In celebration of the letter V, Ms. Johnson's PK3 class created a real life volcano! Other PK classes joined them out on the field to witness the bubbling eruption. Photo credits to Abbey Wright
Students demonstrated and imitated the experiment, popping up in the air to relive the event, and other friends in the classes were overheard saying:
"The volcano went (sound of explosion) and up in the air!"
"The volcano was cool!"
"I want to do it again!"
"Volcano is a V."
The volcano experiment was created using a cola bottle wrapped in brown paper to look like a mountain, into which Ms. Johnson dropped mint Mentos candies. When the Mentos comes in contact with the Diet Coke, a reaction causes the rapid formation of foam. Scientists concluded that potassium benzoate, aspartame, and CO2 gas contained in the Diet Coke, in combination with the gelatin and gum Arabic ingredients of the Mentos, all contribute to the formation of the foam. The surface of the mint Mentos is also covered with many small holes that increase the surface area available for reaction (and thus the quantity of reagents exposed to each other at any given time), thereby allowing CO2 bubbles to form with the rapidity and quantity necessary for the "jet"- or "geyser"-like nature of the reaction. You can try this at home, but be sure to do it OUTSIDE!
An alternative experiment involves adding white vinegar to baking soda (adding red food coloring for dramatic effect is optional). While less explosive than Mentos & Diet Cola, it will still create a great Volcano eruption depending on the proportion of baking soda to vinegar. These experiments can both be very messy, so be sure to try them outside for minimal clean up!