LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop ESTIMATED TIME Setup: 5 minutes Procedure: 5 minutes

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1 LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop ESTIMATED TIME Setup: 5 minutes Procedure: 5 minutes DESCRIPTION Add Mentos mints to a bottle of diet soda pop to initiate a forceful escape of carbon dioxide gas. OBJECTIVE This lesson introduces solubility of gases and ways to affect solubility. Students observe as Mentos mints allow carbon dioxide gas to form and quickly escape from the soda pop solution. This lesson can be expanded to address polarity. CONTENT TOPICS Scientific inquiry; states of matter; properties of matter; chemical reactions; mixtures (solutions); attractive forces (polarity) This experiment should be performed outside, preferably in a large grassy area. Remind students to stand back. MATERIALS o Original Mentos breath mints o A 2-liter bottle of diet cola soda pop o Test tube or construction paper rolled into a tube o Index card Diet soda pop generally works better than regular soda pop and is less sticky. Always remember to use the appropriate safety equipment when conducting your experiment. Refer to the Safety First section in the Resource Guide on pages for more detailed information about safety in the classroom. Jump ahead to page 201 to view the Experimental Procedure. NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS SUBJECT MATTER This lesson applies both Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices and Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts from A Framework for K 12 Science Education, established as a guide for the updated National Science Education Standards. In addition, this lesson covers the following Disciplinary Core Ideas from that framework: PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter PS1.B: Chemical Reactions PS2.A: Forces and Motion ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World (see Analysis & Conclusion) OBSERVATION & RESEARCH BACKGROUND A solution is a uniform mixture in which one or more substances (solutes) are dissolved in another substance (solvent). For example, salt may be dissolved in water to form a saltwater solution. The salt is the solute, and the water is the solvent. In soda pop, high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners), flavorings, and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas are the solutes, and water is the solvent. Solubility is a physical property that describes the ability of a chemical substance (the solute) to dissolve in a solvent to create a uniform solution. A substance that dissolves in another substance is soluble. For example, salt is soluble in water. If a substance does not dissolve, it is insoluble. For instance, butter is insoluble in water. Several factors can affect solubility, including temperature, pressure, and the nature of the solute or You Be The LESSON Chemist 1: Activity Goofy Guides Putty page

2 LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop solvent. Under normal temperature and pressure conditions, CO2 is relatively insoluble in water, which causes the gas to form bubbles and escape from the liquid. However, manipulating pressure allows us to change the solubility of gases. As pressure increases, solubility increases. (More solute can be dissolved in a liquid at higher pressures.) Therefore, increasing pressure allows the CO2 to be dissolved into the soda pop. The bottle is then sealed under high pressure as well. When you open a can or bottle of soda pop, you are releasing some pressure and allowing some of the gas to escape, which creates the distinctive hissing sound. In addition, water molecules are strongly attracted to one another. (Water molecules like to be next to other water molecules.) Therefore, the water molecules hold the rest of the dissolved CO2 gas in the solution. Over time, the changes in conditions allow all or almost all of the CO2 to escape (unless you drink it first!). Certain conditions can cause the gas to escape quickly. Bubbles of CO2 can form in the soda pop solution, and the CO2 gas can escape when a rough surface is introduced. The rough surface of Mentos mints is the perfect place for bubbles to form. The bubbles form quickly all over the surface of the mint and begin to escape from the solution. The formation of the CO2 gas bubbles is much greater than the rate at which the gas can escape through the small opening of the bottle. Because the mints are heavy and sink to the bottom of the solution, many bubbles will form at the bottom of the solution. All of the gas bubbles moving toward the opening forcefully push the liquid out of the bottle as well, creating a geyser effect. FORMULAS & EQUATIONS Soda pop is a solution made of various solutes, such as high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners), flavorings, and carbon dioxide gas, dissolved in water (the solvent). The chemical formula for carbon dioxide is CO2. The chemical formula for pure water is H2O. CONNECT TO THE YOU BE THE CHEMIST CHALLENGE For additional background information, please review CEF s Challenge study materials online at Additional information on mixtures and solutions can be found in the Classification of Matter section of CEF s Passport to Science Exploration: The Core of Chemistry. Additional information on solutions and solubility can be found in the Chemicals by Volume Solutions section of CEF s Passport to Science Exploration: Chemistry Connections. HYPOTHESIS uadding Mentos mints to a bottle of diet cola soda pop will initiate a rapid release of carbon dioxide gas from the solution, resulting in an explosion of soda pop from the bottle. Fun Fact Effervescence is the term used to describe the escape of gas from a solution, generally in the form of foam or fizz. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 199

3 LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop DIFFERENTIATION IN THE CLASSROOM LOWER GRADE LEVELS/BEGINNERS Perform the experiment as described on page 201, but focus on states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Use pictures and have students write down or state their answers of whether a certain substance is a solid, liquid, or gas. For example, show a picture of or point to a desk solid. Show a picture of apple juice liquid. Show a picture of a clear sky (air) gas. Then, tell students that a bottle of soda pop can illustrate all three states. The bottle is a solid, the soda pop is a liquid, but where is the gas? Discuss how they know a gas is inside the liquid as well. Another option is to focus on mixtures and solutions. Use pictures and have students write down or state whether a certain substance is a solution or simply a mixture. For example, show a picture of apple juice solution. Show a picture of chicken noodle soup mixture. After they complete this exercise, be sure to remind them that solutions are a type of mixture. The apple juice is a solution and a mixture. HIGHER GRADE LEVELS/ADVANCED STUDENTS DESCRIPTION Add Mentos mints to a bottle of diet soda pop, causing the attraction of the water molecules to decrease and allowing the carbon dioxide gas to escape. OBJECTIVE This lesson introduces solubility of gases, polarity of water, and ways to affect solubility and the attraction of water molecules. Students observe as Mentos mints allow carbon dioxide gas to form and quickly escape from the soda pop solution. OBSERVATION & RESEARCH A solution is a uniform mixture in which one or more substances (solutes) are dissolved in another substance (solvent). For example, salt may be dissolved in water to form a saltwater solution. The salt is the solute, and the water is the solvent. In soda pop, high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners), flavorings, and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas are the solutes, and water is the solvent. Solubility is a physical property that describes the ability of a chemical substance (the solute) to dissolve in a solvent to create a uniform solution. Several factors can affect solubility, including temperature, pressure, and the nature of the solute or solvent. Under normal temperature and pressure conditions, CO2 is relatively insoluble in water, which causes the gas to form bubbles and escape from the liquid. However, manipulating pressure allows us to control the solubility of gases. As pressure increases, solubility increases (more solute can be dissolved in a liquid). Therefore, increasing pressure causes the CO2 to be dissolved into the soda pop. The bottle is then sealed under high pressure as well. When you open a can or bottle of soda pop, you are releasing some pressure and allowing some of the gas to escape, which creates the distinctive hissing sound. In addition, water molecules are strongly attracted to one another. Water molecules are polar molecules. Polar substances are made up of particles that have an uneven distribution of electrons, creating a negative and a positive side. The oxygen atom has a partial negative charge, and the hydrogen atoms have partial positive charges. Because opposites attract, the negatively charged oxygen atoms attract the positively charged hydrogen atoms in other water molecules. When the molecules interact, they form strong hydrogen bonds. These strong attractions help to hold the CO2 inside. CONNECT TO THE YOU BE THE CHEMIST CHALLENGE For additional background information, please review CEF s Challenge study materials online at Additional information on solutions, solubility, and polar substances can be found in the Chemicals by Volume Solutions section of CEF s Passport to Science Exploration: Chemistry Connections. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 200

