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April 16, 2012

Mixology 101

What child doesn't love watching baking soda and vinegar erupt?  I posted a few months ago when we combined them for the first time.  Every once in awhile JZ or JM ask to do it again, so they've watched this experiment quite a few times.  One time when we made Oobleck they seemed disappointed that it didn't bubble and fizz.  I decided to set up an experiment station for them in the sensory table.

I filled three slots in each muffin tin with baking soda. In each of the others I put cornstarch, flour and sugar. Then I filled three jars for each boy, one with water, one with baby oil, and one with vinegar. I added food coloring to each just for fun. To stimulate more senses through this experiment I added grapefruit extract to the jar with yellow food coloring and lavender to the purple. 

Before going outside we ate our lunch and talked about different reactions.  I casually set up the experiment and talked about scientists testing different chemicals to see how they react.

JM got right to work, pouring gingerly but with determination. (I asked them to work slow and careful and to really observe what happened. I didn't want them to dump all the liquid in 30 seconds and be done with the whole thing.) 

JZ was not as enthusiastic.

He did not understand why I wouldn't tell him which slots contained baking soda and which jars were full of vinegar. He had no interest in mixing elements that would not bubble over. I steered him in the right direction but apparently not as direct as he would have preferred. Once he finally found the right combo he was back to his peppy self. 

JM poured again and again and stuck his hands in the fizzy mixtures.

JZ takes ownership of being the oldest boy.  He happily took on the chore of refilling the vases.

I put out a lot of vinegar for refilling.  I knew once they knew which elements created the bubbly reaction they would only want to use those.  ;-)

JM played on and on with all the mixtures.

I refilled the muffin tins with only baking soda, and he thoroughly enjoyed watching the reactions one more time.

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