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Gift From God – Scientific Object Lesson

The Mad Scientist Presents: MAD ABOUT JESUS: Scientific Object Lessons to Teach Biblical Truths By Daniel A. Briere

Object Lesson 13: “Gift From God”

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Eleanor Powell


God gives each of us talents. Being a true Christian means using these God-given gifts to do the work God is calling us to do. For what we are is God’s gift to us. What we aspire to become is our gift back to God. In this experiment, ordinary water (H2O) does not have the ability to expand even when stimulated by a catalyst. However, with the simple addition of one molecule of oxygen H2O becomes H2O2. Now with this gift from God, the addition of a catalyst will enable the ‘water’ to expand dozens of times its original size.


What is your gift from God?
What is the catalyst?


“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:6

“To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:15


2 large clear vases with narrow openings < 2 inches (e.g. empty 2-liter bottles)
1 cup of 20-volume or 40-volume hydrogen peroxide (beauty supply store)
1 cup of water
Dish washing liquid (a few drops – Dawn works well)
2 packages of dried yeast
Clear glass containing 1 cup of warm water
Foil cake pan or other container with high walls (needed to contain the foam)
Towel (to clean up foam from tables, etc)
Funnel (optional depending on the diameter of the clear vases)
Printouts of chemical structure of water (H2O) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
Pieces of colored cardboard (optional)
Food coloring (optional)


While the experiment used in this object lesson results in harmless bubbles of oxygen, soap, and water that can be played with by kids, prior to the addition of the yeast the hydrogen peroxide itself may be harmful if swallowed and can cause eye irritation, especially with the higher concentrations found in 20-volume and 40-volume. Proper precautions should be taken. Under no circumstances shall ‘Mad About Jesus Laboratories’ be liable for any damages or injury that result from the use of, or misuse of, this or any other object lesson or experiment. The use of this experiment is at your own risk. For future details please note the legal disclaimer on the website (www.madaboutjesus.net).


Prior to the lesson print out the chemical structure of water “H2O” on a large piece of water. Do the same with the chemical structure of hydrogen peroxide “H2O2”. Do not put the names on the paper, only the formulas. Both these can be pasted to color cardboard for an easier and nicer presentation.

Place the foil cake pan in the center of the display table. One of the clear vases should be placed in the center of the cake pan. The hydrogen peroxide can then be added to this vase. Food coloring can be added as well. A few drops of dish soap complete the preparation of the ‘water’. In the second vase, add 1 cup of water, food coloring if desired, and a few drops of soap. Place this vase just to the left of the cake pan on the display table. Add one package of dry yeast to ½ cup of warm water in a glass and mix until no pellets remain (will become a light brown murky liquid). Put this yeast suspension to the right of the cake pan on the display table. The funnel (optional) should be put on the display table within reach.


Mixing hydrogen peroxide, yeast, and soap results in bubbles. The resulting foam quickly fills the vase and then starts to pour out of the bottle and into the pan. After a few seconds, the foam starts to come out in a continuous stream that resembles toothpaste, hence the name often given to this experiment, elephant toothpaste. The foam is safe to touch and handle, as it is just soap, water, and oxygen. The foam and the vase will be warm to the touch as this reaction creates heat (exothermic).


Yeast, along with many other types of organisms, contains an enzyme (biological catalyst) known as catalase. As soon as catalyst comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) it causes it to break down into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2). The soap added to the hydrogen peroxide and yeast mixture traps the gas and results in foam, lots of it. To prove the bubbles contain oxygen, one could light the end of a wooden stick, blow out the flame and insert the stick, still with glowing embers, into the foam. The stick will re-light.



1. “Hey kids.”
2. “Today we are going to explore how we can use the gifts God has given us.”
3. “For the bible says in Romans 12:6 that ‘we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.'”
4. “We will also see a very cool demonstration at the end.”
5. “But first, let’s talk about what God wants us to do with these gifts.”

