An exciting and colorful way to demonstrate the chemical reactions between vinegar and baking soda as well as talking a bit about volcanoes. This is an art project and a science experiment rolled into one. Students decorate their volcanoes indoors and the eruptions happen outdoors.
16 ounce foam or paper cups * White vinegar * Baking soda *
Food coloring * masking tape * Crayons and/or markers
1. Make the volcanoes ahead of time using the foam cups and tape:
2. Mark one cup about 1.5" from the bottom. Cut evenly around the circumference of the cup so you have a tiny cup that is 1.5" tall; this is your baking soda reservoir and the top of your volcano.
3. Turn your second whole cup upside down and tape your 1.5" mini cup to the bottom (flat bottom to flat bottom).
4. Use crayons to decorate the volcano.
5. Fill volcano top ¾ from the top with baking soda.
6. Add drops of food coloring.
7. Slowly pour ¼ cup of vinegar on top of the baking soda.
8. The bubbling “lava” cascades over the top of the “mountain,” spilling down in a colorful froth covering every- thing in its path. Children are delighted; it is like a vinegar and baking soda fireworks display.
HOW TO PRESENT IT TO YOUR GROUP:
1. Put crayons out and give each student a foam and paper volcano.
2. Talk a bit about volcanoes: where are they? Are there any near us? What kind of life might be found on a volcanic mountain? Encourage students to draw things on their volcano that they would expect to find on a volcanic mountain.
3. Take the students outside and have them put their volcanoes on a table or on the ground. You will want them grouped close together although you might need to work on two tables. It is easier for the vinegar pourer and more dramatic to have volcanoes erupting close together. This also allows students to watch others colorful eruptions.
4. Talk about the reaction between baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid).
5. Put a tablespoon of baking soda in each volcano.
6. Go around the table offering drops of food coloring to each student. Many will want multiple colors; put 1-3 drops of each color onto the baking soda.
7. When everyone has baking soda and food coloring, you can go around the table pouring vinegar onto the bak- ing soda. Put enough vinegar in to fill the reservoir. Watch the chemical reaction and colorful eruptions.
8. Go around the table a second time with the vinegar only. On the third and fourth eruption, you need to replenish the baking soda and food coloring.
Vinegar and baking soda: This is an example of an acid–base chemical reaction. Vinegar (acid) and baking soda (base) combine to create carbon dioxide (gas). This is what makes all the fizzy bubbles.
PRESCHOOL SCIENCE VERSION:
Younger children will take less time on the indoor coloring part of the volcano than older children. You will probably spend 10-15 minutes on indoor explanation and coloring. Outdoor eruptions last 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your group and the number of times you replenish the baking soda, vinegar and colors.
VOCABULARY: Volcano, eruption, lava, chemical reaction, acid, base