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Illuminations on Rates of Reactions

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    The Exploratorium

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Illuminations on Rates of Reactions

In this activity, learners investigate the speed of chemical reactions with light sticks. Learners discover that reactions can be sped up or slowed down due to temperature changes.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Light sticks (any color)
  • Goggles
  • Aprons
  • Lots of paper towels
  • Clear cups
  • Source of ice water and very hot water
  • Scissors


  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Solutions
    • Light and Optics
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2003


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