Glowstick Temperature Experiment

The glowstick temperature experiment is a fascinating and engaging activity for a kids’ science class. It allows children to explore the relationship between temperature and the brightness of glowsticks. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct this experiment:

Materials Needed:

  1. Glowsticks (multiple, preferably of the same brand and type)
  2. Thermometer (digital or analog)
  3. Several clear plastic cups or containers
  4. Warm water
  5. Cold water
  6. Ice cubes
  7. Timer or clock
  8. Safety goggles (for extra safety)


  1. Introduction:
    • Begin by introducing the concept of chemical reactions and how they can be affected by temperature. Explain that glowsticks contain chemicals that produce light through a chemical reaction.
  2. Safety First:
    • Emphasize the importance of safety. Instruct the kids to wear safety goggles throughout the experiment, especially when handling the glowsticks.
  3. Preparation:
    • Make sure you have a control glowstick to compare the results with. Keep it in a separate container and label it as “Room Temperature.”
    • In each of the other containers, place one glowstick and add a small amount of warm water to one container and cold water (with ice cubes) to another. Leave one container at room temperature.
  4. Activation:
    • Activate all the glowsticks by bending and shaking them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Start a timer or note the time when the glowsticks are activated.
  5. Measurement:
    • Using a thermometer, measure and record the temperature of the warm water, cold water, and the room temperature container.
  6. Observation and Recording:
    • Place each activated glowstick in its respective container (warm, cold, or room temperature).
    • Ask the kids to observe and record the brightness of each glowstick at regular intervals, such as every 5 minutes.
    • Have them use a brightness scale (e.g., 1 to 5) to rate the glowstick’s brightness, with 1 being the dimmest and 5 being the brightest.
  7. Data Collection:
    • Continue to observe and record the glowstick brightness for at least 30 minutes or until there is a noticeable change in brightness.
  8. Analysis and Discussion:
    • After collecting data, bring the class together for a discussion. Ask the following questions:
      • Did the temperature of the water affect the brightness of the glowstick?
      • Which glowstick was the brightest, and which was the dimmest? Why?
      • What happens to the chemical reaction inside the glowstick when it is exposed to different temperatures?
      • What real-world applications can you think of for this concept (e.g., emergency glowsticks in cold weather)?
  9. Conclusion:
    • Summarize the findings and discuss how temperature can affect chemical reactions. Emphasize the practical applications of understanding this concept.
  10. Cleanup:
    • Safely dispose of the used glowsticks and any materials. Remind the kids to wash their hands thoroughly.

This experiment not only teaches kids about the relationship between temperature and chemical reactions but also encourages critical thinking and scientific observation skills. It’s an exciting way to explore basic principles of chemistry in a hands-on and visual manner.

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