Color Changes with Acids and Bases

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Learners mix a variety of substances with red cabbage juice. The juice changes color to indicate whether each substance is an acid or a base. Learners can follow up their study of acids and bases in the related activity, "Neutralizing Acids and Bases" (see related resources). [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Red cabbage leaves
  • Cream of tartar
  • Vinegar
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Zip-closing plastic bag, storage-grade, quart-size
  • 5 Clear plastic cups
  • 3 Small cups
  • 2 Flat toothpicks
  • 1 Dropper
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • Permanent marker
  • White piece of paper
  • Student Activity Sheet


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kessler, James H. ; Galvan, Patricia M.


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2007