Science Club: Homemade Lava Lamps

This week in Science Club we made lava lamps. It turned out really cool and the kids loved it.

Materials Needed: Water bottle, vegetable oil, food coloring, funnel, and alka seltzer tablets. 
             I used 12 oz water bottles and bought 1 gallon of vegetable oil. (This was enough vegetable oil
             to do 15 bottles. ) 

    1) Drink or pour out 2/3 of the water. Leaving 1/3 still in the bottle. 
    2) Using the funnel, fill the bottle back to the top with vegetable oil.
        (I didn't fill all the way to the top)
    3) Put 8-12 drops of your choice of food coloring. Don't shake. Let the drops drop on their own.
        (It's cool to watch.)  
    4) After the food coloring has colored the water, place 1/6 of a tablet into the bottle. 
    5) Watch the bubbles! 
    6) When the bubbles stop you can add another piece of tablet and it will bubble again. 

Here are some pictures of the finished product! 

Green turned out great! 


Red, but it kinda looks like orange 

Yellow: It works, but not as pretty as the darker colors! 


  1. Man o man my students would LOVE to do this! Thanks for the idea! Just found your blog and am really enjoying your posts. I've nominated your for an award and have a FREEBIE for you as well. Please stop by my blog to pick them up.
    :0) Melissa
    More Time 2 Teach

  2. Just wondering what the science part of the experiment is? Is there a learning objective?

  3. Yes- it's a good way to introduce density although it's not part of 4th grades NGSS, it's still a cool STEM activity-
    The oil floats on top of the water because it is less dense or lighter than water. The food coloring has the same density as the water so it sink through the oil and mixes with the water. When you add the tablet it sinks to the bottom then starts to dissolve. As it dissolves it makes gas, carbon dioxide. Gas or air, is lighter than water so it floats to the top. The air bubbles bring some colored water with them to the top. When the air comes out of the colored water blob, the water gets heavy again and sinks. It does this over and over again until the tablet is completely dissolved.


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