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Iodine and Vitamin C Experiment (magic disappearing color experiment!)

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We recently made an iodine clock in the Jarring Science Club (which you can check out here), and we found that although that project is pretty complicated, there was a fun reaction that occurred along the way.

This reaction occurred when vitamin C reacted with iodine. We later found out that the iodine and vitamin C experiment is a fairly common chemistry experiment, but my kids felt like they had discovered something totally new when they realized this reaction could occur!

Learn how to do your own iodine and vitamin C experiment disappearing color experiment and wow family, friends, and neighbors this summer!

Keep reading to learn how to do your own magic disappearing color experiment and wow family, friends, and neighbors this summer!

If you like this experiment, you’ll want to check out our complete list of STEM activities for kids as well as our summer STEM activities list.

Magic Disappearing Color Experiment (no harsh chemicals)

Why does vitamin C turn iodine clear

Follow along to learn how to remove color from iodine using just vitamin C tablets! It looks like magic, but it is all science!

You’ll also want to check our our list of elementary science experiments and summer science experiments.

Why does vitamin C turn iodine clear?

Iodine is known in chemistry as an indicator. Indicators are chemicals that make observable changes when exposed to other chemicals.

In this case, iodine can bind to ascorbic acid (the vitamin C), which turns the iodine particles clear.

Bleach will also turn iodine clear, but it isn’t as safe as vitamin C and may stain clothing or burn the skin, which is why we like the vitamin C method!

vanishing color experiment

Safety note:

Even though the mixture will turn clear and look like regular water, the iodine doesn’t go anywhere, so this mixture is NOT safe to drink.

Dispose of the mixture properly down the drain once the experiment is over.

How to turn the iodine and vitamin C experiment into a STEM activity

Iodine and Vitamin C Experiment

This experiment is a science demonstration, meaning that there is no critical thinking applied to this activity.

However, by making a few adjustments to the activity you can turn it into a true science experimet or STEM activity.

For this to happen, you need variations and questions.

Kids can ask questions like, how much vitamin C is necessary to turn X amount of iodine clear, or how long will it take the vitamin C to turn the iodine clear.

You can also explore whether it is possible to turn the iodine back to brown or another color again by adding another material.

STEM activities are all about letting children guide their own curiosities within the scientific framework.

summer stem challenge cards

What you need for the dissappearing color experiment

You’ll need a few supplies for this experiment.

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How to Do the Iodine and Vitamin C Experiment

disappearing color science experiment

First, you’ll want to grind your vitamin C tablets into powder. Grind about 2-3 tablets. We used a mortar and pestle, but you can also just crush them in a bag with a rolling pin.

Next, add that powder to about a cup of water.

Fill your jar 3/4 of the way full of water. Add about 5 ml of iodine to your water to turn it a dark brown.

 iodine and vitamin C experiment

Pour the vitamin C water into the jar, and stir with your pipette. The brown color should turn clear within just a few seconds.

iodine and vitamin C experiment

If it doesn’t, then you haven’t added enough vitamin C liquid to the jar.

iodine and vitamin C experiment

You may need to grind another tablet to add, or you may need to add a few more drops of the mixture to the iodine water.

elementary stem challenge cards

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