Powder Particulars

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In this introductory activity and demonstration, learners are introduced to the concept that different substances react chemically in characteristic ways. First learners compare the way baking soda and baking powder react with vinegar. Then they see dramatic color changes when red cabbage indicator is added to cream of tartar and laundry detergent. From this, learners are ready to identify unknown powders based on their reactive properties. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Vinegar
  • 4 Small cups
  • Red cabbage leaves
  • Cream of tartar
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Zip-closing plastic bag (quart-size, storage-grade)
  • 3 Clear plastic cups
  • 1/8 Teaspoon
  • Student Activity Sheet


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

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:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


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


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2007