Of Cabbages and Kings

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This lesson gives full instructions for making cabbage juice indicator, a procedure sheet for learners to record observations as they use the indicator to test materials, and extension activities to deepen understanding. Extensions start on page 26 and include Test Household Substances, Reverse Color Changes, and Inquiry Opportunity: Other Plant Indicators. Part of the 21-activity guide published by OMSI, No Hassle Messy Science with a Wow. All activities in this guide use household materials and all lesson plans include preparation directions, demonstrations, procedure sheets, cross-curricular connections, and scientific explanation of content.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • purple cabbage 1 head per class
  • salt (optional) ½ cup for preparation
  • knife (optional) 1 for preparation
  • hot water for preparation
  • strainer 1 for preparation
  • large bowls 2 for preparation
  • funnel 1 for preparation
  • pop-top squeeze bottles 16 oz. 3 per group
  • clear plastic cups 8 oz. 4 per group & 4 per student
  • plastic spoons 2 spoons per group
  • variety of items to test (suggestions listed below)
  • baking soda ¼ cup per group
  • white vinegar ¼ cup per group
  • sugar ¼ cup per group
  • salt ¼ cup per group
  • ammonia ¼ cup per group
  • cream of tartar ¼ cup per group


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry


  • All rights reserved, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation