Whether you try this during your homeschool year, at a science birthday party, or as part of a summer science bucket list for kids it will produce the same results – a really cool science experiment kids will LOVE.
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Pop Rock Science Experiment for Kids
Kids love doing science experiments that wow and amaze. This candy science experiment will wow, amaze, and teach all at the same time! Kids in Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade will enjoy this experiment. I first saw this experiment at Steve Spangler Science.
- Pop Rocks (1 envelope per bottle of soda + 1 for placebo + one for the kids to taste) Note: We found it easier just to buy them from Amazon as many stores don’t have pop rocks in stock any more.
- Balloons (1 balloon for each bottle of soda)
- Soda (1 liter bottle – you may want to try several different ones and have kids hypothesize which one will work best)
- Cool Science Gear for Kids (optional, but totally cool)
- Kid Science Kit (again optional, but so much fun!)
First you need to pour an entire envelope of pop rocks into each balloon being used. (We used 4 bottles, so 4 balloons). We did this easily by having me spread the balloon open and my 9 year old pouring them in. For younger children you can use a funnel.
Then I let my curious kids try pop rocks. My 3 year old was particularly curious, confused and then delighted by this most unusual candy!
Pop Rocks and Soda
Next we tried the basic experiment without the balloons. What would happen if we poured pop rocks into water. What happens if we pour pop rocks into soda. The kids were amazed at the poping noise and the fizz from the soda, but that was it. Now for the fun part . . . .
Pop Rocks Science Experiment
We carefully removed the lids from our four soda bottles and put the balloon over the opening being careful not to pour the pop rocks in until all the bottles were ready. We then had the kids hypothesize which soda they thought would inflate the balloon the biggest, fastest, etc.
The kids were super excited about this experiment.
Summer Science for Kids
What Makes a Pop Rock POP and Inflate a Balloon?
So besides being a really cool science experiment and a great way to show kids about the scientific method, what did they learn?
Apparently, Pop Rocks have small carbon dioxide bubbles inside. That is what makes the candy “pop”. Carbonated Beverages also have carbon dioxide in them (that is what makes them carbonated). When the pop rocks are dropped into the soda the carbon dioxide is able to separate from the high fructose corn syrup (which sweetens the soda). Because the carbon dioxide has no where to go it rises up, filling up the balloon.
We explained to the kids that if this were a real scientific experiment you would need to repeat the experiment to validate your findings.
Personally , I wanted to try it with “diet” soda to see if the carbon dioxide in the soda could release the same way if there was not high fructose corn syrup. If you try it before I do, I’d love to know what you find!
Minnie (my 6 year old) hypothesized correctly and “won” our balloon race. All 4 balloons did inflate, but not equally. In our experiment we found the regular Coke did the best with regular A&W Root Bear coming in a close 2nd. Sprite did fine and surprisingly (at least to me) Mountain Dew barely inflated the balloon.
TRY THIS! —-> Have your child taste the soda after the experiment – all the sodas will be flat. Why? Remember what makes soda carbonated is the trapped carbon dioxide, but you released that in the experiment to fill the balloon so the carbonation is gone.