Activity Introduction

Adults, especially dentists, are always telling us “don’t drink that, don’t eat that – it’ll rot your teeth”! In this experiment, you’re going to make your own pH indicator using everyday ingredients. With your indicator, you’ll test out some common substances around the home (including your favourite fizzy drinks) to find out if they’re as bad for you as the dentists say they are.

Ideal for: Lower Secondary and Middle Secondary

Safety advice: A knife or a blender is needed to chop the cabbage. Be careful with sharp blades and be sure to keep fingers out of the way when chopping!

Boiling water can be used to soak the chopped cabbage. Handle hot water and any container of hot water with a lot of care and attention. If any water is spilt, mop it up as quickly as possible to avoid slipping. Cold water can be used in place of boiling water, but it will just take longer for the colour to seep out of the cabbage.

For any burns, allow cold water to run over the affected area and seek medical attention if necessary.

If possible, eye protection should be worn to prevent any liquids from getting into the eyes. Rinse eyes with water should any contact occur.

This is a good activity for kids to complete independently, though they’ll need to get some parental help when it comes to choosing substances to test later on – some acids and alkalis are no joke!

Themes:

  • investigate
  • get messy
  • think and connect

Time required: 40 minutes 

Curriculum connections: Science, Chemistry, Critical and Creative Thinking

Tips for Parents and Carers

If any of the coloured solutions get onto any surfaces, bleach should easily remove the colouring, but you may want to encourage your kid/s to put down some newspaper or take it outside.

Lesson & Curriculum Details

Curriculum codes:

Complete lesson for classroom teachers:

SugarByHalf – The Power of pH – Science – Years 9 & 10

Resources Required

  • Boiling water
  • Filter paper (coffee filters work well)
  • Glass containers: two large, six small
  • Knife (or blender)
  • Measuring cup
  • Red cabbage

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Learning@Home from Cool Australia

Learning@Home resources are designed for parents and teachers to use with children in the home environment. They can be used as stand-alone activities or built into existing curriculum-aligned learning programs. Our Learning@Home series includes two types of resources. The first are fun and challenging real-world activities for all ages, the second are self-directed lessons for upper primary and secondary students. These lessons support independent learning in remote or school settings.

This lesson has been developed in partnership with SugarByHalf, a not-for-profit organisation, who promote action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that Australians live better, stronger and healthier lives. Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Student Worksheet

Make Your Own pH Indicator - Activity Instructions

Adults, especially dentists, are always telling us “don’t drink that, don’t eat that - it’ll rot your teeth”! In this experiment, you’re going to make your own pH indicator using everyday ingredients. With your indicator, you’ll test out some common substances around the home (including your favourite fizzy drinks) to find out if they’re as bad for you as the dentists say they are.

Safety advice: A knife or a blender is needed to chop the cabbage. Be careful with sharp blades and be sure to keep fingers out of the way when chopping!

Boiling water can be used to soak the chopped cabbage. Handle hot water and any container of hot water with a lot of care and attention. If any water is spilt, mop it up as quickly as possible to avoid slipping. Cold water can be used in place of boiling water, but it will just take longer for the colour to seep out of the cabbage.

For any burns, allow cold water to run over the affected area and seek m

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