How To Separate Water – Our Homeschool Science Project

Do you know how to separate water?

To be honest, I didn’t even know it was possible.

Sure, I knew that water was H2O.  I even knew that was two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen.

I just had no idea you could return them to their gas forms.

Check it out:



And, it’s not even rocket science!

Fortunately, though, we have one. A rocket scientist, that is.  Yes, hubby really is a rocket scientist.

So, when it comes to chemistry (or any of the physical or life sciences) I step aside and let the expert take over.

We even invited another homeschool family to join us.

I did, what I do best. I sat up in the kitchen with the other mom and enjoyed a perfect latte, while hubby and the teens headed down to his lab (a table set out on the deck) for a few chemistry experiments.

homeschool science project

The green inside the jar on the table isn’t pickles – they made chlorine gas.

how to separate water

Watching the water separate

how to separate water

Discussing our next task – making hydrogen from acid and metal

We went and had a peek while they were learning how to separate water.

Here is my interpretation of the scientific explanation provided by hubby.  I am no rocket scientist, so for the most part I used simple words.

Step by Step: How To Separate Water

  1. Fill a beaker with water.
  2. Add an electrolyte (small amount of sulfuric acid or sodium carbonate).
  3. Bend two lengths of stainless steel wire. When the experiment runs, each wire will have one end in an inverted test tube inside the beaker and the other over the side of the beaker holding the tube in place.  (Visualize a sideways S with one end in the tube, then bending up along the side, turning and going out along and down the side of the beaker).  Once in the proper shape, put them aside.  If possible, have a sleeve over the wire in all parts which will be outside of the test tube.
  4. Fill each tube with water and using a finger to cover the top of the tubes, invert them and immerse it in the water.
  5. Add the wires with one end in the tube, the other end outside of the beaker.
  6. Wire up a DC power source between 4 and 20 volts (battery) to the wires:  positive to one, negative to the other.
  7. Turn on the power and watch the bubbles – the hydrogen will collect on the negative side, oxygen on the positive side. Remember, there should be about 2 times the amount of hydrogen.

Don’t Miss Some of Our Other Homeschool Science Projects:


Jumping off the Sky Tower and a View of Auckland from the Top
Anatoki Salmon Farm - Fishing and Fun May Be Gone


  1. says

    Well, now that you explain it so nicely I get it. I just never thought of this before. Science wasn’t my strong subject either. Bugger.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

    • Rhonda Albom says

      Really, I never knew you could even do this. I thought once they bonded that was it, they were a new thing H2O. I am sure I would have figured it out with the science book, but it sure was easier having hubby to do it – and far more interesting too!

    • Rhonda Albom says

      It was really interesting, you should give it a try. You would probably have an easier time accessing some of the tools – even beakers and test tubes are hard to find in New Zealand.

  2. says

    Hi Rhonda .. ah now I can see why you can travel .. with a rocket scientist in tow! And he’s obviously having fun tempting the next generation into areas of chemistry or physics – would love to have that aptitude ..

    I’d be with you in the kitchen .. cheers Hilary

    • Rhonda Albom says

      Honestly, he has been waiting patiently for them to be old enough to do some cool experiments.

  3. Lisa Ross says

    Fantastic. Every household should have a rocket scientist. We certainly never did anything that cool at school

    • Rhonda Albom says

      Oh, the coffee was perfect. Another one of his many talents. I guess making a perfect latte is rocket science. (I linked to his page above about how he does it, he has a method that almost seems scientific).

  4. Elise Fallson says

    Very cool experiment! And “Yes, hubby really is a rocket scientist.” well, that’s just awesome to read. (:

  5. says

    Aloha Rhonda,

    Just wait til my five-year-old sees this 🙂

    I also wanted to say thanks very much for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post. (I’m still working through all the comments!)

    CSM Ryan’s story has received an incredible amount of support and a HUGE *Thank you* goes to DL Hammons – and all the Blitzers 🙂

    PS: Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciated all the personal comments directed his way 🙂

  6. Edgar Sullivan says

    My husband Michael is an honest-to-dog rocket scientist. Or in today’s parlance, an aerospace engineer. As if that isn’t hair raising enough for any self-respecting left brained, emotionally-driven red-headed Irish-Italian, he comes from a family of five boys. You read that right. Five.

  7. says

    Am so pinning this! If you ever get to Miranda please swing by for a science lesson 🙂 Ours are very basic, yours (well your husband’s) totally rocked!

    • Rhonda Albom says

      We sure do get around a lot. Where is Miranda? And we are very lucky to have a rocket scientist in the family.

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