Kaboom! Radical Reactions

Kaboom! Radical Reactions

3…2…1…science is go! Pink foam oozed from bottles, film canisters flew up in the air and cabbage juice turned from purple to blue in the blink of an eye.

Kaboom! Radical Reactions was the first in Te Papa’s series of summer science shows. With over 100 kids watching the shows over three days, it looks like Wellingtonians love live science.

With a bubbling pink foam fountain to kick things off, our visitors were hooked from the start. We whizzed through what chemical reactions are, why they’re useful and why they’re fun. With explosions, mess and fizz thrown in, it was fun for all the family!

What does it feel like? Elephant's toothpaste is surprisingly warm! Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

What does it feel like? Elephant’s toothpaste is surprisingly warm! Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

Crazy cabbage juice

“What’s that smell?” the visitors asked. It’s pretty stinky.

It’s not a proper science show unless you can join in the experiments. We asked our visitors to test things they can find around the kitchen by adding cabbage juice to them.

Purple cabbage juice turns pink in the presence of an acid and blue/green in the presence of an alkali. We soon had a kaleidoscope of colours. Check out the washing crystals in the picture below; they’re bright green!

A kaleidoscope of cabbage-based colour. Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

A kaleidoscope of cabbage-based colour. Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

You can try this at home and test out lots of stuff around your kitchen and bathroom. We followed Planet Science’s instructions for making purple cabbage juice.

Warning: it will smell! Everyone in our staff room can tell you that…

Loopy lava lamps

Our visitors also made an experiment to take home. We went back to the 70s (some of us had never been there in the first place) and made lava lamps using Alka-Seltzer, veggie oil, water and food colouring.

Everyone's a scientist! Visitors made lava lamps to take home. Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

Everyone’s a scientist! Visitors made lava lamps to take home. Photo: Kate Clarkin. © Te Papa.

Again, you can do this at home – the instructions are on Planet Science’s website. It was a colourful end to a fantastically fun science show.

There’ll be more science fun on these dates:

19th and 20th Jan, 10.30 – Fantastic Forces

23rd, 26th, 27thWhat’s the Matter? Solids, Liquids and Gases

Check out the kids’ calendar for more details of the science shows and other family friendly events at Te Papa.

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