Glow Stick Science

This was so fun to do around Halloween time, but would be great any time of year.
With leftover glowsticks from a school dance, I wanted to show my students the cool science behind them.  This was a great tie in with the scientific method and a great break after our chapter test.  We went over the steps and used the handout (below) to record parts of our experiment along the way. 
First, I used the big camping glowsticks and showed the 2 liquids inside.  I watched a Youtube video describing the details and wore gloves and eyewear as a safety precaution and as long as we are not eating or getting it on us – we’re good.
I put the liquids in different jars then mixed them.  I showed the students the glass tube that breaks and mixes the liquids together – some hypothesized that after realizing that you have to “break” and crack a glowstick to get it to work. 

We used the Mad Science Template from my Tech Exit Slips to record the findings and go over the scientific method during this experiment.  Since we did have a variable that changed, it was perfect.  You can get that here

After showing the science behind how glowsticks work – we jumped right into their experiment for the day.  The students used the regular necklace and bracelet glowsticks.  Which are tough to break and get liquid out (I tried!) much more safe for them.
We tested the glowsticks in hot and cold (ice) water to see what would happen?  I gave each table group the same two colors so they could compare.  What happens if you switch the glowsticks?

As you can see, cold slows down the chemo-luminescence and the glowstick is darker whereas the warmer water makes is bright.  The picture don’t exactly do it justice, as it is pretty easy to tell in person which has been in cooler water. 
IT BLEW THEIR SOCKS OFF!  The lights were off, they got to experiment with glowsticks, I was really impressed with how responsible they were throughout the whole thing. 
If you want further directions or some more fun experiment ideas – check out my FREE Super Science Experiment book!  or use the the links below. It has over 70 experiments that we used at camp with household supplies which are great to introduce students to the scientific method.

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  1. Julie Smith on November 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I LOVE this, Amber!! I bet the kids had the best time ever. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    The Techie Teacher

  2. Mandy B on November 19, 2014 at 2:50 am

    What a fun experiment! I bet the kids loved it.

    Caffeine and Lesson Plans

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