Reactive paintings

Baking soda and vinegar cause a well known reaction, often used for volcanoes or explosive bottles. However, we experimented with these two ingredients a little bit differently at Southwark this week. We also wanted to have our students practice blending colors and creating gradients using the color wheel.

To do this project we needed: baking soda, vinegar, cardstock, food coloring, water, small cups, droppers or straws, and paintbrushes. We put equal parts water and baking soda in four cups per group and added a different color food dye in each cup. This was our “paint”. Next, each student had a piece of paper and was able to begin painting. We had them stir up the mixture in order to incorporate a good amount of baking soda to be applied on their paper. Their overall goal was to use the four colors to create an abstract picture that blended together and was in the correct order of the color wheel. When they were finished, we passed out straws and cups with vinegar. They used the straws to drop vinegar onto their paper and create the ultimate reaction. The vinegar combined with the baking soda on their painting and bubbled and fizzed.

This was not only a really fun experiment to create and do, but they were able to learn several things. The students had to work out what colors they could make out of the original four they were given and then mix and experiment with It. They also saw how baking soda and vinegar reacted and were able to visualize and hear the result of the fizzing. The extra vinegar on the paper also allowed the colors to run across each other, creating really cool gradients and further mixing their colors.