Gassy Lava Lamp

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In this activity, learners use oil, water, food coloring and antacid tablets to create a bubbling lava lamp. Use this activity to introduce concepts related to density, hydrophobicity vs. hydrophilicity, and chemical reactions. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

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


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 clear plastic bottle
  • 1 bottle of dark food color
  • 1 bottle of vegetable oil
  • 1 antacid tablet (like Alka-Seltzer)
  • Room temperature water
  • Flashlight (optional)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Toys


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:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Mission Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Mission Science Workshop, 2013

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