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.