Relief Teaching Ideas

Sharing ideas to help make relief teaching fun, enjoyable, and meaningful.

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Super Lemon Suds!

Science fun, with a little cleaning thrown in! 🙂

This simple science idea, showing the chemical reaction that occurs when you mix citric acid with bicarb soda, has the added fun of bubbles!

-Clear container or cup
-Measuring spoon
– Spoon or stirrer (I used a chopstick!)
– Liquid dish soap
– Bicarb soda
– Lemon cut in half

1. Put about 1 tsp of bicarb soda in cup.
2. Stir in about 1 tsp of dish soap.

3. Squeeze lemon juice into cup & give it a stir.
4. Watch the bubbles form & rise up!

When you mix citric acid (the lemon juice) with bicarb soda a chemical reaction occurs, creating carbon dioxide gas & water. The gas is seen as bubbles but when you add the dish soap it creates even more bubbles.

Students could test out what happens with different brands of dish soap, different amounts & ratios of the ingredients or what happens when you leave one of the ingredients out.
Students could also conduct an experiment on the cleaning power of the lemon/bicarb mixture.
After we finished making A LOT of bubbles we used the lemon scented mixture to clean the kitchen benches & sink.
If you did this experiment in the classroom the kids could wipe down their desks at the end of the lesson & it would leave the room smelling lemon fresh. Lemon is a safe, natural antibacterial cleaner!

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Black Pepper Science Trick

Here’s another easy but impressive science lesson that’s been around for a long time. Easy to replicate both at home & in the classroom.

All you need is:
Black Pepper
Bowl or plate
Dish Detergent


– Pour water into a plate or bowl.
-Shake some pepper onto the water.

-Dip your finger into the pepper and water. Nothing happens.

– Dip a different finger in (secretly dip it into some dish detergent before doing the trick).
-Watch as the pepper rushes to the edges of the bowl.


When you add detergent to water the surface tension of the water is lowered. Water usually beads up (you can show this to students by dropping some water on a coin) but when the surface tension is lowered, the water wants to spread out. As the water spreads out/flattens in the bowl, the pepper that is floating on top of the water is carried to the outer edge of the bowl.