Sunday, December 6, 2009

Poinsettia pH Paper - Christmas Science for Science Sunday

We decided to do a little Christmas science for Science Sunday, a weekly link up over at Adventures in Mommydom. More specifically, we used the pigment from a couple of poinsettia bracts (petals/leaves/red parts), to make pH paper.

We picked off a couple of petals (we'll just call them petals for simplicity's sake), and tore them apart into a jar.

Then, we added a cup, or so of boiling water, and let them steep for about a half an hour.

We strained out the petal bits, and dipped coffee filters into the remaining liquid.

Once the coffee filters were dry, we cut them into strips, and our pH paper was ready to try. The idea of the litmus paper, is that if you dip it into an acid solution, like lemon juice and water, it will turn pink to red. If you dip it into a base solution, like baking soda and water, it will usually turn blue, though with our paper, we found it turned yellowish green.

We tried out several solutions, and then watched a couple of video clips about the pH scale, and acids and bases, at (it's a subscription site, but there is a free 5 day trial, if you want to view the videos).

The only surprise we had was with my shampoo, which turned our paper pink, as for an acid. But, I'm pretty sure it only looked pink, because of poor lighting. I think we'll try that one again tomorrow, when the light is better. I wouldn't want to be putting an acid on my hair!

For more kid science related posts, be sure to check out this week's Science Sunday link ups, at Adventures in Mommydom.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Ticia said...

I LOVE this idea, okay I say that a lot. But, still. I never would have thought of making my own Ph paper. That is way too cool. Another project to remember for a few years. I don't think my kids would get it yet.

ribcageclark said...

Actually you do want to put weak acids in your hair. Bases cause your hair to develop split ends. Strong bases will dissolve hair. A lot of shampoo is pH balanced and are slightly acid.