For Teachers

Chemistry Project Ideas That Reinforce STEAM Learning

By The Room 241 Team November 8, 2019

The science of chemistry is much more than observing reactions when combining two or more different types of chemicals. Our understanding of the universe, our planet, and humans as electrochemical beings is fundamentally based on understanding the principles of chemistry. This makes learning about chemical processes through experimentation vital to the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Student exposure to the fascinating world of chemistry is imperative to cultivating tomorrow’s doctors, physicists, researchers, and scientists. Here are some chemistry project ideas to foster students’ curiosity.


Elementary classroom chemistry projects

Invisible ink

Sympathetic ink substances disappear and then reappear when heated.

Ink types: milk, lemon juice, vinegar, grapefruit juice, Windex, and cobalt chloride

Dip a paintbrush or Q-tip in lemon juice. Write something on a small piece of white paper. Let the “ink” dry before holding the paper over a toaster. Heat will magically cause the secret writing to appear.

Instructions for this project here.

Fizz inflator for balloons

Mixing vinegar and baking soda causes a reaction that creates carbon dioxide.

Supplies needed:

  • Small balloon
  • Empty plastic water or soda bottle
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Funnel

Instructions for this project here.

Lava flowing in the classroom

Oil floats in water because it is less dense than water. However, salt sinks in water with oil because salt is more dense than oil.

Supplies needed:

  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • One tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • Transparent drinking glass

Instructions for this project here.

Make ice cream from scratch

This experiment shows an endothermic chemical process that allows ice cream to form out of the following ingredients:

  • A bag of ice
  • 4 oz of vitamin D milk
  • 4 oz of cream
  • 4 tsp of white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla flavoring
  • 1/2 cup of rock salt
  • Small and large Ziploc freezer bags

Instructions for this project here.

Fun with slime

This chemical experiment shows the unique quality of this compound to be both a liquid and a solid.

Supplies needed:

  • Two disposable cups
  • Elmer’s or white craft glue
  • Food coloring
  • Borax powder
  • Water
  • Tablespoon and plastic tsp for measuring and stirring

Instructions for this project here.

Heat-producing chemical reactions

How common household items produce heat when combined.

Supplies needed:

  • One thermometer
  • One medium-sized bowl
  • Stirring stick
  • 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • One tsp of yeast

Instructions for this project here.

Middle school classroom chemistry projects

Growing crystals

Chemical reactions needed to create crystals involve making a solution that cause solute particles to coalesce and build a nucleus.

Supplies needed:

  • A flower with a strong stem
  • Borax
  • Food coloring
  • Hot water

Instructions for this project here.

Never-ending lava lamp

A heat source causes oil to expand faster than alcohol and then cool, demonstrating changes in density caused by thermal expansion.

Supplies needed:

  • Glass container that can be sealed
  • Baby or mineral oil
  • 70% and 90% alcohol
  • Incandescent light bulb

Instructions for this project here.

Separating salt and sand

This experiment investigates the concepts of solubility and insolubility.

Supplies needed:

  • Salt
  • Sand
  • 8 oz canning jars
  • Magnifying glass
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Water
  • Two spoons
  • Teakettle
  • Funnel
  • Coffee filter

Instructions for this project here.

Hot ice

Explore exothermic chemical reactions, crystallization, and the science behind supercooling.

Supplies needed:

  • 4 Tbl of baking soda
  • One liter of clear vinegar

Instructions for this project here.

Mini lemon volcano

Explore chemical reactions involving baking soda and citric acid. Stirring baking soda and citric acid increases frothiness.

Supplies needed:

  • Two lemons to make one volcano
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Craft sticks
  • Spoons and cups
  • Medium-sized tray

Instructions for this project here.

Fizzing bath bombs

Students can explore the chemical concept of neutralization while doing this experiment.

Supplies needed:

  • Kitchen scales
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Citric acid
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Cornflower
  • Lavender oil
  • Tennis ball (optional)

Instructions for this project here.

High school classroom chemistry projects

Luminescent chemical reaction

How a specific chemical reaction produces light energy without creating heat.

Supplies needed:

  • Water
  • Anhydrous sodium carbonate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Luminol
  • Ammonium carbonate monohydrate
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Copper sulfate
  • Funnel, flask, and spiral condenser

Instructions for this project here.

How to make a pH indicator

Understand what a pH scale is and why it is an essential part of learning about chemistry by having students make their own pH indicator.

Supplies needed:

  • Two cups of chopped red cabbage
  • One cup of water

Instructions for this project here.

Magic trick: Burning a one-dollar bill (not really!)

Explore the chemical reactions among paper money, alcohol, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

Supplies needed:

  • One $1 bill
  • Lighter or matches
  • Tongs
  • Salt to make colored flames
  • Solution of 50% water and 50% alcohol

Instructions for this project here.

POP! goes the nitrogen triiodide

When iodine crystals react with concentrated ammonia, it creates nitrogen triiodide and a loud popping sound.

Supplies needed:

  • At least one gram of iodine
  • Concentrated aqueous ammonia
  • Paper towels or other filter papers
  • Ring stand
  • Long stick with a feather attached to it

Instructions for this project here.

Splitting water molecules: Electrolysis of water

This project allows students to explore the concept of battery energy used to induce chemical reactions that do not occur spontaneously.

Supplies needed:

  • Water
  • 9-volt battery
  • Metal thumbtacks
  • Clean, clear plastic water bottle
  • Epsom salt
  • Scissors
  • Plastic cup or beaker
  • Black permanent marker
  • Modeling clay or paper towels

Instructions for this project here.

Revealing different pigment chemicals in leaves

Students learn about chromatography and the chemical concept of solubility.

Supplies needed:

  • Fresh, green leaves or fresh spinach leaves
  • Food processor or mortar and pestle
  • Scissors
  • Ceramic or glass cup
  • Coffee filters
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Straw or pencil
  • Tape

Instructions for this project here.


For further information about teaching the concepts of STEAM, visit our STEAM Teaching resource page for more fascinating and fun activity ideas.

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