her colleagues nominated her to be our FLVS Global School Teacher of the Year.



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