I shared Medieval Homeschool History – 4 Surefire Ways to Beat a Boring Study when we started using Beautiful Feet living history books. We have been loving reading about the Middle Ages, but I wanted to add some science in with our history and reading.
What was the forerunner of chemistry in the Middle Ages?
Although the Middle Ages is not really known for its scientific discovery, the ‘science’ of alchemy was a popular idea.
Trying to turn different base metals into gold I’m sure kept early alchemists busy discovering new things.
Today, I thought I would do some basic chemistry with Tiny so that he understands how early alchemist felt.
Alchemy was probably the forerunner to chemistry today.Though Tiny now knows that he can’t turn egg yolks into gold, he used to think about that.
However, he is always up for some fun chemistry.
Medieval Chemistry and Homeschool History
Look at this easy hands-on activity to do when learning about Medieval history. Color changing is about as close to gold changing as we get to today.
Grab these items.
- 5 small jars
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
- sprite or I used diet 7up
- cream of tartar
- baking soda
- lemons or lemon juice
- big microwavable bowl
After Tiny grabbed everything, I used half of a head of red cabbage and put enough water to cover it somewhat.
Then, we put the bowl in the microwave for about 10 minutes.
While the cabbage is in the microwave, Tiny put a 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar in one jar, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice in one jar and we repeated this for each item.
One ingredient in each jar.
When the time was up for the red cabbage in the microwave, I used a colander to put on top of the pitcher and strained the juice. (Whoops, ignore my morning glass of cold iced coffee. I do love my coffee. )
Since the water is hot, it makes it easier to experiment if your kid can pour it into each jar using a small pitcher.
Because the cabbage juice is a ph balance indicator, each ingredient will turn different colors depending on it’s acidity or alkalinity.
Water has a ph balance of 7 and acids will have a lower number and alkaline items will have a higher number.
For example the lemons have a low number and the baking soda turned blue-ish because it has high alkaline.
Look at this nifty scale for understanding about ph balance.
You can experiment with more ingredients. Just remember this is chemistry so be sure you know what you’re doing because it can be dangerous combining ingredients.
I felt pretty comfortable with these things because I did them with my oldest kids.
However, there is nothing like your youngest child being able to do the things he had just watched his older siblings doing when he was little.
Besides, this fun activity helps Tiny to get into the spirit of discovery like they did in the Medieval times.
We used Beautiful Feet’s Medieval history because we love living literature!
Can you add a bit of chemistry to your study of Medieval history?
Also, look at Medieval History for Homeschool Middle School.
Hugs and love ya,
Look at how we used Beautiful Feet before in When We Used Beautiful Feet Books as our History Spine and also look at How to Use a History Spine to Build Your Study of History.