Friday, April 15, 2011

Repost: More Than Just Volcanoes

This post has been transferred from our previous blog. It was originally posted in April of 2010. Children are fascinated by the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. I know we buy both in bulk around here! We do a lot of fun color mixing activities, but this is by far the most requested! I hope you are enjoying my re-posts while I am at the UPECC :). 

Everyone talks about the volcano experiments, using vinegar and baking soda.... but have you ever tried the same experiment to teach how to make the secondary colors????

This is one of my favorites, and the children's too:

Prior to the children becoming involved fill children's test tubes with vinegar- add food coloring (I use the Wilton pastes as they are much more vibrant) to make red, yellow, and blue. Also, mix food coloring into the baking soda (in bowls) making red, yellow, and blue. You can have older children help with this part of the activity, but I've found that for younger children, it is helpful to have this part complete prior to beginning the activity.

Gather the children, making sure to give each child goggles and lab coats, as they are going to be scientists for the day. (Old oversized white shirts work well for lab coats, but make sure if they are going to wear them that they are not so big that they will get in the way.)

We always talk about the process and write out the hypothesis for each child. "What do you think will happen when you mix the red with the yellow?"

Then the children are given the opportunity to weigh a specific amount of baking soda, to give them the opportunity to use a scale and then you transfer the baking soda into another test tube. (If your children are too young to use a scale, you can just fill the test tubes up.) My children love using the scale and measuring how much baking soda they use.

Finally, you allow each child to mix the tubes by pouring the vinegar into the baking soda over a container to catch the mess. I have yet to have a child who cannot remember what happens when you mix primary colors!!! After we do this with the vinegar and baking soda, we try other experiments to see if the same thing happens with colored paint, water, or color paddles/tiles, etc. But their favorite by far is the first one They start asking all kinds of color questions, and you end up with a ton of child driven experiments having to do with color.

If you aren't sure where to find the children's test tubes, I think we purchased ours from either Learning Resources or Educational Insights. (They are plastic and have screw on tops). Of course you can do this without the test tubes, but in my opinion, if the children are using chemicals and conducting scientific experiments, they should have the proper equipment.

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