Are you looking for an exciting STEM activity for kids? Try making exploding baking soda and vinegar bags! Learn how to do the activity plus how to turn it into a true experiment!
I love using baking soda and vinegar to illustrate chemistry to my kids. It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s frugal.
If you need a simple way to demonstrate the reaction between baking soda and vinegar, try making these exploding baking soda and vinegar bags!
This STEM activity comes together in minutes and is so much fun!
How Make Exploding Bags Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
I like this baking soda and vinegar activity because it’s a great visual representation of the gas produced when you mix the 2 ingredients.
Baking soda and vinegar don’t just make things explode, it also produces carbon dioxide gas!
This is a simple activity. All you need is:
- a ziploc bag
- baking soda
That’s it! Simple, right? I’m sure you have all of the supplies in your kitchen right now.
To set up this experiment, pour a little vinegar into the bottom of a ziploc bag.
Then twist the bag up really well. You don’t want the reaction to start before you are ready!
Next add baking soda to the top of the bag. Seal the bag really well.
Now you’re ready to make the bag explode!
Let go of the bag and let it untwist itself and mix the baking soda and vinegar.
Depending on the amounts of baking soda and vinegar you used, you may want to stand back.
We tossed our bag in the air a bit so it landed away from us and it untwisted really easily.
As the baking soda and vinegar reaction occurs you should see the bag start to inflate. If the pressure gets too great inside the bag it will explode!
How Does This Experiment Work?
Baking soda is a bicarbonate(or NaHCO3) and it is a base. Vinegar is acetic acid (or HCH3COO), which of course is an acid.
When these 2 combine a chemical reaction occurs and a a result of this chemical reaction, carbon dioxide gas is produced. (Here’s a more exact description of what happens during the reaction)
That carbon dioxide gas is what causes the bubbles and explosions kids love. It’s also what causes the bag to blow up in this experiment.
Follow up the discussion with this fun Acids and Bases Experiment to help kids determine what are acids and what are bases.
How to Extend This Baking Soda and Vinegar Demonstration
As is, this experiment is merely a demonstration that help to visually show what happens when the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar takes place.
So how can you turn it into a real experiment? By adding in variables!
Adding in variables can help make your kids think. They can make guesses (hypotheses) and test them out to see if they are right. Here are some variables you can add in to extend the exploding bag activity:
- Set up a few different bags, use different amounts of vinegar in each bag. Use the same amount of baking soda.
- Set up a few different bags, use different amounts of baking soda in each bag. Use the same amount of vinegar.
- Change the size of the bag. Try quart or gallon bags.
- Increase the strength of the seal. Try using duct tape to seal the bag better.
- Dilute the vinegar with water.
Try all of these different variations and see how things change.
And don’t forget to ask questions!
- WHAT changed?
- WHY did it change?
- HOW did it change?
Observing and questioning helps kids to really think about the reasons things happen and it extends the learning in any activity.
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