Dancing Raisins

Today we were supposed to go to the park but the littlest superhero refused to nap and when he finally did, it was too hot to go outside.  So, we looked in the pantry and had a “dance party” with raisins and soda!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Raisins (Leftover from the goodie bag from a week ago)
  • Soda water, Ginger ale, sprite, club soda, sparkling water or whatever clear bubbly (kid-friendly!) you have at home
  • clear jars or cups

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We used some leftover Sparkling water and a Diet Ginger Ale, but any clear bubbly soda should work fine.  We added them to the empty jars.  I then asked the superheroes what they think would happen when we added the raisins.  My older one has taken to snooping over my shoulder when I’m on Pinterest so he already knew the punchline.  Darn!  But my middle one was MESMERIZED by the raisins bouncing around and all those fizzy bubbles!

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It really looked so cool watching the raisins float up and then sink down.  The raisins in the Ginger Ale were more active than the ones in the Sparkling Water.  I assume this is because we used a bottle of sparkling water that had been opened previously and the Ginger Ale was a new can.

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We will definitely be trying this again with several other sodas as well as with a fresh bottle of sparkling water!  You can also make a bubbly solution with vinegar and baking soda as well. (We used up all our baking soda playing with vinegar a few days ago so we will have to try that next time as well)

Another extension/variation of this experiment is to try out different items, other than raisins that might behave in a similar way, such as dried cranberries, dried macaroni, popcorn kernels, etc…  Search your pantry.  The options are endless.  Happy Dancing!

The Science behind the Activity:

This is a great experiment demonstrating sinking and floating.  Raisins are denser than the liquid so they initially sink when you put them in.  As the carbon dioxide gas bubbles attach to the surface of the raisins, they decrease the density of the raisin and the raisin floats to the top (dances and shimmies its way to the top!) At the surface of the liquid, the gas bubbles pop and the raisin sinks back down.  The process keeps repeating until there isn’t enough carbon dioxide left to raise the raisins (pun intended!).

To see where I got the idea from and more details, follow the link below:

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/dancing-raisins-the-bubble-lifter

 

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