Welcome to the Wonder Laboratory

Welcome to the Wonder Laboratory

We’re so glad you’ve joined us in the bubbling, brewing, and oozing area of Camp! We’re getting down to the molecular level of things, exploring what makes solids, liquids, and gases the way they are!

Chemistry is the study of the composition and properties of substances and the change of matter. Chemistry often acts as a bridge, linking the sciences of physics, biology, and geology together.

Ever WONDERed what makes glow sticks glow or why gum loses its flavor? It’s time to bust out those safety goggles and put on your lab coat! We’re heading into the Wonder Laboratory!

Maker Activity

Can you use Chemistry to make money? Maybe not, but you can sure use Chemistry to make money clean. Try this activity to test the reactions of different solutions on old pennies. View the inspiration for this activity <a href="http://www.momto2poshlildivas.com/2012/02/penny-experiment.html" target="_blank">here</a>.

What you'll need

  • Old pennies (approximately 10 for each solution)
  • 3 clear cups
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Salt
  • Vinegar (or lemon juice)

Hands On!


Fill the first cup with plain tap water and add ten pennies. Next, fill the second cup with water and dish soap and add ten pennies. Next, fill the third cup with a ½ cup of vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt and add ten pennies.


After five minutes take out five pennies from each cup and compare. (Set aside the pennies from the vinegar and salt cup – DO NOT rinse.) After ten minutes take out the rest of the pennies from the cups. Compare the results.


Rinse the second set of pennies taken out of the vinegar and salt solution. Compare these pennies to the unrinsed pennies taken out earlier.

Wonderuptions: What solution cleaned the pennies the best? Why do you think one solution worked better than another? What happened to the unrinsed pennies from the vinegar and salt solution? What other solution might work to clean pennies?

Why does that happen?

The copper pennies combine with oxygen in the air to form copper oxide on the pennies . Copper oxide dissolves in a mixture of weak acid (table salt and vinegar). The unrinsed pennies turned blue-green because the vinegar and salt dissolve the copper-oxide layer and make it easier for the copper to join oxygen from the air and the chlorine from the salt to make a blue-green compound called malachite.


Recommended Books

Preschool - Age 8

Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson Will Hillenbrand

Ages 9 - 13

Scholastic Discover More: The Elements by Dan Green

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! by Adrian Dingle

Janice VanCleave's Chemistry for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work by Janice VanCleave

Fizz, Bubble & Flash!: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! by Anita Brandolini, Illustrated by Michael P. Kline

DK Eyewitness Books: Chemistry by Ann Newmark

Cool Chemistry Concoctions: 50 Formulas that Fizz, Foam, Splatter & Ooze by Joe Rhatigan and Veronika Gunter, Illustrated by Tom La Baff

Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Ages 14 and up

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History