Holiday Demonstrations and Activities
As the holidays arrive, students tend to become distracted. Performing demonstrations and doing fun class activities can help keep their minds focused on important science concepts.
You can create a memorable learning experience out of this festive holiday with a discussion of chemistry topics such as redox reactions, indicators, polymers, properties of matter, and phase changes.
Try these engaging activities . . .
Don’t take a holiday from proper lab procedures!
Perform all activities in accordance with established laboratory safety practices, including appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure that students understand and adhere to these practices. Know and follow all school district guidelines for the disposal of laboratory wastes. Read the activity-specific cautions below before performing the activities.
Shape pipe cleaners into snowflakes or other fun holiday shapes and watch the crystals form in this activity.
Topics covered: solutions, solubility, crystallization, crystal structure
Traffic light demonstration
Watch as a solution changes from green to red to yellow in this holiday color demonstration.
Topics covered: oxidation-reduction reactions, reversible reactions, indicators, rates of reactions
Marbled gift wrap
Drip food coloring on shaving cream and transfer the pattern to paper to create holiday gift wrap.
Topics covered: properties of water, polarity, properties of soap
Shape copper wire to create interesting designs and place the wire in an aqueous solution of silver nitrate. The single replacement reaction will create a beautiful silver ornament.
Topics covered: oxidation-reduction reactions, activity series
Mirrored silver ornaments
Silver can be plated onto the interior surface of a glass vial via a redox reaction. Dextrose is oxidized to gluconic acid, and silver ions are reduced to metallic silver.
Topics covered: redox reactions, Lewis acids and bases, organic structures, complexes, and stoichiometry
Add festive food coloring, glitter, and even beads for a holiday spin on this student favorite.
Topics covered: polymers and properties of matter
Let it snow
Earth science meets physical science when you demonstrate snowflake formation to your class using dry ice and high humidity.
Topics covered: weather, precipitation, solutions, solubility, crystallization, crystal structure
Hydrate sodium polyacrylate, snow polymer, to form dry fluffy “snow.” Challenge your students to design an experiment using the chemical. Teach students about super absorbent polymers, physical properties, and the scientific method.
Holiday flame test
Explore different elements and their emission spectra with a flame test. For holiday flare, pick elements that match your holiday colors, or pick elements that match your school colors. Teach or enforce your students’ knowledge of atomic theory and the Bohr atomic model.