Our Senses

Smelly Fizzy Icy Fun

  • Time Length
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    2+ hours

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Prep: (let the kids help)

3 parts baking soda + 1 part water + Jell-O powder (however much you want to add) and mix well– you want it to be like a paste (they come out of the tray more easily). If it gets too runny, just add more baking soda. Fill the ice cube trays with the mixtures and put in freezer.

Question and Wonder:

• What do our senses of sight, touch and smell tell us about the ingredients in our mixture? (baking soda is not poisonous per se, but ingesting is not recommended).
• What do you think will happen to the mixture when we leave it in the freezer?
• How is this mixture different from ice cubes made with just water?
• Why do you think we put baking soda in with the water?
• What colors do you have?

Imagine and Design:

• How long do you think it will take for them to freeze?
• What do you think they will look like? Feel like? Smell like once they are frozen?
• We are going to put vinegar on them. What do you think that will do to them?
• Will they melt like regular ice cubes? Why do you think that?

Turn the frozen cubes or shapes out into a large baking dish or plastic bin. Set out eyedroppers, pipettes, spoons, straws or squeeze bottles and a bowl of vinegar. (If using squeeze bottles, prefill them with vinegar)

Test and Discuss:

• Touch, smell, explore the shapes. Do they look and feel like you thought?
• How do they smell? How did they change?
• How would you describe what the vinegar? What do our senses of sight, touch, smell and taste tell us about the vinegar? (It is ok to let your child put a finger in the vinegar and taste it.)
• What do you think will happen when we put the vinegar on our frozen shapes?
• Squeeze a little vinegar onto a cube or shape. What happened?
• Was the reaction what you thought?
• How did it change? What do you observe?
• How does the soupy mess smell? Can you still smell the different types of Jell-O?
• What does it feel like?

A Little Science:

The chemical reaction happens when vinegar’s acetic acid reacts with the baking soda’s sodium bicarbonate to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid falls apart into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles come from the escaping carbon dioxide.


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