Halloween Lava Lamp STEAM Activity

Halloween is a fun time of year to try out science experiments with a spooky twist!

Exploring liquid density is the perfect kitchen science experiment because you typically can find everything you need in the pantry, under the sink, or even in a bathroom closet. Often you can use liquids you have on hand. 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Jar or beaker
  • Cooking oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Alka seltzer tablets or generic equivalent
  • Spooky Halloween accessories (We used some spooky spiders from the dollar store!)

LAVA LAMP EXPERIMENT SETUP

Lava Lamp Tip: Set up this experiment on a plastic tray or dollar store cookie sheet to minimize the mess.

STEP 1: Fill a jar 3/4 of the way with oil.

STEP 2: Now go ahead and fill up the rest of the jar with water.

Make sure to observe what happens to the oil and water in your jar as you add them.

These steps above are great for helping students practice their fine motor skills and learn about approximate measurements. We eyeballed our liquids, but you can actually measure out your liquids.

STEP 3: Observe what happens when you add drops of food coloring to the oil and water mixture. We went with dark food coloring for our Halloween theme.

STEP 4: Now add an Alka Seltzer tablet and check out what happens. You can repeat as desired with another tablet.

Watch out this can also get messy especially if the kids sneak in extra tablets.

Did you know that oil and water don’t mix because they don’t have the same density?

LAVA LAMP SCIENCE

There are quite a few things going on here with both physics and chemistry! First, remember liquid is one of three states of matter. It flows, it pours, and it takes the shape of the container you put it in.
 
However, liquids have different viscosity or thicknesses. Does the oil pour differently than the water? What do you notice about the food coloring drops you added to the oil/water? Think about the viscosity of other liquids you use.

Share your Lava Lamp!

Share your projects with us at cva@edupix.org  so we can share it with everyone!