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Universal Indicator Rainbow Trout

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    American Chemical Society

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Universal Indicator Rainbow Trout

In this activity on page 2 of the PDF, learners discover how color changes can help scientists distinguish between acids and bases. Learners create colorful rainbow trout artwork using universal indicator solution and various household liquids. Safety note: learners must wear safety goggles.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Universal indicator solution (available from chemical supply houses)
  • Lemon juice
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Index card or piece of acid-free cardstock with non-shiny finish
  • Rainbow trout pattern
  • Paintbrush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Water
  • 3 small plastic cups
  • Paper towels
  • Pencil, pen
  • Scissors
  • Teaspoon
  • Chemical safety goggles


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Solutions
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Office of Community Activities, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2001


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