Dancing Bits and Bobs

Science Experiments

 

For today’s experiment, you can have a lot of fun and you can make a lot of mess. I had fun working out the best things to use here. The original experiment that I remember from when I was at school, used sultanas. The book that I wrote a chapter for said to use spaghetti. Neither of those worked very well this time around. After much experimentation, I found that popcorn works really well! Anyway, I digress, let’s dive in and see what this is all about. We are doing a chemical reaction today, creating bubbles and causing objects to dance within a liquid!

 

What will you need?

Ingredients (Dancing)
Ingredients (Dancing)
  • vinegar
  • bicarbonate of soda
  • large glass
  • food colouring (if you wish)
  • something to dance – I’ve shown sultanas here, but I think that Aussie sultanas are too plump! Popcorn kernels work very well.

 

 

 

 

 

What will you do?

  1. Fill the jar or glass with water to about 3/4 full.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Add a few drops of food colouring, if you wish.
  4. Drop in 5 or 6 popcorn kernels (or whatever you choose for dancing).
  5. Carefully add 3 tablespoons of vinegar.
  6. Sit back and watch!

This video was taken with my iPhone using the time-lapse setting.

 

What will you learn?

The bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar react to release carbon dioxide gas. As the tiny gas bubbles form, they attach to the popcorn. The carbon dioxide is less dense (lighter) than the water, so once there are enough bubbles on the kernel, the bubbles lift the kernel to the surface.

Once the kernel reaches the surface, the bubbles on top of the kernel burst, releasing the carbon dioxide to the air, and the popcorn will turn over. Then, the remaining bubbles on the kernel will burst. Now, the kernel doesn’t have any bubbles holding it up, it sinks back to the bottom. More bubbles attach themselves to the kernel and they rise again, and keep on dancing until the reaction is over!

 

Hints and Tips.

  • Be careful of the amount of vinegar you pour in. I almost doused my iPhone in liquid when I overflowed the glass!
  • If the dancing is not happening, add a little more vinegar. If there is excess bicarb in there, it will start bubbling again and form more bubbles on the popcorn.
  • Sultanas SHOULD be excellent, and they were when I first did this about 20 years ago, but I think the ones I tried now are too heavy – all the bubbles in the reaction couldn’t lift those fat little guys up!
  • Another experiment suggested using spaghetti or pasta curls. I tried these as well but they are much too smooth – the “rougher” the surface the better since it provides a larger surface area for the bubbles to form on and give the item some extra lift!

x desleyjane

 


Safety Considerations.

  • Vinegar is an acid, so take care when using it.
  • The reaction can get very fizzy, so don’t do this experiment near electrical items!

 

 

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37 Comments Add yours

  1. Very cool experiment!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agadoo says:

    Looks like great fun…we should do a vid of it

    Like

    1. desleyjane says:

      Did the video not show up?! X

      Like

  3. brittabottle says:

    Sounds like a wonderfully fun experiment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Thanks Britta. It was pretty cool 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mara Eastern says:

    Wow! That’s fun! Why did we never do any experiments at school…? Also, I must admit that I misread the title of your article as “dancing boobs”. Oops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Oh how funny. That would have been a totally different post!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Norah says:

    How could I have not done this experiment before? It looks like fun. I have done other things with bicarb and vinegar, like volcanoes, but not this. Next time the grandkids are over we’re going to have fun with this one! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Oh good, I’m so glad! Can’t wait to hear how you go! Thanks Norah 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norah says:

        I’m sure we’ll have fun!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow that’s cool! I love this….it’s interesting that the sultanas were too heavy… Hooray for popcorn kernels though!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Thanks Lia! You are always so kind to make comments. Plump and juicy sultanas are not gonna cut it 😉

      Like

  7. gfchopstix says:

    I’m sure that you had great fun with this one 😀 Love that shade of blue too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Debbie says:

    I am wondering how I can modify that experiment to help me learn to dance!! Nice work, informative & interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      LOL. I want to say you should substitute something with wine….. 😀
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Very cool experiment! Love the photography too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Andy Townend says:

    Excellent, this I should try with my son when we have a chance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Oh it’s a good one! But do it outside so you don’t make a mess like I did LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Andy Townend says:

        A flashback to my days studying Chemistry at Uni, I was never very good when it came to Lab work 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. desleyjane says:

          Don’t worry, I’m sure you can handle this one 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Andy Townend says:

            let’s hope so 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  11. well i know what i will be asking you to do with the kids haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      I’m an excellent sitter but the kitchen might be a mess! LOL x

      Like

  12. Hello my preferred scientist. This one was also awesome. I am already adding to the list of activities for my 5 year old niece who is visiting us in July. I will go back to the other experiments and add them to.
    I loved your advice for dancing! It should work just as fine! Says the scientist. LOL.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Heheh, most of my advice includes wine 😀
      LOL. Thank you so much! There is a page for my experiments to make it easy to find.
      Xxx

      Like

  13. This one is simple enough. The girls keep talking about doing some experiments, but there are so many things they want to do….they have to pick their battles. Awesome photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Thank you. Yes this is one of the first ones I learnt and it’s fun to do as well!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The color blue was a perfect choice for the food coloring. Looks so vivid.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. desleyjane says:

          Thanks, I did try others but blue was cool!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Awesome that you are still using the Robot. We have to come up with something when we don’t have a photo. Nice chatting, take care.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Chow Kim Wan says:

    Hahaha… old science experiment, but still looks great! I remember learning this in school. Typical acid-base reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. desleyjane says:

      Ha!! Thanks, yes, it’s a good one, lots of fun with the potential for lots of mess!

      Like

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