Science Experiment

Check this out: Invisible Ink

We tried this experiment and at first it seemed like a big failure. The boys had different pieces of paper and they used lemon juice, milk and vinegar to write on them with a toothpick. We then waited for the papers to dry. I had marked each paper with a letter “L” for lemon juice and so on so we would know which liquid worked best. After the paper dried we put it over the heat source to see if the writing appeared. Well, it did NOT and it was disappointing! Actually my oldest got a little ill because it didn’t work. I tried to make this a teachable moment even though I was frustrated with the experiment and with my oldest =) So I’m sure I might have sounded a little frustrated when I explained to the kids that this is part of Science. Now we need to ask ourselves why we think it didn’t work, is there anything we can do differently to get the results we want? I was thinking that maybe the kids didn’t get enough liquid on the paper. So I grabbed some paper and with lemon juice I soaked the paper when I was making a line and my youngest made two spots also on the paper. The results we had you can see in the last picture above. I think this was a good lesson for all of us so even though it didn’t work really well I’m glad we did it. I encourage you to try it with your kids you may get a better result than we did. If you can get it to work this is something your kids could have a lot of fun with!!
Here is a quote from the article that includes this experiment @ How Stuff Works
What Happened?
The acid in the lemon juice breaks down the cellulose of the paper into sugars. The heat supplied tends to caramelize the sugars, making them brown and revealing the secret writing. Repeat this activity with vinegar or milk to find out which makes the best invisible ink.
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