Parable of the talents

1. “Let’s go to the bible to find out.”
2. “In Matthew chapter 25 versus 14 to 29 we read that ‘. . . A man going on a journey . . . called his servants and entrusted his property to them.'”
3. “To one he gave five talents (more than $5000) of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.”
4. “Then he went on his journey.”
5. “The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.”
6. “So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.”
7. “But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”
8. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.”
9. “The man who had received the five talents brought the other five.”
10. “‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents.'”
11. “‘See, I have gained five more.'”
12. “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!”
13. “‘You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.'”
14. “‘Come and share your master’s happiness!'”
15. “The man with the two talents also came.”
16. “‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'”
17. “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!'”
18. “‘You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.'”
19. “‘Come and share your master’s happiness!'”
20. “Then the man who had received the one talent came.”
21. “‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed'”
22. “‘So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.'”
23. “‘See, here is what belongs to you.'”
24. “‘His master replied, ‘you wicked, lazy servant!'”
25. “‘So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?'”
26. “‘Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.'”
27. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'”
28. “‘For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.'”
29. “‘Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.'”

Parable meaning

30. “So, what does this parable say we need to do with our talents, our gifts?” Wait for a response.
31. “Well, I think that it says we need to use the talents or abilities God has given us to give back to him more than he invested in us.”

Your gift

32. “So, can anyone suggest a gift that God has given you?” Wait a few seconds for response.
33. “Well, how many of you consider yourself to be a good artist?”
34. “Come on, who likes to do art?” Watch as kids raise their hands.
35. “How about speaking in public?”
36. “Who is good at talking with people?” Watch as kids raise their hands.
37. “How about building things.”
38. “Who is good with their hands?” Watch as kids raise their hands.
39. “How about science?”
40. “How many of you are good at science?” Watch as kids raise their hands.
41. “You see these are just a few of the gifts God has given us.”
42. “There are so many different types of gifts that if I asked enough questions, I know every one of you would raise your hands at least once.”
43. “But, to those that raised their hands for these few examples, perhaps you should consider starting a career as an artist, a public speaker, a carpenter, or even a scientist?”
44. “You could use your gift as an artist to be a painter or even an architect.”
45. “You could use your gift as a good builder to be a carpenter.”
46. “You could use your gift of public speaking to be a politician.”
47. “You could use your gift as a scientist to try to find new medicines for sick people.”
48. “All of these could create a very nice life for you.”

Your gift back

49. “But what does it do for God?”
50. “Remember, He gave you this gift.”
51. “Perhaps there is a way to use your gift for God as the parable says.”
52. “But, how can you use these gifts for God?”
53. “Well, why don’t you ask the architects who designed the building we are sitting in?”
54. “They were given the gift of being a good artist by God and they used it for His purpose.”
55. “Why don’t you ask the carpenters, the drywallers, the electricians, and the plumbers who will soon fill these halls when the new addition is built?”
56. “They were each given the gift of being good with their hands by God and they will use it for His purpose.”
57. “Why don’t you ask our ministry staff, Jeff, John, Tim, and Kelly?”
58. “They were each given the gift of being good public speakers, good musicians, and good with kids, and they will use it for His purpose.”
59. “Well, why don’t you ask me?”
60. “I was given the gift of being good at science by God and I WILL do it for His purpose.”

My story

61. “So, since I am here, let me tell you my story.”
62. “I have always enjoyed science and I was good at it.”
63. “Once I entered high school, I knew I would make a career in science.”
64. “After spending many years in school, I now work for a large medical company and even teach part-time.”
65. “This ability to do and understand science has rewarded me well.”
66. “But what has it done for God?”
67. “I never really asked that question before, at least not beyond the money I donate to the Church.”
68. “That was until Kelly came to me in August of 2007 and asked if I would be interested in starting a new program at the church involving a ‘mad scientist’.”
69. “At that moment, I started to use my gift as a scientist for God.”
70. “Kelly was the catalyst that got me started.”
71. “Now I use these talents to not only teach you these lessons, but to help spread these lessons around the world on a website.”
72. “My talent for science has become a ministry for God’s glory.”

