Potato Power

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
Learners combine hydrogen peroxide with three different forms of potato: raw chunks, ground chunks, and boiled chunks. They observe the difference in bubbling of the three forms, and inferring the causes for the differences in reaction rates. Comparing the reactions in ground and raw potatoes show how increased surface area increases reaction rate. Comparing the reactions of boiled chunks to the others, learners discover that heat can inactivate (denature) the enzymes which make the reaction happen. For safety reasons, this activity works best as a demonstration for younger audiences.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One to three large potatoes (Once they are cut, the potatoes have a limited shelf life.)
  • Four 50-ml beakers
  • One large plastic beaker
  • One 25-ml graduated cylinder
  • Three ½-tsp measuring spoons
  • Three small plastic tubs with lids (8-oz size)
  • One 250-ml squirt bottle
  • 3% H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) (keep 4 liters on hand) —OR— 3% H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) (keep 4 liters on hand)
  • One strainer


  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Chemistry of Life

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation