Dancing Kernels Preschool Science Exploration
Science with preschoolers is so much fun!
Learning the Scientific Method is important for cognitive development. When children have experience using the scientific method, they can better evaluate the world around them. They learn to quietly observe using their senses, they learn to ask questions and how to develop and test a hypothesis.
This fun experiment is a great way to explore the scientific method.
Many preschoolers have experimented with baking soda and vinegar before. This experiment is a great way to build on that experience.
Take a closer look...
We had a blast testing this science recipe! First, we gathered our ingredients and equipment. The required ingredients are low cost, you may already have everything you need on-hand!
**Teacher Tip: If you do a lot of experiments with baking soda and vinegar, be sure to check out your local warehouse store for purchasing these ingredients in bulk!
Before the experiment begins, talk about the process with your preschoolers.
Review the recipe card with them. Discuss the importance of being prepared with everything needed for the experiment. After talking about the experiment, support children through creating a hypothesis.
Preschoolers can draw what they think will happen on the included recording form. If they would like, they can dictate their hypothesis for you to write in on their sheet as well.
**Teacher Tip: This is a good opportunity to work on executive function skills with your preschooler. Engaging in this discussion prior to the experiment supports your preschooler in practicing patience, focusing, listing, planning, organization, and self-control.
Encourage preschoolers to draw on prior experiences when creating their hypothesis. Have they done a similar experiment (or this same one)? What might be different this time?
You can choose to pre-measure the ingredients for students to dump in, or have the children use measuring tools. We decided to use measuring spoons, this was a good opportunity to talk about how and why to measure precisely.
Be sure to talk about what is happening in the jar after each step!
After adding the popcorn kernels, talk about what is happening inside the jar. What do the kernels look like? What's happening so far? Magnifying glasses came in handy for seeing the kernels up close!
The Science behind what's happening: when an acid found in the vinegar (acetic acid) is combined with the baking soda base (sodium bicarbonate) a chemical reaction happens, which results in carbon dioxide gas being formed. The carbon dioxide gas creates bubbles in the water.
These bubbles stick to the popcorn kernel and lifts it to the surface. When the gas bubbles reach the surface, they pop, releasing the gas. Without enough bubbles to keep it floating, the kernel falls back down to the bottom of the jar.
After the popcorn kernel falls to the bottom of the jar, it collects more bubbles, until it has enough buoyancy to float to the surface again.
The popcorn kernels will continue to “dance” until the there is no longer enough vinegar or baking soda to form carbon dioxide gas bubbles.
After the last step take plenty of time to observe the jar! What's happening inside? Encourage children to draw and describe what they are observing.
They will likely want to conduct the experiment again!
We repeated it 4 times.
The second time we followed the recipe as written to see if the outcome was the same.
After that, the kids decided to modify the recipe to see what would happen!
Did you try this experiment?
We would love to see your photos!
Tag us on social media using the hashtag #prekprintablefun
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