This pumpkin volcano science activity was a long time coming, but it was so worth the wait. The kids loved it as much as they loved our apple volcanoes we did a few weeks ago.
I knew I wanted to do a pumpkin volcano with the kids this fall, so as soon as I saw pumpkins at the grocery store, I grabbed a couple. I brought them home and put them on the patio table in the backyard; no big deal right. A few hours later I went outside and found them in the yard with puppy teeth marks, so the next time I was at the grocery store I bought another pumpkin. This time I thought I had outsmarted the puppy and put them on our front porch. My husband tied him up in the front as we often to do, not even thinking about the pumpkins. I finally learned my lesson the third time and put the pumpkin on a shelf in the garage until we ready to do the pumpkin volcano.
This last weekend the weather was beautiful and the kids had friends over, so we pulled the pumpkin (that had been saved from the teeth of the puppy) out of the garage and did the pumpkin volcano activity with our kids and their friends.
Our kids have done many baking soda and vinegar science experiments. Our oldest child and his dad did a paper mache volcano a couple of years in a row when he was much younger for his class. One thing that they learned from that was to add liquid dish soap, which makes even more of a fizzy/bubbly reaction.
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- Pumpkin (We used a medium sized pumpkin.)
- Baking soda
- Liquid dish soap
- Under the bed storage container (optional to contain the pumpkin and fizz from the chemical reaction)
1. Ahead of time, cut the top off the pumpkin and clean the outside of the pumpkin out like you would do when preparing to crave a pumpkin.
2. Gather all your supplies and place them nearby.
3. Drop a heaping amount of baking soda into the pumpkin. We didn’t really measure the ingredients, but added about a cup of baking soda to our medium sized pumpkin.
4. Add dish soap to the baking soda. Again we did not measure. The kids squeezed a good amount into the pumpkin.
5. Pour vinegar into the pumpkin until the mixture begins to react.
You can place the lid back on the pumpkin at this point to and witness the fizz escaping through the gap between the pumpkin and the lid.
We started off doing our pumpkin volcano with a small dish inserted in the hole of our pumpkin.
We didn’t think there would be enough of a reaction to force it out over the sides of the pumpkin with the ingredients put into the bottom of pumpkin. The kids provided us wrong. We did the experiment though once with the bowl and then the kids took it out and poured the baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar into the bottom of the pumpkin.
They repeated the process a few times, but I think their favorite part was playing in the fizz. It offered an unplanned sensory experience as they moved their hands and fingers through the fizz created by the reaction of baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap.
When you combine baking soda and vinegar a chemical reaction occurs that releases carbon dioxide. The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid, which breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, and creates fizzing as it escapes.
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