4 LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop DIFFERENTIATION IN THE CLASSROOM In order for a bubble to form or expand, the water molecules must be pushed away from one another. When Mentos mints are added to the diet soda pop, the polar attraction between the water molecules is disrupted. In addition, the surface of Mentos mints is loaded with tiny nooks and crannies, called nucleation sites. These nucleation sites are where the bubbles form. The bubbles form quickly all over the surface of the mint in the nucleation sites and begin to escape from the solution. The formation of the CO2 gas bubbles is much greater than the rate at which the gas can escape through the small opening of the bottle. Because the mints are heavy and sink to the bottom of the solution, all of the gas bubbles rush upward toward the opening and forcefully push the liquid out of the bottle. EXPERIMENTATION As the students perform the experiment, challenge them to identify the independent, dependent, and controlled variables, as well as whether there is a control setup for the experiment. (Hint: If students try adding different substances to the soda pop, does the result change?) Review the information in the Scientific Inquiry section on pages to discuss variables. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE 1. Open a 2-liter bottle of diet soda pop. 2. Place approximately 10 Mentos mints into a column. You may use a test tube to hold the Mentos, or you can wrap a piece of construction paper into a tube around the Mentos to hold them in place. 3. Place an index card over the opening of the bottle and then place the column of mints on top of the card directly over the opening of the bottle. Because of the large amount of materials used, it is best to do this experiment as a demonstration. Again, this experiment must be done outside. The reaction is very quick and forceful, propelling the soda pop 5 15 feet in the air. DATA COLLECTION Have students record data in their science notebooks or on the following activity sheet. What happened when the Mentos mints were added to the diet soda pop? What did the fountain look like? Have students answer the questions on the activity sheet (or similar ones of your own) to guide the process. NOTES 4. Pull the card away and let the mints drop into the bottle. 5. Step away quickly and carefully. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 201

5 LESSON 16: Fountain of Soda Pop ANALYSIS & CONCLUSION Use the questions from the activity sheet or your own questions to discuss the experimental data. Ask students to determine whether they should accept or reject their hypotheses. Review the information in the Scientific Inquiry section on pages to discuss valid and invalid hypotheses. ASSESSMENT/GOALS Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to Apply a scientific inquiry process and perform an experiment. Define and give examples of solutions, solutes, and solvents. Explain solubility and ways to change the solubility of a solution. Identify the gas that is dissolved in soda pop. Explain the polarity of water (see Differentiation in the Classroom). Define nucleation sites and how they allow the formation of bubbles (see Differentiation in the Classroom). Fun Fact Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the gas that we exhale when we breathe. MODIFICATIONS/EXTENSIONS Modifications and extensions provide alternative methods for performing the lesson or similar lessons. They also introduce ways to expand on the content topics presented and think beyond those topics. Use the following examples, or have a discussion to generate other ideas as a class. 5-8 Before the experiment, drop one or two Mentos mints into a small glass of diet cola soda pop. Have the students observe what happens. Ask them if they know what creates the fizz, and explain that the fizz forms as a result of the release of carbon dioxide gas. Next, ask the students what will happen if you place 10 Mentos mints in a 2-liter bottle filled with diet cola soda pop. Challenge students to create different experimental setups to determine what variables create different results. Try different types of soda pop and observe the result. Try different candies or other substances and observe the result. Try crushed Mentos mints. The smaller pieces will fall more slowly and will create a less forceful expulsion of gas. See Lesson 12: The Great Escape for another lesson on solubility. REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS The concept of increasing pressure and releasing that pressure at a high speed is the same concept used to propel rockets. A simple rocket could be made from Mentos and diet soda pop. COMMUNICATION Discuss the results as a class and review the activity sheet. Review the information in the Scientific Inquiry section on pages to discuss the importance of communication to scientific progress. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 202

6 OBSERVE & RESEARCH 1. Write down the materials you observe. 2. Predict how these materials may be used. 3. Define the following key terms. Then, provide an example of each by writing the example or drawing/pasting an image of the example. Term Definition Example (write or add image) Solution Solubility Solute Solvent 4. Consider what will happen when Mentos mints are added to a bottle of diet cola soda pop and why. uwrite your hypothesis. You Be The Chemist Activity Guides page 203

7 PERFORM YOUR EXPERIMENT 1. Follow your teacher s instructions. 2. Observe as your teacher performs the experiment. ANALYZE & CONCLUDE 1. What do you see and hear when the bottle of soda pop is opened? What creates the sound? 2. What are the components of soda pop? 3. What happens when the Mentos mints are dropped into the bottle of diet cola soda pop? Why does that occur? 4. Is your hypothesis valid? Why or why not? If not, what would be your next steps? You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 204

