If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times….I love fall! All things fall. I decided to take another activity I had previously seen and modify it a bit to make it appropriate for fall! My kids and I did a Pumpkin Volcano! We had the best time and it worked perfectly! You won’t believe how simple it is either!
Now, since this is a teaching blog, I am going to apply this to the classroom! I haven’t done this with students yet, but I know it will be a hit when I do! So think with me for a moment. Get five small pumpkins and give each group in your classroom a small pumpkin at their table. If you are unable to do this outside, I would recommend putting the pumpkin in a storage container to contain the mess.
First, cut out the top of the pumpkin. Of course, I would recommend doing this before passing the pumpkins off to the students. 🙂 Then, scoop out all of the goodies.
Next, gather the ingredients pictures below!
Scoop in the baking soda first. We used 1/2 a cup of each ingredient but the amount doesn’t really matter. The order of the ingredients does matter though. 🙂 I mean, that is Chemical Reactions 101 right?
After the baking soda, add in the dish soap. Dish soap can be omitted but does give it an awesome foamy, frothy look when the reaction happens!
Finally, get ready to have some fun! Add in the vinegar next and watch the reaction occur! I was allowing my kids to take turns so our first dose of vinegar only foamed a bit but the next dose was awesome! Take a look at the video to see! (Sorry it is vertical, I am new to YouTube.) lol.
The kids obviously had so much fun! Allow the students to touch it, then talk about the chemical reaction that occured. Here is the explanation, feel free to read it to your students!
When you combine baking soda and vinegar a chemical reaction occurs that releases carbon dioxide. The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid, which breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, and creates fizzing as it escapes.
After we did it once, we did it a few more times. Simply empty the pumpkin out and repeat the process. Each time, the same thing happened. We knew the chemical reaction would happen but we didn’t know if it would still be as strong; it was.
Next time we do this, we will add food coloring! I am excited to see what purple, black or green might look like! And for those of you wondering, yes you can carve the pumpkin after this! It did not mess up the pumpkin!
All in all, the experiment was a huge success! The materials are cheap and the process is simple! I think as a teacher and a parent, we couldn’t ask for a much better activity!
Also, grab this free resource to use with your kids in the classroom! It pairs great with this and will allow you to see what they learned from the experiment. It also includes a materials page, the scientific explanation, and the process instructions!