Saturday, June 23, 2012

Baking Soda Fizzies

I use Pinterest regularly. (By 'regularly,' I mean several times a day). I have close to twenty boards and love finding activities for my kids. The problem? Teaching full-time last year, I carried out very few of these pins with my kids. I really want to change that, because not using all these great ideas is just silly.

Getting started.

One idea that I felt my kids would really enjoy was the baking soda and vinegar project. We wouldn't make a volcano, but instead little 'fizzies' as my kids called them. The pin is in my elementary kid activities board and the link goes to this awesome blog, Playing House.

We used medicine droppers and that nose-sucky thing the hospital gives you.
The entire project cost less than $3.00, which is fabulous. I bought each kid a container of store-brand baking soda, and a container of white vinegar. I already had food dye, so I just used that. If I had to buy some, the project would have cost $5.00, which is still inexpensive for a science experiment for two kids.

Ty was quite specific about placing
his little fizzies.

Za did lots of dumping, trying to get a bigger "fizz."

Za played with the project longer than Ty did, but he has asked to do it again. They both enjoyed themselves though, and they spent about an hour playing with it.

Explaining the science behind it.

I really wish I could have captured how happy they were with the fizzies.

Finished! So proud
Sometime into the project, I thought, I need to explain why this happens, so I told them that the baking soda and vinegar reacted chemically, a chemical reaction. WHY. I googled it (because I don't know) and found Think Quest, which explained this:

The acetic acid (that's what makes vinegar sour) reacts with sodium bicarbonate (a compound that's in baking soda) to form carbonic acid. The bubbles you see from the reaction come from the carbon dioxide escaping the solution that is left. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, so, it flows almost like water when it overflows the container. 

Yikes. I read that to them from my phone, and they just looked at me. Ty then commented that trees work with carbon dioxide and how we breathe. I'm not sure the long explanation took hold, but he did relate it to something he already knew, which is a success.

Our first attempt at ticking the pins of the Pinterest list was overall great!

What would I do differently?

1. I would have researched the concept a bit more. I am not a science person, and I think my explanation for the kids was pretty lousy. I know they are young, but when they ask 'why' I want to be able to explain it to them. 

2. If I had thought ahead, I would have bought red, blue, and yellow food dye. I knew I had some dye at home, so I just used that. The kids would have loved to make new colors, and that could have been an additional science aspect to the project.

They loved the project so much that I'm sure we will do it again, and I will have the primary colors, and hopefully a bit more knowledge.

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