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Acids & Bases: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Patrick Zedrow

Patrick has taught intermediate science, language arts, and technology. He has a master's degree in educational technology.

Think of some of your favorite liquids that you love to drink. Have you ever wondered what makes them taste tangy or sweet? This lesson focuses on acids and bases, how to identify them, and the characteristics they have.

Liquid Particles in Acids and Bases

Every liquid is made of tiny particles that can be charged up and react differently, depending on the liquid. Some liquids are acids; their particles create an element called hydrogen, and they can taste sweet, tangy, or tart. There are many acids that you probably enjoy drinking, like lemonade or soda. Some other liquids are bases. A base has particles that create hydroxide, which has a very bitter taste. In this case, you probably would never want to drink a base!

Acids create hydrogen (H) and bases create hydroxide (OH)

Where are Acids and Bases?

Acids and bases are found all around your house. For example, if you open your pantry or refrigerator, you might see a lot of acids. Fruit juice, soda pop, vinegar, and milk are all examples of acids. The word acid actually comes from a Latin term meaning ''sour.'' Many materials, like sugar for instance, dissolve in acids.

Keep looking around your kitchen, perhaps under your sink, and you might see a lot of bases. Liquids like oven cleaner, dishwashing detergent, and baking soda are all bases. Bases can appear soapy or bubbly, and the tiny particles that they are made up of usually break down dirt or grime very well.

Liquids can rank anywhere from 1, which is an acid, to 14, which is a base, on the pH scale.

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