Rookie Science: Pumpkin Volcano!

Kids Club

Video Transcript:

Greetings friends!  It’s your friendly neighborhood librarian.  My name is Miss Erin and I’m the children’s librarian here at Scaleybark Library with your next installment of Rookie Science here at the Digital Branch.  But today, instead of Rookie Science, we’re going to call it Spooky Science!  Woooooowhoooo . . . don’t worry it’s not that spooky, I promise.

What we’re going to be doing today is we’re going to be talking about acids, bases, and chemical reactions by making pumpkin volcanoes.

First and foremost, you’re going to need a pumpkin and that’s an adventure in and of itself, going to find the actual pumpkin.  You’re also going to need some baking soda, vinegar, dish soap (any kind of dish soap will work), and food coloring to create your pumpkin volcano.  So, should we go ahead and get started?  Let’s do it!

So first things first, what you’re going to want to do is grab your grown-up and your grow-up is going to want to cut out the top of your pumpkin.  Okay?  You really want to make sure because you’ll be working with sharp knives so you want to make sure a grown-up is there to do it.

Once that’s done, just like when you’re carving your regular pumpkin you want to scoop out some of those guts that are in there.  Now don’t go too crazy, you don’t have to scoop out everything, just enough so you have some space in there for the um volcano to actually erupt.  Cool?  Cool.

Once you’ve done that – you’ve cut off your top, you’ve scooped out some of those guts, you’re going to add your baking soda.  Remember, the more baking soda you add, the bigger the eruption.

Now, we’re going to add a couple drops of dish soap.  You can add as much or as little as you want.  Get some bubbles out of there.

Next we’re going to add some food coloring.  Now, you don’t have to, but it just makes it all the more fun to watch it erupt in lots of cool colors.  I’m going to use green today because of Halloween.

This is the fun part.  This is when we get to add our vinegar and we’re going to see what happens. Okay?  All right, so once we do this we’ll have a little talk about what exactly happened with our pumpkin volcano.  Here we go! 1 – 2 – 3!  Let’s see what happens!

WHOAAAAA!!!!  Check out that eruption!  Here’s a little tip – try cutting out a Jack-O-Lantern face on your pumpkin and see what happens when you do that.  Something really cool, I promise.

So now that we’ve done our experiment, what exactly is the science behind our pumpkin volcano?  Like I said in the beginning we were talking about acids, bases, and those chemical reactions.  So acids and bases are basically two special kinds of chemicals.  Almost all liquids are either an acid or a base.  So even milk, water, all of those are considered either acids or bases.  Whether a liquid is an acid or base depends on a couple things and that is what kind of ions it has in it.  If it has a lot of hydrogen ions, then it’s an acid.  If it has a lot of hydroxide ions, then it’s a base.  So when we were doing our pumpkin experiment, when the acid, which is our vinegar, met our base, which was the baking soda, they created a gas called carbon dioxide.  And when the carbon dioxide was created that is what caused the eruption that you just saw.  Isn’t that cool?

Well thank you so much for joining us on this edition of Spooky Science, also known as Rookie Science.  Make sure to join us next month, where we’ll have another fun experiment to share that you can do at home.

All right, thanks so much you guys.  Happy Sciencing!

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