Category: Holidays. Last updated June 20, 2023.

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Many Thanksgiving traditions wouldn’t be possible without the important work of chemistry. From the dinner table to the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade, learn how Thanksgiving and chemistry are connected.


  1. Activities
  2. Demos
  3. Labs
  4. Articles


  • Food Chemistry Infographic from AACT
    Create an infographic to share about the chemical content and nutritional value of favorite holiday foods!


  • Energy in Hot and Cold Packs from AACT
    Football and Thanksgiving go “hand in hand” and if you live up north, you probably need hand warmer during the game! With this demonstration, observe temperature changes in chemical hot and cold packs and discuss processes of endothermic and exothermic changes.
  • Inflating a Balloon with Chemistry from AACT
    The balloons that fly in the Thanksgiving Day Parade are filled with helium, but balloons can be filled with other gases. In this demo, observe a reaction between acetic acid and sodium that causes a balloon to inflate.


  • As Easy as Pie from AACT
    Use chemical and physical properties to identify an unknown powder in this “who done it” lab activity.
  • How Quickly Does Your Potato Cool? from Vernier Science
    Have you ever sat down to a nice, hot Thanksgiving dinner only to find that the potatoes have gotten cold while things were readied? Does the size of the potatoes affect how long they stay hot?


  • How Pop-Up turkey Timers Work from How Stuff Works
    Check out the nifty material science behind the pop-up turkey timer, signaling to you the bird is done.
  • Why Thanksgiving Dinners Makes You So Sleepy from ThoughtCo.
    L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is the culprit for you falling asleep after Thanksgiving dinner, right?
  • The Chemistry of Thanksgiving Dinner from Ward’s Science
    You probably stuff yourself silly at Thanksgiving – Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy. But Thanksgiving isn’t a day off from science, there’s lots of chemistry in everyone’s