Bleeding Paper (page 2)

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Author: Alexa Bach

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather all materials.
  2. Use the white, yellow, or clear candle or crayon to write a secret message.
  3. Put on safety goggles and gloves. Lay goldenrod paper on a waterproof surface or on newspaper.
  4. Separate the substances to be tested based on your best guess at which are bases (bitter), acids (sour), and neutral (little taste).
  5. Make a list of all items you will test and leave room to make notes next to each name.
  6. Begin by coating a cotton ball or Q-tip in a suspected base and painting it on the goldenrod paper. On your piece of paper, write down what change you see to the paper (none, pink, red, very red).
  7. Let the paper dry for a minute or two. Take pictures of items next to the paper (orange slices, or a ketchup bottle) to record your results for the science fair.
  8. Select your first acid to test. Coat the cotton ball or Q-tip in the acid and paint it on the goldenrod paper. In your chart, write down what change you see to the paper (none, red begins to disappear, returns to yellow).
  9. Continue switching between basic and acidic items until you run out of items to test. At any point where the paper is yellow, try a neutral substance and record the reaction.
  10. At the end, examine your notes and make a list of the most basic items you tested (very red) and the most acidic items you tested (return the page to yellow). Line up the tested items in this order and take a picture for your science fair display! 
  11. Clean up all items and then remove safety goggles and gloves.

Hint: Some common bases are toothpaste, egg whites, and dishwashing liquid. Some common household acids are vinegar, citrus fruit, and ketchup. A very common neutral substance is water!


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