Parkdale: Budding Scientists Reveal Secret Message

Jodi Schwartz, B.A.S.E. Animator

Parkdale Budding Scientists were at it again! Today they were also magicians: they created messages that disappeared, and used science to make them reappear.

First, Miss Jodi gave everyone a piece of blank paper. In a bowl, she mixed ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water. She prepared three other bowls so that all students could participate. Students used Q-tips as paintbrushes and the baking soda and water mixture as paint to create pictures and messages.

While the students waited for their creations to dry, Miss Jodi taught them how to invent their own secret codes by drawing a different image next to each letter of the alphabet on a blank sheet of paper. For example, the letter A could be symbolized by a heart, the letter B by a smiley face, and so on. Next, students used their secret codes to write out their names as well as different messages. Their names ended up looking like a series of pictures placed next to each other, but could be “read” by following the invented code.

As the pictures and messages dried, the papers appeared blank once again. Then came the magic! Miss Jodi passed around a cup of grape juice and paint brushes. She instructed the students to use the grape juice and paint brushes to cover the illustrations and messages they had painted with the baking soda and water mixture. Just like magic, the pictures reappeared! This is because baking soda is a base and grape juice is an acid. When you mix bases and acids together, they create chemical reactions: in the baking soda and vinegar volcanoes experiment they explode, in the C02 balloon inflation experiment they create carbon dioxide and inflate balloons and, in this case, they reveal secret messages. So neat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s