Open-and-go lessons that inspire kids to love science.

Sign up now for tons of free lessons like this one!

Back
Why do some things explode?
Chemical Magic Unit | Lesson 5 of 5
Back
Lesson 5 image
Why do some things explode?
Share
Chemical Magic Unit | Lesson 5 of 5
Scroll for prep
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

DISCUSS:

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

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

DISCUSS:

Why do you think the containers were shattering?

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

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.)

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
🎉 That’s it for this lesson! How did it go?
Sign up now for more great lessons!
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

Readings

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

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

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).

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

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.

Full Screen
Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

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.

    Full Screen
    Controls Icon Exit Full Screen

    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.)

    Full Screen
    Controls Icon Exit Full Screen
    Overview
    Grade 5th
    Topic Chemical Reactions & Properties Of Matter
    Focus Gases & Particle Models
    Print Prep
    Activity Prep

    In this lesson, 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

    COVID-19 Adaptations
    Digital worksheets available
    Teacher demo recommended

    Students at home
    Set up the first part of the activity and have students make observations as you demonstrate Steps 1 - 13 over video conference. Students need the Capturing Chaos worksheet (printed or digital) to record their observations.
    Students at school
    Set up the first part of the activity and have students make observations as you demonstrate Steps 1 - 13. Each student needs a Capturing Chaos worksheet to record their observations.
    Number of students:
    Capturing Chaos worksheet 30 copies
    Stretchy Bag Templates printout Print 8 copies
    Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
    1 roll
    Scissors
    30 pairs
    Baking Soda
    4 cups
    Dixie Cups (3 oz)
    30 cups
    Measuring Cup
    1 cup
    Plastic Plates (10")
    You can also use large, sturdy paper plates.
    Details
    15 plates
    Plastic Spoons
    30 spoons
    Solo Cups (9 oz)
    You can use any plastic container that can hold about 1/2 cup of liquid.
    Details
    16 cups
    White Vinegar
    4 cups
    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
    30 bags
    Safety Glasses
    30 pairs
    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.

    Overview
    Grade 5th
    Topic Chemical Reactions & Properties Of Matter
    Focus Gases & Particle Models
    Slow internet or video problems?