Experiment introduction

73. “Today, I want to show you an experiment that will show you that while each of us has gifts from God, sometimes it takes something very special to realize it.”
74. “In science we call that a catalyst.”
75. “Now for me, that catalyst was when Kelly asked me to help with the children’s ministry.”
76. “For you, it may be a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or someone you have yet to meet who, empowered by the spirit of God, provides the way to use your gifts for God.”
77. “Or it may be simply a call directly from God.”
78. “Once you find your catalyst, your gift will allow you to do amazing things all for His glory.”
79. “For all your talents, all your abilities are from God.”
80. “What you decide to do with these gifts are up to you.”
81. “However, if you use them as He intended, this becomes your gift back to God.”

Elephant toothpaste – Part 1

82. “In front of you I have a container filled with a clear liquid.” Show the container filled with ordinary water (left of the cake pan).
83. “Can anyone guess what the liquid is?” Wait for a response.
84. “I will give you a clue.”
85. “Here is the chemical formula.” Show the printout with ‘H2O’
86. “Can anyone guess what the liquid is now?” Wait for a response.
87. “Yes, it is water.”
88. “Ordinary water.”
89. “Two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.” Point to the ‘H’ (hydrogen) and ‘O’ (oxygen) in the printout.
90. “Now, let’s add the catalyst.” Slowly pour ½ of the yeast mixture into the vase containing the water. Keep half in the glass. Pause for a few seconds.
91. “Oh no, nothing is happening.” Show concern like the experiment did not work as expected.
92. “Oh wait; perhaps this water did not have that gift from God.”
93. “Remember, Romans 12:6 says ‘we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.'”
94. “So this water must have a different gift, a different purpose.”

Elephant toothpaste – Part 2

95. “Ok, here is another clear liquid.”
96. “Can anyone guess what this liquid is?” Wait for a response.
97. “I will give you a clue.”
98. “Here is the chemical formula.” Show the printout with ‘H2O2′
99. “It looks just like ordinary water, but there is something different about this ‘water'”
100. “What makes this ‘water’ different from the water we used before?” Show both the formula for water (H2O) as well as the formula for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Wait for a response.
101. “Yes, see the extra oxygen.”
102. “Ordinary water has two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.” Show the printout with ‘H2O’ and point out the molecules.
103. “This liquid has two hydrogen molecules and two oxygen molecules.” Show the printout with ‘H2O2′ and point out the molecules, especially the second oxygen.
104. “So, this ‘water’ has a special gift, a gift from God.”
105. “Now, what do we need to?”
106. “Oh yes, we need a catalyst.”
107. “We need this catalyst to stimulate the ‘water’ to do something amazing all for His glory.”
108. “Well, here it is.” Show the mixture.
109. “Now remember, with ordinary water adding this did nothing.”
110. “But this ‘water’ has one extra oxygen molecule, a gift from God.”
111. “So are you ready to see God’s glory shine?” Wait for the attention of the audience.
112. “Ok, here we go!” Pour the remaining yeast solution into the vase containing the hydrogen peroxide. The vase will begin to fill with foam, start to erupt out of the top like toothpaste coming out of a tube.
113. “Now, that is what I call a great demonstration of using the gifts God gave this liquid.”

What about you?

114. “But what about you?”
115. “What is your gift?”
116. “How does God want you to use this gift?”
117. “What is going to be the catalyst?”
118. “Keep these ideas in your mind as you grow up, because discovering and carrying out God’s purpose should be the primary purpose of our lives.”


119. “Just remember that God has given you special gifts.”
120. “All your talents, all your abilities, are from God.”
121. “What you decide to do with this gift is up to you.”
122. “However, if we use them as He intended, this becomes our gift back to God.”


123. “Well, I better get back to the lab.”
124. “I have lots to do to prepare for my next experiment.”
125. “You see, I think I discovered a way to harness the power of air. I call it an Air-zooka.”
126. “I just need to work the kinks out.”
127. “I will see you again soon.”
128. “Bye.”


1. Original concept for using a safer version of the classic elephant toothpaste obtained from Steve Spanger. Check out his site for details. http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/elephants-toothpaste

2. Videos of elephant toothpaste are available everywhere, but many use very toxic and unavailable materials. Check out these two videos for examples of what you can do at home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nxkMrmZepc or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsCrY4FWNZo


Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to the ‘mad scientist’ at madaboutjesuslaboratories@yahoo.com

Copyright 2008
Mad About Jesus Laboratories
By Daniel A. Briere

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