Play > ChemMystery Activities to Do at Home

Detective Surelick
Properties of Acids, Bases and Neutrals

See related GEMS teacher's guide Of Cabbages and Chemistry

See related School Program
Of Cabbages and Chemistry


ChemMystery Activities to Do at Home

from the ChemMystery exhibit

Make Your Own Acid/Base Indicator
An Unusual Use for Footprints
Indentify Lip Prints
Make Voiceprints

Make Your Own Acid/Base Indicator

Red cabbage, blueberries, hydrangea flowers, and tumeric seeds are all acid/base indicators. Here's how you can make a red cabbage indicator.

Note: Be sure to have an adult help you cut and blend the cabbage.

  1. Cut up about one cup of red cabbage.

  2. Put cabbage in a blender with 2 cups of water, and blend at the highest setting.

  3. Strain cabbage pieces out, and keep the juice.

  4. Now your cabbage indicator is ready to mix with any safe liquids you want to test to see if it is acid or base. Test vinegar and baking soda, and notice the color changes.

    Also, you can make your own indicator paper by painting the cabbage juice on a piece of white absorbent paper (e.g., paper towel, coffee filter). Read more about acids, bases, and neutrals.


An Unusual Use for Footprints

Every person has unique footprints and toe prints. However, there are not many criminals who walk around barefoot, leaving footprint clues at the crime scene. So footprints are not used very often in solving crimes. There is another use for footprints as a unique means of identification. Look at the footprints below and see if you can guess what they are.


Identify Lip Prints

Lip prints are often left at crime scenes on, for example, glasses and cups. Here are the five most common types of lip prints.

branching grooves

diamond grooves

long vertical grooves

short vertical grooves

rectangular grooves

Grab a family member or friend and look at their lip prints. Which type are they?

The picture shows a baby's footprints, used by hospitals for indentification. back to footprints