Search form

Chemical Reaction Carnival

Lesson Objective: By the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify and explain different types of chemical reactions through hands-on activities.

Materials Needed

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar

  • Balloons

  • Empty plastic bottles

  • Bottled diet soda

  • Mentos candies

  • Ooblek ingredients (cornstarch, water, bowl)

  • Observation sheet or plain piece of paper

  • Writing instrument

Note to the Instructor

This lesson contains three activity options that each come with their own assessment. You can choose the option that works best for your class or build on this lesson during the week. 

Lesson Introduction (10 minutes)

Let's kick things off with a bang! Imagine you're at a carnival, and every booth has a different chemical reaction waiting to amaze you. Chemical reactions are like the magic tricks of science – they transform one thing into something completely new. Today, we're the magicians!

Activity 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar Fizzing (20 minutes)

Alright, wizards, grab your wands (or, in this case, baking soda and vinegar). In this booth, we're going to create a fizzy explosion.

  1. Pour 1 cup vinegar into a plastic bottle.

  2.  Add a 1/3 cup of baking soda into a balloon (don't tie it).

  3. Stretch the balloon over the top of the bottle without letting the baking soda fall in. 

  4. When ready for the magic, lift the balloon, letting the baking soda fall into the vinegar. 

  5. Watch the fizzing show begin!

  6. Record your observations.

Experiment Explanation

The baking soda (our secret potion) reacts with the vinegar, creating carbon dioxide gas. The gas builds up in the bottle, making the balloon inflate. It's like a chemistry party in there!

Activity 2: Diet Soda and Mentos Extravaganza (20 minutes)

**Do this activity outside for easy cleanup. 

Now, imagine this booth as the wild roller coaster of our carnival. We'll need a bottle of diet soda and Mentos candies for this stunt. 

  1. Remove the cap and place the bottle of diet soda on the ground. 

  2. Drop the Mentos into the bottle of diet soda. The more Mentos you can get into the bottle, the better the explosion. 

  3. Stand back and watch!

  4. Record your observations. 

Experiment Explanation

The Mentos candies have tiny pits on their surface that help carbon dioxide bubbles form rapidly. When dropped into the soda, the bubbles shoot out like fireworks, creating a soda fountain. It's like science mixed with a bit of magic.

Activity 3: Ooblek Madness (20 minutes)

Last but not least, let's venture into the gooey realm of Ooblek. In this booth, we'll make a mysterious substance that behaves like a liquid and a solid. 

  1. Mix 1 cup cornstarch with 3/4 cup water in a bowl until you have a gooey concoction. 

  2. Try poking it and rolling it – it's a carnival for your fingers!

  3. Record your observations.

Experiment Explanation

Ooblek is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning it doesn't follow the usual rules of liquids or solids. When you squeeze or poke it, the cornstarch particles resist, making it feel solid. But the moment you stop, it turns back into a gooey liquid. It's like having a carnival ride at your fingertips!


Now that we've had a blast at our chemical reaction carnival, here's how I'll gauge your newfound knowledge:

1. Balloon Fizzing Reflection (15 minutes)

Write a short paragraph reflecting on the balloon fizzing activity. Explain what you observed during the experiment, what you think caused the balloon to inflate, and any connections you can make to real-world situations. Get creative – imagine you're a science reporter covering the event!

2. Mentos and Diet Soda Analysis (20 minutes)

Create a mini-report detailing the Mentos and diet soda experiment. Describe the steps you took, the reaction you observed, and your understanding of why the soda erupted. Feel free to include any unexpected results and how you might apply this knowledge.

3. Ooblek Exploration (15 minutes)

Your final task is to describe your experience with Ooblek. Write a short essay discussing its unique properties, why it behaves the way it does, and any challenges you faced while playing with this mysterious substance. Consider what you learned about non-Newtonian fluids and their applications.

Homework Assignment

The chemical reaction carnival doesn't end when the bell rings! Your homework assignment is to create your mini-carnival booth or experiment.

Choose a household item or kitchen ingredient and predict what kind of reaction it might have when combined with something else. Remember to explain your hypothesis and provide a step-by-step procedure for your experiment. Get creative, have fun, and don't forget to share your results with the class.

As a bonus, see if you can come up with a catchy name for your booth, just like the "Fizzing Balloons" or "Mentos Extravaganza." Who knows, your homemade carnival experiment might be the next big hit in the world of chemical reactions!


Written by Brooke Lektorich

Education World Contributor

Copyright© 2024 Education World