Anson Wong, boy genius, loves teaching others about science. But if there’s one thing he loves more than that, it’s conducting experiments.
Anson and his producer friend, Jessica, recently made elephant toothpaste using just a few things you probably have laying around your house.
Anson loved seeing this big reaction happen! It’s a simple experiment that illustrates how a catalyst can cause a reaction. The result looks like giant toothpaste, hence the name, “elephant toothpaste.”
Some ingredients can be harmful if they get on your skin or in your eyes. so be sure there’s an adult around to help. It’s also a good idea to have some safety goggles handy.
Here’s what you will need for this experiment:
- Dry active yeast
- Warm water
- 6 percent (20 volume) hydrogen peroxide
- Dish soap
- Food coloring
- 16-ounce water bottle
- Large baking dish
- Safety goggles
One ingredient that was a bit tricky to find was the hydrogen peroxide. Notice that this experiment calls for a 6 percent concentration, which is stronger than the one commonly used for first-aid purposes. You can order it online, or you can find it a beauty supply store.
Here’s what you need to do to make elephant toothpaste:
- Measure 1 teaspoon of yeast (about 1/2 packet) and stir into 2 tablespoons of very warm water. Mix well. The water and yeast are safe for kids to handle, so this could be a fun way to involve them in the experiment. Set aside when mixed.
- Place the water bottle inside the large baking dish.
- Add 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide into water bottle. Add any food coloring you’d like as well as a squirt of the dish soap.
- Use funnel to add yeast and water mixture into water bottle. Quickly remove the funnel and watch the reaction!
You’ll notice the hydrogen peroxide and yeast quickly turn into a thick foam and it comes out of the bottle looking like giant toothpaste.
So what’s really happening?
The yeast is acting as a catalyst. It removes the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. The soap helps to create the foam, capturing the released oxygen inside the bubbles of the foam. You’ll also notice the foam got hot, which means it was an exothermic reaction. The foam is made up of just oxygen, water and soap, so you can play with it and clean it up with a towel.
Anson’s Answers features a 5-year-old genius. He has a college-level grasp on various areas of science, dreams of becoming the president and can speak multiple languages. Did you catch that he’s just 5 years old? Anson has a passion for teaching others and loves to share videos explaining the human body, the laws of physics and his ideas for the future. Grab a seat, because Professor Anson’s class is in session!