Source: Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA

        Chemistry is a scary subject to many.  However, we eat, drink and use chemicals but do not know much about them.   In order to understand our environment, we must understand chemistry.  In order to take care of our environment or to clean it up, we have to apply chemistry.  To help dispel chemophobia, here I will demonstrate some basic concepts of chemistry using commonly available chemicals found in the supermarkets and hardware stores. These demonstrations are designed according to my 9-R principles: Reinforce concepts, Rouse interest, Relevant, Reduce fear, Reaily available, Relatively inexpensive, Reltively safe, Reduced preparation time, Reduced disposal problems.  Instructions and explanations are written with non-technical readers in mind, and no chemical formulas and equations are used.
                You can do these demonstrations and or experiments yourself at home by following the instructions and safety precautions given.  You should also read the American Chemical Society Safety Guidlines.  Always wear goggles to protect your eyes, and never eat, drink or taste any of the chemicals and solutions. Some of these demonstrations can be presented in a magic show format.  I hope you enjoy them and learn from them.  More detailed information and more technical explanations can be found in Chemical Magic from the Grocery Store by Andy Sae (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1996).   
                       Commercial products used in these demonstrations do not constitute endorsments by the author.  Choices are made on the basis of active ingredients, appropriate chemical and physical properties, and the 9 R's mentioned above.  
 Andy Sae 
 Aug. 2008