Laid Back Lava Lamp

By: Danielle Combs, an OSU Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development in Highland County

Close up of lava lampHave you been looking for something new and exciting to do while at home?  Laid Back Lava Lamps are a fun way to learn something while performing a chemistry experiment.


  • See-through glass or jar (with smooth sides preferably)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Water
  • Alka-Seltzer fizzing tablet
  • Food coloring
  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen


Hypothesis: What do you think will happen?

  1. Pour vegetable oil in the container (3/4 of the way full)
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring
  3. Observe and record what you see happening.
  4. Add water till just below full
  5. Break the Alka-Seltzer tablet into quarters
  6. Place a piece of the Alka-Seltzer tablet into the vegetable oil mixture and watch.
  7. Observe and record what you see happening.


If you did not add the Alka-Seltzer tablet what do you think would happen?

What implications might this science challenge have in helping water quality specialists deal with run-off, spills, and other issues?

Review Editor: Margo Long, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Marion County


Lava Lamp (n.d.) Retrieved May 8th, 2020 from

Color Blob Test Tube Challenge (n.d.)  Retrieved May 8th, 2020 from


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