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Holiday Demonstrations and Activities

As the holidays arrive, students tend to become distracted with winter vacation plans. Performing demonstrations and doing fun class activities can help keep their minds focused on important science concepts.

Try these engaging activities . . .


Borax snowflakes

Shape pipe cleaners into snowflakes or other fun holiday shapes and watch the crystals form in this activity.

Topics covered: solutions, solubility, crystallization, crystal structure


Borax snowflakes


Traffic light demonstration

Watch as a solution changes from green to red to yellow in this holiday color demonstration.

Topics covered: oxidation-reduction reactions, reversible reactions, indicators, rates of reactions


Traffic light demonstration


Marbled gift wrap

Drip food coloring on shaving cream and transfer the pattern to paper to create holiday gift wrap.

Topics covered: properties of water, polarity, properties of soap


Marbled gift wrap


Silver decorations

Shape copper wire to create interesting designs and place the wire in an aqueous solution of silver nitrate. The single replacement reaction will create a beautiful silver ornament.

Topics covered: oxidation-reduction reactions, activity series

Make a Silver CHristmas Ornament


Silver decorations


Mirrored silver ornaments

Silver can be plated onto the interior surface of a glass vial via a redox reaction. Dextrose is oxidized to gluconic acid, and silver ions are reduced to metallic silver.

Topics covered: redox reactions, Lewis acids and bases, organic structures, complexes, and stoichiometry

Make a Silver CHristmas Ornament


Mirrored silver ornaments


Festive slime

Add festive food coloring, glitter, and even beads for a holiday spin on this student favorite.

Topics covered: polymers and properties of matter


Festive slime


Let it snow

Earth science meets physical science when you demonstrate snowflake formation to your class using dry ice and high humidity.

Topics covered: weather, precipitation, solutions, solubility, crystallization, crystal structure


Make Snow


Other activities and demonstrations

Snow polymer: Hydrate sodium polyacrylate, snow polymer, to form dry fluffy "snow." Challenge your students to design an experiment using the chemical. Teach students about super absorbent polymers, physical properties, and the scientific method.



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Holiday flame test: Explore different elements and their emission spectra with a flame test. For holiday flare, pick elements that match your holiday colors, or pick elements that match your school colors. Teach or enforce your students' knowledge of atomic theory and the Bohr atomic model.



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