Friday, 3 November 2017

Pumpkin Exploration and Eruption

I think that one of the most important responsibilities of a teacher is to get kids excited about learning and exploring. Their curiosity will also fuel their desire to learn. They will want to learn because enjoy the process, not for the results.

Teaching science is one of those subjects that has the power to do just that! Consider that by using some inexpensive products you probably already have at home, your kids could learn about density, composting, recycling, climate changes, and different chemical reactions! It opens the doors to so many questions and new ideas!

The kids in our group love exploring with all senses: by touching, smelling, seeing, tasting, and hearing they will remember easily what ingredients we used and what happened. Of course, not all of them are very eager to smell vinegar or poke a gooey green egg, but at least they observe what happens when others do it. We try to encourage them to observe and learn through hands-on activities.

The exploding volcano experiment is a classic, but this time we made it inside of a pumpkin. First, we cut the pumpkin and hulled the seeds. The kids got to smell and touch the pulp and the fibrous strands and we left them overnight to dry. The seeds also make wonderful math manipulatives (but you have to keep an eye on the kids).

Thanks to Nea for taking this photo! :)

After getting everything out and rinsing it a bit, we placed baking soda, a bit of red food colouring, and then the kids took turns in pouring vinegar over that. The most fun part was poking the bubbles!

We talked with the kids about the ingredients used and their other uses, about parts of a pumpkin, and about the fact that vinegar and baking soda react and make the volcano erupt (it’s a bit too much to explain the kids about the reaction between a base and an acid, so we stopped at that this time).

Here’s the volcano we made two years ago:

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