27 May Stem Challenge: Red, White, and Blue Science Explosion
Memorial Day is Monday, May 31, and this week we are going to do a patriotic-themed #CMMSSTEMChallenge in our Red, White, and Blue Science Explosion! We are going to explore what happens when you mix baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar.
Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Tuesday, June 1st!
- Science Investigation Worksheet
- Cardstock paper or other thick paper/cardboard.
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Red and blue food coloring (optional, but adds to the fun!)
- Large jar or cup
- Duct tape or regular tape
- Large tray & towel (if doing experiment indoors)
- Gather your materials, and print out or recreate our Science Investigation Worksheet. Before starting our experiment, think about and fill out questions 1-3.
- Now it’s time to set up our experiment. We are going to divide our jar into three sections using paper. First, cut a piece of card stock paper wide enough to fit across the center of your jar, and as tall as the jar. Then, cut another piece of card stock paper the same height but only half as wide, so you can divide the jar into three sections. Parents will need to assist with this section of the experiment.
- Next, tape the pieces of paper together using tape, and place the divider inside the jar. It’s okay if the sections are not exactly evenly spaced, our experiment will still work.
- Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to each of the three sections, and then squirt a small amount of dish soap onto each section of baking soda. If you are feeling patriotic, squeeze some red food coloring into one section and blue into another.
- Place the jar onto a large tray or take it outside before you move on to the next step.
- Pour a small amount of vinegar into each section and watch what happens! Watch as the red, white, and blue colors rise to the top and start to swirl together. You can keep adding baking soda until the reaction stops.
- Fill out questions 4 & 5 on your worksheet!
Why do baking soda and vinegar create a reaction?
When you mix baking soda and vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs! Combining the vinegar (an acid) with the baking soda (a base) results in an entirely new substance, a gas called carbon dioxide (this is the same gas that is in the bubbles in your carbonated drinks, like soda). If you add soap, the carbon dioxide essentially blows bubbles into the soap causing your reaction to have a little extra fizz.