Friday Sprog Blogging: more science fair brainstorming.

We continue discussions with the elder Free-Ride offspring about potential projects for the spring science fair.

Elder offspring: Maybe I could do an experiment with Mentos and soda.

Dr. Free-Ride: You mean that one where you use Mentos to create a fountain of soda?

Dr. Free-Ride's better half: That's not an experiment. It's a cliché.

Dr. Free-Ride: Like sticking battery-leads into a dill pickle.

Dr. Free-Ride's better half: But less illuminating.

Elder offspring: Well, I've never put Mentos in soda.

Dr. Free-Ride: But from what you've read, you have a pretty good idea what's going to happen, right? For a science fair project, it might be nice if you end up learning something you didn't know before.

Elder offspring: Maybe good science fair projects get surprising results.

Dr. Free-Ride: Unfortunately, it can be hard to plan a project to get surprising results.

Younger offspring: If you expect them, you won't be surprised.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, is there something new you could learn from the Mentos and soda?

Elder offspring: I could add Mentos to different kinds of soda and see which one makes the biggest mess.

Dr. Free-Ride: Is there maybe a different observable we could track than potential for mess-making?

Younger offspring: What if it was outside?

Dr. Free-Ride: Harumph.

Elder offspring: Hmm. I could try to figure out why mixing Mentos and soda creates a fountain of soda.

Dr. Free-Ride: Now you're talking. How could you do that?

Elder offspring: Hmm. I read that putting salt in soda kind of does something similar.

Younger offspring: Is it like vinegar and baking soda?

Elder offspring: No! Well ... I don't think so.

Dr. Free-Ride: Soda and Mentos both have their ingredients listed on the label.

Elder offspring: If we can get those different ingredients, we could try testing them to see which ones make the fountain happen.

Dr. Free-Ride: That's true. You might also need to learn a little bit about the behavior of solutions, like carbonated water.

Younger offspring: Carbonated water?

Dr. Free-Ride: That's water with carbon dioxide dissolved in it. That's what makes soda fizzy.

Elder offspring: Can we get water with carbon dioxide dissolved in it but nothing else?

Dr. Free-Ride: We can make water with carbon dioxide dissolved in it but nothing else. We can use the seltzer bottle and a CO2 cartridge.

Younger offspring: Cool.

Dr. Free-Ride: And, if you find out more about solutions, you might think about other things that could make a difference besides which ingredients get mixed with which.

Younger offspring: Like what?

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, have you noticed that when a bottle of soda has been opened, putting it in the fridge helps keep it from going flat so quickly?

Elder offspring: No. But you hardly ever let us have soda.

Dr. Free-Ride: For experimentation, I could make an exception.


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I think you may have just sold EO on the idea with a single sentence.

By Rick Pikul (not verified) on 26 Sep 2008 #permalink

ohh... I want to see that experiment. I get so curious what makes thing bubble and go "fountain" :)

When I taught 13yr olds chemistry we had a quick test with comparing two cans of diet coke and regular coke. And a huge bucket with water. The question was if either, both or none would float.....

Yes, the diet one does. No, the regular doesn't. It was such a fun thing to show and then we had a discussion about density and sugar and "what on earth is asparatam".

Please keep us updated on the Science project!

The mythbusters did this exact experiment. It is pretty cool, but be aware that it probably won't be unique.

By Donalbain (not verified) on 26 Sep 2008 #permalink