• Do the “Halloween Reaction” demo. This is a variation of the traditional iodine clock reaction and includes an animation of the reaction.
  • Try “The Witches’ Potion” demonstration. This may capture their interest in acids and bases; you can explain the chemistry when you get to that unit.
  • Sal Trupia from the [email protected] suggested “If you would like to blow something up or out you can put a small amount of Calcium Carbide in a bottle top. Cut out a pumpkin and keep the eyes and mouth and nose in. Put a small hole in the back of the pumpkin for a match to ignite the acetylene gas. When the gas ignites there will be a loud bang and the parts of the face should shoot out. I would do it a few times prior to determine the appropriate amount of Calcium Carbide.”
  • Jean Maines from the NSTA Listserve contributed these very specific instructions for “Pumpkin Demos” (doc).
  • Try Steve Spangler’s “Oozing Pumpkin” demo, a Halloween version of his “Elephant’s Toothpaste” demo.


  • Michelle Rhodes of the HSChem Google Group contributed the link to this “Thanksgiving and Chemistry: What’s the Connection?” video.
  • Elnore Grow of the HSChem Google Group said he got this “Elements of Thanksgiving” (pdf) activity with this key (pdf) from a teacher in Colorado. The instructions are also in the key.


  • Make “Snow Globes” (doc) and demonstrate solubility, saturation, and supersaturation. This is a lab adapted from the “Benzoic Acid in a Bottle” (pdf) Flinn Scientific, Inc. Fax.
  • The “Candy Cane” (pdf) lab is an experiment intended for advanced chemistry students.
  • “The Case of the Christmas Cookie Mystery” (pdfis basically a white powders lab with teacher directions (pdf).
  • “Deck the Halls with Science” (pdf) is a chromatography lab to be used as Christmas decorations in the classroom.
  • Do this “Poinsettia Power” (doc) lab that uses the leaves of poinsettias as a chemical indicator.
  • “Blazing Christmas Candles” (doc) is a demonstration of chemical reactions with a holiday theme.
  • Use this worksheet (pdf) for the “Snowman Challenge” game. Use this master (pdf) for the front of the cards and this one (pdf) for the back of the cards.
  • Try this Flinn Scientific, Inc. “Ornament Making” (pdf) activity that involves redox reactions and metal reactivity.
  • In Flinn’s “The Littlest Christmas Tree” (pdf), students add a drop of clear solution to a microscope slide containing a tiny piece of copper and create a beautiful, silver-branched Christmas tree that grows before your very eyes!

Valentine’s Day

  • Try this Valentine’s Day lab (doc) with lab station instructions (doc).
  • In “Attar of Roses: A Valentine’s Day Laboratory Investigation” (doc), you attempt to isolate the compounds that make up the fragrance of a rose.
  • Or do the Flinn Scientific Inc. “The Vanishing Valentine” (pdf).

St. Patrick’s Day

  • In the Flinn Scientific, Inc. “St. Patrick’s Day” (pdf) demonstration, the gas supply for a burner is bubbled through a solution of boric acid in ethyl alcohol, a green color is imparted to the flame. This makes a spectacular demonstration on St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year!


  • Change the “Deck the Halls with Science” from a Christmas theme to Easter by using egg shaped cutouts “Easter Egg Chromatography” (doc).
  • Or try this “Chemistry with Easter Eggs” demo that is simpley the “Egg in the Bottle” demo. (Maybe you can color the egg before you peel it.)

Memorial Day or any Patriotic Holiday

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