Couch Potato LabLevels 10, 20, and 30

Elephants Toothpaste

First, you will need to download the Elephants Toothpaste lab manual, which can be found here:

Today we will examine what kind of toothpaste elephants like best. Just kidding! Our activity today relates to the rates of reactions. There are many factors that affect the rate at which a chemical reaction occurs. These include:

  • Concentration 
  • Temperature
  • Surface area
  • Catalyst
  • Solvent

To speed up a reaction, one must encourage the molecules involved to collide. This is known as collision theory. The more collisions, the fast the reaction! All the factors listed above increase the amount of collisions between molecules in a reaction. How fast do these molecules need to move? How do they collide?

In today’s activity, we will create a product from our reactants (the things involved in the reaction) which looks similar to toothpaste. However, a lot of product is generated, giving it the name “Elephants Toothpaste” because it would be enough for an elephant to use to brush their teeth!

Did you know elephants have, on average, 26 teeth? Their large tusks are actually incisors. Instead of growing baby teeth to be later replaced by adult teeth like many mammals, elephants actually undergo teeth cycles. These types of animals are known as polyphyodonts.

Saskatchewan Curriculum Connections: SCI10-CR4:Investigate the rates of chemical reactions, including factors that affect the rate. (b,c,h)

Check out what we did last time by clicking “Zoom Zoom – May 4th”, linked below.