Why do some things explode?
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DISCUSS:

What makes these things explode? What’s going on?

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DISCUSS:

Why do you think the containers were shattering?

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DISCUSS:

On the back of your worksheet, draw a picture using a particle model to explain why the bag exploded. (Or you can label or add to the picture you drew earlier.)

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
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Readings

These readings will get students thinking about the gases that are all around us.

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Activity: Inflate a balloon

Follow these instructions, to fill a balloon with carbon dioxide, the same gas that filled your plastic bag. Try the experiment, and then:

  • Draw a picture that shows what makes the balloon inflate.
  • Predict what will happen if you pinch the neck of the inflated balloon, take it off the bottle, then let it go. Draw a picture that shows what’s happens when you do that — and why it happens.

If you have time, experiment to figure out what ratio of baking soda to vinegar produces the most gas (and the biggest balloon).

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Discussion: Bread bubbles (part 1)

Look at the holes in this slice of banana bread. Each hole was made by a bubble that formed while the bread was baking. Those bubbles made the bread rise. bananabread

Go to the next slide to discuss where those bubbles came from.

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Discussion: Bread bubbles (part 2)

Here are the ingredients used to make banana bread:

  • vinegar
  • milk
  • butter
  • sugar
  • bananas
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • walnuts
  • eggs
  • Discuss:

    • Why do you think bubbles formed in the batter?
    • What do you think would happen if you left out the vinegar?

    See previous slide for a view of the holes in banana bread. See next slide for more about the bubbles in bread.

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    Discussion: Bread bubbles (part 3)

    Any bread or cake that rises as it bakes has bubbles in the batter. Take a look at some bread recipes. Can you figure out which ingredients make bubbles in each recipe?

    If you need help, check out this extensive discussion of leavening agents. (A leavening agent is a substance that produces gas to make bubbles in a batter.)

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    Print Prep
    Activity Prep

    In this Mystery, students investigate and model how gases cause explosions. In the activity, Bag of Bubbles, students experiment by combining baking soda and vinegar inside a sealed bag and observe how the gas bubbles produced cause the bag to inflate–and sometimes pop!

    Preview activity

    Number of students:
    Capturing Chaos worksheet 1 per student
    Stretchy Bag Templates worksheet 1 per group
    Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
    1 roll per class
    Scissors
    1 pair per student
    Baking Soda
    4 tablespoons per pair
    Dixie Cups (3 oz)
    1 cup per student
    Measuring Cup
    1 cup per class
    Plastic Plates (10")
    You can also use large, sturdy paper plates.
    Details
    1 plate per pair
    Plastic Spoons
    2 spoons per pair
    Solo Cups (9 oz)
    You can use any plastic container that can hold about 1/2 cup of liquid.
    Details
    2 cups per group
    White Vinegar
    1 cup per 8 students
    Ziploc Bags (Snack Size)
    We do not suggest using sandwich size bags because they need more vinegar and baking soda to inflate, and the resulting explosion is likely to overflow the plastic plate.
    Details
    1 bag per student
    Safety Glasses
    1 pair per student
    Prep Instructions

    We strongly recommend that students wear eye protection for this activity.

    We suggest students work in pairs for the first activity, and in groups of four for the second activity. Students working alone will need a partner for the first activity, and a few friends to help with the second activity.

    Prepare the Vinegar and Baking Soda

    Divide your plastic cups (or plastic containers) in half. For each of the cups in one of the piles, pour about ½ cup of vinegar. For the other cups, pour about ½ cup of baking soda into each.

    Separate Supplies for Easy Distribution

    For the first activity, students will need the following supplies, plus a recommended pair of safety goggles for each person:

    Bag of Bubbles Supplies

    In the second activity, students will work in groups of four and will need the following materials:

    Bag of Bubbles Model Supplies

    You may want to separate these for ease of classroom distribution.

    Extensions
    Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: