Science at Home

Arizona Science Center and #SariOnScience are here to be your resource for bringing science to life at home. From crafts to experiments, we’re here to be your resource for fun science activities that spark curiosity and motivate learning! Materials are easy to find, most activities take an hour or less, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning is limitless.

Hydrogen Peroxide Volcano


This volcano is more reactive than a standard vinegar and baking soda volcano.

Proper protective gear and parental supervision are absolutely necessary.

The hydrogen peroxide volcano, also called “Elephant Toothpaste” demonstrates how a catalyst works in chemistry. Hydrogen peroxide naturally wants to break down into water and oxygen (2H2O2 --› 2H2O + O2). This process usually happens too slowly to be easily perceived and this is where our catalyst comes in. In this case, our catalyst is the yeast which will help to speed up the decomposition process.

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Three(3) Tablespoons of room temperature water in a bowl
One (1) Packet dry yeast
One (1) Recycled water or soda bottle
One (1) Tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap
One (1) Funnel
One (1) Stir stick (popsicle stick works fine)
One (1) Safety goggles per person participating
One (1) Pair of rubber gloves per person participating
Half (1/2) Cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
Optional: Food coloring

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1. Rinse bottle thoroughly, and place upright in the sink
2. Use the funnel to add hydrogen peroxide to bottle
3. If you would like, you can add 5-8 drops of food coloring to the bottle
4. Add dishwashing liquid and gently agitate mixture by swirling and not forming bubbles
5. Add yeast to the bowl of room temperature water, mix with the stir stick for 30 seconds (it should become the consistency of melted ice cream)
6. Use the funnel to add yeast mixture to hydrogen peroxide mixture
7. Remove the funnel and watch the reaction!

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Guiding Questions

1. This reaction is exothermic which means it produces heat. Do you see steam?
2. Try the experiment again in a different container. Does the size of the container make a difference?