When you tear into this kit, you may think that we've led you astray. Why did we give you normal white carnations? These flowers aren't magic at all. Not to worry. Although these flower appear to be ordinary white carnations, we'll soon have you believing in the science of magic. Through scientific principles of chemistry you'll be changing seemingly magic-less flowers into a brilliant pink activity that your friends and family will not soon forget.
The magic botanists of Spangler Labs have included everything you'll need to create the "oohs" and "aahs" that you expect from a Steve Spangler Science kit. With just a couple of sprays of an acid/base indicator and a touch of ammonia, you'll be tricking people into thinking you've been trained in the art of flower wizardry.
- 4 white carnations
- Ammonia (4 oz.)
- Phenolphthalein (4 oz.)
- Safety glasses
How does it work?
Magic Flowers use the properties of the pH indicator phenolphthalein to change color right before your eyes. The magic comes from the phenolphthalein used to coat the flowers. When the phenolphthalein (an acid/base indicator) interacts with ammonia, which is a base, the results are the vivid pink color. But you're friends will think that it's magic!
What does it teach?
Although your friends and students may think that you are changing the color of the flowers through magic, you're actually teaching them a valuable chemistry lesson. pH is the measure of how acidic or basic a substance is, and in this experiment you are showing how ammonia is a base. Phenolphthalein is a special indicator that is clear when in the presence of an acid (air is slightly acidic). When you introduce a base, however, the result is a dazzling pink color. The chemistry lesson of acids, bases, pH, and indicators can also be supplemented with important exercises in observation and how assumption (clear liquid + clear liquid = clear liquid) can be wrong.
Great Fun for 5th Grade Science Class
ClassMom - February 28, 2013
With only a half-hour to throw a Valentine's Party, this was an ideal quick experiment. They are studying chemical reactions, so this was perfect. In honor of Valentine's Day, I re-labeled the bottles "Love Potion No. 9(a)" and "Love Potion No. 9(b)". We asked them the question, "When you mix a clear liquid with a clear liquid, do you get a clear liquid?" Most said, "Yes". We then tested the hypothesis. We told them the flowers had been doused in Love Potion No. 9(a) and showed them that it was a clear liquid. Then 4 random students came up to spray their flowers with Love Potion No. 9(b). (the testers all wore goggles since they didn't want to get the Potion in their eyes since we told them that they'd fall in love with the first person they saw if it got into their eyes). They were all thrilled with the deep pink color that resulted. Then their teacher asked them to identify whether it was a chemical reaction. It fit well into their current lesson plan, and they had a great time.