(Chemistry for ages 5+)
There are so many fun ways to experiment with acids and bases, and here’s just one more way! Chemical reactions are happening all the time and everywhere. Understanding how these reactions happen allows us to make new products and learn new uses for everyday products.
In the video above, a few future scientists use a chemical reaction to make popcorn kernels excitedly zoom and dance around in a jar. Here’s how you can do this activity for yourself:
Large jar or glass
Spoon or stirrer
Adult supervision (Adult supervision at all times please)
- Start by filling your jar about half-full of water. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Once the baking soda is dissolved in the water, add the popcorn kernels.
- Set your jar on the baking sheet to avoid making a huge mess. Slowly add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar to the jar and watch the magic happen.
Baking soda mixed with water makes a basic solution. When this base is mixed with the acidic vinegar, these substances react violently creating carbon dioxide bubbles. These bubbles coat the surface of the popcorn kernels, making them float to the surface where the gas bubbles are released.
Once the carbon dioxide bubbles pop, the kernels begin to sink until they are once again coated by new bubbles formed by the chemical reaction. The popcorn kernels will continue to bounce around the jar until the reaction is finished.