8 EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE ADVANCED 1. Define the following key terms. Then, provide an example of each by writing the example or drawing/pasting an image of the example. Term Definition Example (write or add image) Polar substance Nonpolar substance Nucleation site 2. What do people mean (scientifically) when they say soda pop is flat? 3. Would a reaction with Mentos occur if the soda pop was flat? Why or why not? 4. What other ways can soda pop be forced out of the bottle? What creates the force? You Be The Chemist Activity Guides page 205

9 ANSWER KEY: Below are suggested answers. Other answers may also be acceptable. OBSERVE & RESEARCH 1. Write down the materials you observe. Mentos mints, diet cola soda pop Predict how these materials may be used. The Mentos mints may be used to freshen breath. You may drink diet cola soda pop to quench your thirst. These materials may be combined to create a chemical reaction. 3. Define the following key terms. Then, provide an example of each by writing the example or drawing/pasting an image of the example. Term Definition Example (write or add image) Solution A homogeneous (uniform) mixture in which one or more substances (solutes) are dissolved in another substance (solvent). Solubility A measure of the amount of solute that can be dissolved in a solvent. Solute A substance that is dissolved in a solution. Solvent A substance capable of dissolving another substance. 4. Consider what will happen when Mentos mints are added to a bottle of diet cola soda pop and why. uwrite your hypothesis. When Mentos mints are added to a bottle of diet cola soda pop, carbon dioxide bubbles will form rapidly around the mints, pushing the liquid out of the bottle. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 206

10 ANSWER KEY: Below are suggested answers. Other answers may also be acceptable. PERFORM YOUR EXPERIMENT 1. Follow your teacher s instructions. 2. Observe as your teacher performs the experiment. ANALYZE & CONCLUDE 1. What do you see and hear when the bottle of soda pop is opened? What creates the sound? When the bottle of soda pop is opened, you hear a hissing sound and you see bubbles rising to the top of the soda pop bottle. The sound is created by the release of pressure. As the pressure is released, some carbon dioxide bubbles escape from the solution and make their way out of the soda pop bottle. 2. What are the components of soda pop? Soda pop is a solution of high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners), flavorings, and carbon dioxide gas dissolved in water. 3. What happens when the Mentos mints are dropped into the bottle of diet cola soda pop? Why does that occur? When the Mentos mints are dropped into the bottle, they cause carbon dioxide gas bubbles to form and rise rapidly from the soda pop and forcefully leave the bottle. The soda pop comes out of the bottle like a geyser. 4. Is your hypothesis valid? Why or why not? If not, what would be your next steps? Answer 1: Valid because the data support my hypothesis. Answer 2: Invalid because the data do not support my hypothesis. I would reject my hypothesis and could form a new one, such as You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 207

11 ANSWER KEY: Below are suggested answers. Other answers may also be acceptable. EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE ADVANCED Have students complete this section if you used the advanced differentiation information, or challenge them to find the answers to these questions at home and discuss how these terms relate to the experiment in class the next day. 1. Define the following key terms. Then, provide an example of each by writing the example or drawing/pasting an image of the example. Term Definition Example (write or add image) Polar substance A substance made up of particles that have an uneven distribution of electrons, creating a negative and a positive side. Nonpolar substance A substance made up of particles that have an even distribution of electrons; the charges on these particles are neutralized. Nucleation site An area where droplets of liquid can condense from a vapor, bubbles of gas can form in a boiling liquid, or new crystals can grow in a solution. 2. What do people mean (scientifically) when they say soda pop is flat? When people say soda pop is flat, they mean that it lacks carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. Over time, CO2 gas will escape from the solution, reducing the amount of CO2 contained in the soda pop. Thus, the soda pop loses its fizz. 3. Would a reaction with Mentos occur if the soda pop was flat? Why or why not? No, the reaction would not be as forceful because the rapid release of CO2 is what causes the explosion. When there is not much CO2, the force will not be as great. 4. What other ways can soda pop be forced out of a bottle? What creates the force? Shaking a soda pop bottle also forces the solution out of the bottle. When the soda pop is shaken, the excess CO2 that fills the space above the soda pop in the bottle is then mixed throughout the bottle, which causes a lot of CO2 bubbles to form and increases the pressure in the bottle. When the top is then opened, these CO2 bubbles push up and out of the bottle quickly, forcing the liquid out as well. You Be The Chemist Activity Guide page 208

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