Science, Tech, Math › Science How To Make Etch-a-Sketch Thermite Etch-a-Sketch Thermite Share Flipboard Email Print An Etch a Sketch contains materials that may be used to make thermite. Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated November 04, 2019 You may have learned about exothermic reactions in chemistry class. In an exothermic reaction, chemicals interact and release heat and often light. Burning wood is an exothermic reaction. So is rusting of iron, although the reaction is so slow you don't notice much going on. You can react iron much more quickly and spectacularly using the thermite reaction, which burns aluminum. The classic method of performing the reaction involves iron oxide, aluminum powder, and magnesium, but you can make do with household materials: 50 grams of finely powdered rust (Fe2O3)15 grams of aluminum powder (Al) Iron Oxide Collect rust from a rusted iron object, such as rust from a wet steel wool pad. Alternatively, you can use magnesite as your iron compound, which may be collected by running a magnet through beach sand. Aluminum This is where your Etch-a-Sketch comes into play. The powder inside an Etch-a-Sketch is aluminum. If you crack open the Etch-a-Sketch, you have the perfect complement to the iron oxide from the previous step. However, if you can't find an Etch-a-Sketch, you can grind aluminum foil in a spice mill. No matter how you get it, wear a mask when dealing with aluminum powder because you don't want to breathe it in. Wash your hands and everything after working with the stuff. Thermite reaction. Andy Crawford & Tim Ridley / Getty Images Etch-a-Sketch Thermite Reaction This is insanely easy. Just be sure to choose a location away from anything flammable. Use eye protection when viewing the reaction, since a lot of light is emitted. Mix together the iron oxide and aluminum.Use a sparkler to light the mixture.Move away from the reaction and let it burn to completion before cleaning it up. Once it is cool, you can pick up the molten metal and examine it. You can use a propane torch instead of a sparkler to initiate the reaction, but try to maintain your distance as much as possible. Source Goldschmidt, Hans; Vautin, Claude 1898). "Aluminium as a Heating and Reducing Agent." Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry. 6 (17): 543–545.