Reaction: Yes or No?

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In this activity, learners mix ingredients in a plastic bag, and then identify three characteristics of a chemical reaction: production of heat, color change, and production of a gas. Turmeric, a common spice in curry, is used as the color indicator in the reaction. Learners will also gain an understanding of the making or breaking of chemical bonds involved in chemical reactions. For safety reasons, this activity works best as a demonstration for younger audiences. This activity includes two extensions on pages 10 and 11. 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:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

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

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • plastic spoons
  • turmeric (in spice aisle)
  • baking soda
  • calcium chloride (hardware stores)
  • isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing alcohol) 70%-90%
  • plastic cups, 8 oz.
  • sealing plastic bags (e.g., Ziploc)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • hear
  • 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