Thursday, June 14, 2012

Theory Thursday: Mini Volcanoes

I saw this idea on Pinterest, though the link led to only a picture and not a blog. It is such a simple activity and takes seconds to set up, yet the result never get old. The kids always find the reaction of vinegar and baking soda fascinating. Vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) react to form carbonic acid. Since the carbonic acid is unstable, it immediately breaks down to carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles are the result of the carbon dioxide escaping.

The kids don't care why it works. They're just happy that it does.

You'll need vinegar, baking soda, food coloring (optional), something to contain the baking soda, something to hold the vinegar, and something to dispense the vinegar.

Mix the vinegar and food coloring in the cups and dump baking soda on the plates.

Next comes the fun!

 Squirt the vinegar on the baking soda to make it bubble and foam.

The more vinegar you use, the bigger the reaction will be.

And the bigger the smile!

It'll make little craters all over the plate.

Continue making volcanoes until they no longer form.

Then you'll need to dump it and fill the plate with fresh baking soda so you can do it all over again!

And again. Until you empty your baking soda box and need to purchase more.

Of course, they weren't done though. They dumped it all in a bowl, like the rain in a jar experiment, and continued experimenting.

 And just like before, they made a big mess and we transferred outside.

They added grass, sand, sticks, water, and whatever else they could find. They tested theories and mixed potions. For over an hour. 

The analysis? Lots of hands-on learning fun.

So, whether you're erupting mini volcanoes or continuing further exploration, take time to investigate the laws of science.

And have fun!

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  1. I love that your little guy was able to get in on the action!!

  2. Isn't that the classic childhood science experiment? They all appear to be having a blast. Your second to last picture resembles a brain.

  3. Your children are having so much fun! We are going to have to try this for sure. You make it sound so simple.

  4. How fun! Classic science for littles!

  5. This looks like SUPER fun! Totally going to do this with our next batch of visitors!