01 Oct STEM Challenge – Jumping Apple Seeds
It is fall and the season for harvesting apples! This week we are going to do an experiment involving apple seeds to see if we can make them jump! This activity goes along with the book Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins. To start this challenge, first, listen to the story here!
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- White Vinegar
- Plastic Cup
- Apple Seeds from an apple – 10 seeds works best to fit with the story, but as many seeds as one apple provides is enough. Additionally, you can replace the apple seeds with raisins or a different type of seed (ex. Sunflower seeds).
- 1/4 tsp. of Baking Soda
- Measuring spoons
- Safety glasses or goggles (optional)
Please note, you may want some help while you pour the baking soda during this experiment. All the materials used are safe, but the mixture we will be creating will bubble up pretty quickly.
- Fill your cup about 1/3 of the way up with vinegar. You can add more, but the more vinegar you have in the cup the more likely it is to overflow.
- Next, you will need to count out ten apple seeds (or as many as one apple provides for you) and place them in the cup. Make a guess: What is going to happen when you add the baking soda in the next step? Right now the apple seeds are sitting at the bottom (right?) but what is going to happen next – make your hypothesis.
- Finally, add 1/4 of a tsp. of baking soda. Adding the baking soda will start the chemical reaction and your seeds will start jumping.
Scientifically What is Happening
What makes the bubbles?
The baking soda is a base while the vinegar is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid which is very unstable – it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates all the fizzing bubbles as it escapes the solution.
After the Bubbles Form
Bubbles will gather under the apple seeds until there’s enough fizz to raise the seeds to the surface. When the bubbles pop it causes the apple seeds to fall.