This experiment uses the same chemical reaction behind the well-known homemade volcano project and the self-inflating balloon experiment. When vinegar (an acid) reacts with baking soda (a base) one of the products of the chemical reaction is carbon dioxide, a gas. In the volcano, the gas creates a bubbly solution which comes oozing out of the volcano. In the balloon experiment, the gas fills up the balloon. In this raisin experiment, the effect is more subtle, but still impressive.
Basically, by adding baking soda and vinegar to another liquid, like water, the liquid becomes filled with many bubbles which rise to the surface and pop. If a light object is placed inside the liquid, such as raisins or peanuts, the bubbles stick to the surface of the light objects, increasing their buoyancy, and causing them to rise to the surface with the bubbles. When the bubbles pop at the surface of the liquid, the objects, which on their own are more dense than the liquid, then fall back to the bottom. On the way down and while sitting on the bottom, they collect more bubbles, causing the process to repeat for several minutes. Eventually, either enough of the reactants will be used up to stop the process or enough air bubbles will get trapped inside the raisins to make them remain floating on the surface.
Dancing Raisins Science Experiment
- A clear drinking glass half-filled with water
- About 1 Tbsp baking soda
- Enough vinegar to fill the remainder of the glass
- 3 raisins, cut or ripped in half
- A spoon
- First, use your spoon to place about a tablespoon of baking soda into the glass half-filled with water. The exact amount is not important.
- Stir the baking soda until it is dissolved in the water.
- Drop the 6 raisin halves into the glass.
- Next, pour some vinegar into the glass until it is about 3/4 full.
- You may need to jostle the raisins a bit with your spoon to get them going. If this doesn't work, try adding a little more vinegar. If this still doesn't work, try cutting the raisins into smaller pieces to make them even lighter.
- Watch in amazement as your raisins slowly rise to the surface, then fall back down, over and over again.
More Science Activities for Kids
- Animal Cells (Edible!) K-6th
- Crystals - How to Grow Crystals K-6th
- Crystal Egg Geode Science Experiment K-6th
- Habitat Adventure Game (Exploring Biomes, Animals, and Taxonomy) K-6th
- Hatching ButterfliesK-6th
- How to Make a Lava Lamp - K-6th
- Pop Rock Science Experiment K-6th
- Slime (recipe to make your own!) K-3rd
- Squishy Circuits (PreK-6th)
- Zoo Scavenger Hunts - 17 different hunts for kids Toddler - 6th Grade
- Homemade Battery Science Experiment
Michelle is a homeschooling mama of 3 young kiddos and a former engineer and research scientist. She blogs at Research Parent, an education-focused website featuring free printable learning material and activities for K-12. Follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter