pH Scale Games & Activities

Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

Getting ready for your unit on acids and bases? These interactive, hands-on activities and games will help bring the pH scale to life for your middle or high school students.

Classroom pH Scale


  • 1 piece of green paper
  • 7 pieces of pink paper
  • 7 pieces of blue paper
  • Marker
  • Painter's tape
  • Laminated pictures of common objects (at least one per student). Some examples are:
    • Baking soda
    • Battery acid
    • Black coffee
    • Bleach
    • Drain cleaner
    • Milk
    • Ocean water
    • Orange juice
    • Red wine
    • Soda
    • Vinegar
    • Water
    • Window cleaner


This activity is a great starter for a lesson on the pH scale. Depending on your students' abilities, it can be done on the very first day, or you can wait a few days to give your students more background.

Write the numbers 0-14 on the pieces of paper, one number per page, large enough that the numbers can be seen from across the room. Write numbers 0-6 on pink paper, 7 on green, and 8-14 on blue. Tape these numbers, in order, along one wall of your classroom. As students enter your room, hand them one of the laminated pictures and a piece of tape. Ask students to place the picture wherever they think it belongs on the pH scale.

Once all the pictures have been placed on the scale, ask the class if they think any changes should be made. Move the pictures according to the students' suggestions. As you proceed with the lesson for the day, continue to make corrections to the scale as needed. By the end of the class, all of the pictures should be in their appropriate positions. Leave the scale up for the remainder of the unit so students have a reference if they need it.

pH Cut and Paste


  • Copies of a pH scale that includes the concentration of H+ ions (one per student)
  • Copies of a list of common, recognizable items (one per student)
    • Ammonia
    • Baking soda
    • Battery acid
    • Bleach
    • Distilled water
    • Drain cleaner
    • Egg white
    • Lemon juice
    • Lemon-lime soda
    • Liquid soap
    • Milk
    • Rain water
    • Stomach acid
    • Vinegar
    • Window cleaner
  • Copies of clues (one per student)
  • Scissors
  • Glue


In this activity, students create their own pH scale to keep in their binder. Hand out all of the materials and tell students to cut out each of the household objects. Using the clues provided, they should figure out where on the pH scale each of the items belongs, and then paste the item next to the appropriate number on their scale. Remind students to figure out the correct positions for all of the objects BEFORE they start pasting!

Possible clues for this activity are:

  • Distilled water is perfectly neutral.
  • The most acidic item helps you power your flashlight.
  • The most basic item unclogs your sink.
  • Ammonia has 100 times the concentration of H+ ions as drain cleaner.
  • Milk is more acidic than distilled water, but less acidic than rain water.
  • Vinegar has 1000 times the concentration of H+ ions as milk.
  • Egg white is more acidic than baking soda and more basic than distilled water.
  • The items at 10 and 11 are both cleaning products.
  • The item at number 3 is part of a tasty salad dressing.
  • Lemon-lime soda is more acidic than rainwater, but less acidic than vinegar.
  • The item at number 13 helps keep your socks white.
  • Baking soda has 10 times the concentration of H+ ions as window cleaner, and 100 times the amount of H+ ions as liquid soap.
  • The acid found at number 1 helps you digest the acid found at number 2.

The final product would be as follows:

Item pH H+ Concentration
Battery acid 0 10,000,000
Stomach acid 1 1,000,000
Lemon juice 2 100,000
Vinegar 3 10,000
Lemon-lime soda 4 1,000
Rain water 5 100
Milk 6 10
Distilled water 7 1
Egg white 8 1/10
Baking soda 9 1/100
Window cleaner 10 1/1,000
Liquid soap 11 1/10,000
Ammonia 12 1/100,000
Bleach 13 1/1,000,000
Drain cleaner 14 1/10,000,000

Cabbage Juice pH Scale


  • Red cabbage
  • Knife or blender
  • 2L of distilled, boiling water
  • Sieve
  • Large glass mixing bowl or beaker
  • White butcher paper
  • Liquids for students:
    • Baking soda dissolved in distilled water (1tsp of baking soda per 80mL of water)
    • Distilled water
    • Egg white
    • Lemon juice
    • Lemon-lime soda
    • Liquid soap
    • Milk
    • Rain water
    • Vinegar
    • Window cleaner
  • Liquids for teacher demonstration:
    • Ammonia
    • Bleach
    • Drain Cleaner or sodium hydroxide - 1N
    • Hydrochloric acid - 0.1N
  • 50mL beakers or 3oz clear plastic cups
  • Pipettes or plastic droppers
  • Marking pen or grease pencil


This activity requires some preparation before class time. First, make the cabbage juice by chopping or blending the red cabbage and boiling it in 2L of distilled water for 15 minutes. Pour the cabbage mixture over the sieve into the large glass bowl to separate the juice from the solids.

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