Engaging Students with Electrochemistry… and Goldenrod Paper


Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

I’m in love with goldenrod paper.  I’ve loved it for a long time.  In my never-ending quest to emotionally entangle my students in the content of our science curriculum, Color-Changing Goldenrod Paper provides a long-lasting entanglement.

If you’ve never done the bloody handprint goldenrod paper demo with your students, you are truly missing out—and so are they)!  This is the most engaging “engage” part of the 5 E’s I’ve ever experienced.  I like to do the bloody handprint demo around Halloween, but we don’t do acid/base chemistry until February.  That’s a long time to wonder, ponder and try to figure out exactly what is happening.  But that’s for another blog post.

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Goldenrod Paper Does WHAT?!


Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.by Ted Beyer

We love our customers, and not just because they help keep the lights on!  Educational Innovations’ customers share amazing things with us all the time.  In fact, some of our best products have been created as a result of our customers’ discoveries, suggestions, or requests.

Recently, we received a comment on our website regarding our color-changing goldenrod paper.  It prompted us to try a brand-new experiment that we think you’ll enjoy.

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I Was a Science Convention Newbie


donna_giachettiBy: Donna Giachetti

 First Day of School Jitters

Heading to LaGuardia airport for my first science convention, I was reminded of my first day of kindergarten.  Instead of a shiny new lunchbox, I toted a battered old suitcase but otherwise, it felt much the same.  My first convention!  Would I make friends?  Would there be name tags?  Bathroom breaks?  Worst of all, would I get lost?

When I joined Educational Innovations in September 2014, my new colleagues tried to describe the magic and mayhem that occurs at science conventions.  “You’ll see,” I heard more than once.  They tossed around terms like “regionals” and “nationals” as if they were talking about March Madness.

I listened to their stories wondering when I would get my turn to become part of the larger-than-life Educational Innovations convention crew.  And then, in mid-November, my moment arrived.  CAST—the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching—would be my initiation into the world of science teachers.

Dallas, Here We Come!

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Desperately Seeking Goldenrod Paper


donna_giachettiby: Donna Giachetti

 In a February 2014 blog post we said goodbye to the last of our goldenrod paper supply, a beloved staple in many science teachers’ classrooms.

Truthfully, we can’t count how many times in these past months we’ve had to tell customers that our stock was gone—and unlikely to ever be replenished since the manufacturers had permanently ceased production.

Sure, it may not seem like such a big deal to the uninitiated.  Stationery fashions come and go, after all.

But this was not just colored paper—it was G O L D E N R O D !  If anything can prove the old idiom that appearances are sometimes deceiving, this was the stuff.

goldenrod paper SM-925

Goldenrod paper in action

Assuming you dampened a sheet with a bit of plain water… well, you’d be looking at some soggy golden-yellow paper. But try spraying it with a base solution such as washing soda or Windex® and stand back! Everywhere the liquid touched, the paper instantly turned bright red. (Blood red, in fact.) Immerse the paper in vinegar and it “magically” shifted back to its original color!

Customers lamented the loss, loudly and often. “How can it be gone?” they asked.  “Don’t you even have a few sheets left?”  They understood that our goldenrod paper was a guaranteed show-stopper—whether their audience was toddlers, teens or tenured educators.

Knowing this terrible shock had to be softened, we came up with our own recipe for Do-It-Yourself goldenrod paper, involving heaps of tumeric (a bright-yellow spice) and several hours of mess.  It wasn’t the same as our goldenrod paper, but in a pinch it would do.

Until now!

If you haven’t already figured it out, take another look at the first letters of the paragraphs above.

IT’S BACK!

Let the rejoicing—and experimenting—begin.

Reunited... and it feels so good!

Reunited… and it feels so good!

For a refresher course in all the wonderful experiments you can do to captivate students of all ages with a simple sheet of goldenrod paper, we refer you to master teacher Ron Perkins’ blog of simple and advanced activities. We also offer free lesson ideas online.  (Just scroll down to the tab marked “Lesson Ideas.”)

And don’t forget to stock up!

Finally, check out our new video below—consider it a little preview of some of the fun you can have with our wonderful goldenrod paper. Every time we watch it, we start humming Peaches & Herb’s classic, “Reunited (and It Feels So Good).”

PS: Is it our imagination, or does the color of that stamp on their album cover look a bit like goldenrod?

 

 


How to Make Goldenrod Paper


Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

Gone But Not Forgotten

Goldenrod PaperMany years ago at Educational Innovations we had heard rumors that our wonderful goldenrod paper that served as an easy to find indicator paper was being discontinued for environmental reasons.  If you haven’t seen it before, it is was a golden-yellow paper that turned a deep red when it came in contact with a base like washing soda or Windex®.  The process was reversed if an acid such as vinegar was sprayed on the paper.

Apparently, because the fibers in the paper were saturated with golden colored dye, Goldenrod paper was not able to be recycled.  In the process of turning the paper back into a pulpy mixture, the golden dye would color all the other paper pulp that was also being recycled.  Think of it as the bright red shirt in a washing machine filled with whites…

Knowing that shortly it would be impossible to find, and also knowing that teachers around the world loved this paper, Educational Innovations bought up as much as we could feasibly fit in our warehouse.  Some five years later, we finally ran out, and we had not been able to find a supplier for it.

Since it is still referenced in many science journals, we have decided that teachers might be interested in making their own goldenrod paper to use with their students.

(Update Aug. 2015 – Goldenrod Paper is back!  You can still make it if you like, however if you want to purchase it, please use this link.)

 How to Make Goldenrod Paper –

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