Coca cola and mentos- A great way to bring Primary Science to life

Science for me is all about bringing it to life. Often a poor relation of English and Maths, Science should be fun, innovative, inspiring and above all else - a way of understanding the world around us.

A great way of starting a science block with primary aged kids is the age old Mentos and Coca cola trick. It gets them outside making a mess and even has some 'explosions’. To often the teacher is scared on health and safety, but to be honest as long as suitable risk planning has taken place, it really is not a stress. The fun factor by far outweighs the paperwork!

I have usually organised the science around the working scientifically idea of ‘predicting’. Gaining curiosity is one one thing but getting them engaged enough to want to predict is another. What is going to happen when one variable is changed??. Lots of kids have heard or even tried this experiment at home but usually only with Coke. I usually use a few different liquids - Coke, Diet Coke, Irn Bru, Lemonade, sparkling water and tap water (tap water doesn't work all the others do but in varying ways!). What do you think they will cause to happen?? I have been amazed by the engagement levels and willingness to predict.

In younger classes I have had them write and/ or draw the experiment up in a fairly simple 'scientific' way. While older classes would have to do more a more advanced write up - Title, Prediction, Equipment, Method, 'What happened', Conclusion (I have even had older classes start a proper lab book with this experiment as a model for further experiments in a block).

Such a lesson is also a good one to get them thinking about what is actually happening, they could even research the answer, though it is a bit complicated (mostly to do with how much much water molecules like to stick together). I particularly like this clip on YouTube:

As far as cross-curricular opportunities there is scope for using ICT (Photo-story, Excel), maths (measure, information handling).

Don’t forget. Science at Primary school should inspire, create curiosity and allow cross-curricular opportunities. Have fun!!

Posted by Chris Gilfillan on 30 January 2018 at 10:07.

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