Bursting in the New Year!

Bursting in the New Year!

It’s a new year and we’re one month into winter! To celebrate the arrival of the snowiest of seasons we’re making storage bag snowmen and learning about chemical reactions in this month’s try it at home. Feel free to collect snow from outside or make your own.

This is an exciting experiment that can be modified by drawing different faces, adding washable paint to the bag and changing ingredients. Document your additions to see what changes during the process. This snowman experiment will be sure to keep the family busy during the cold days of winter!

Items Needed:

  • Zipper storage bags
  • Permanent markers
  • Alka-Seltzer tablets
  • Snow (If you don’t have any on the ground, make some by grinding up ice cubes in the blender!)
  • Safety goggles or clear glasses

Steps:

  1. Put on your safety goggles to observe the change in the snow
  2. Draw a snowman face on a zipper storage bag
  3. Fill the bag up with a pile of snow
  4. Place 2 – 3 Alka-Seltzer tablets inside the snow in the baggie and zip it up tightly
  5. Place the snowman in a bucket, large bowl or the sink and watch it expand
  6. How long does it take before you see the expansion? How long until the seal breaks on the bag?

Snow, Crackle, Pop!

Alka-Seltzer tablets are made up of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, which is a base. The base doesn’t mix with the acidic citric acid when the tablets are dry. However, when exposed to water they mix and create carbon dioxide gas.

You can see the reaction taking place when you see the bubbles that form in the snow in the baggie. This gas gets trapped in the sealed storage bag and causes the bag to expand until enough pressure builds and pops open the seal.

If you want to expand on the experiment, use less or more Alka-Seltzer, or mix the tablets with warm water. Document your findings and see what you discover!

Experiment Source: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/snow-science/

Photo: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/snow-science/