Pumpkin Volcano

So who doesn’t love a little vinegar and baking soda action?  Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Halloween.  So, while you are picking out your pumpkins, grab a small sugar pumpkin and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Small Pumpkin (I used sugar pumpkins that were 2/$1 at our local produce stand but you can also use the small decorative pumpkins too)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Small cup (optional)
  • Syringes and droppers (optional-my kids love using these!)
  • Dish/Container to place the pumpkin in to catch the “eruption”

img_8890

First, cut the top of the pumpkin out and scoop out the seeds.

IMG_3674

Mini Decorative Pumpkin

IMG_2330

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried the experiment by adding our “chemicals” directly into the pumpkins, but the baking soda started clumping up after awhile and it was hard to clean them out in between students.

So, we cut off the top of a small plastic cup so that it fits inside the pumpkin.  This is optional but we found that it was easier for repeating the experiment if there was a cup inside.  It is by no means necessary.

IMG_2331IMG_2332

Next, we poured some vinegar into a cup.  My superheroes chose to add red liquid watercolor to make “vampire’s blood”.  For my science class, I had 6 rainbow colors for the tots to choose from.

IMG_2333

Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the pumpkin

IMG_2335

Then add some vinegar (vampire’s blood!).  My superheroes love using droppers.

IMG_2338Watch your pumpkin-cano erupt!

IMG_2342

Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

In my Tiny Tot class, I gave each child a tray with cups of colored vinegar and baking soda for them to do some free play

IMG_3696

When I did this with my son’s Kindergarten class, we added some spiders and plastic eyeballs for some extra fun.

IMG_3737

 

The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great fall theme application of this is the Apple-cano, which we also did.  This time the superheroes chose “green slime” as the color of the eruption.

IMG_2327

For other fun Pumpkin and Halloween related science activities, try:

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s