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Frozen Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar Experiment

Frozen baking soda / bicarbonate of soda and vinegar science experiment

This Frozen baking soda / bicarbonate of soda and vinegar science experiment is a fun way for children to see how temperature affects chemical reactions.  When I do this with my children, I add in food colouring (or natural pH indicators) so that they can see the colours mix along with the chemical reaction. 

Older children can do several baking soda / bicarbonate of soda and vinegar science experiments, to compare how freezing vinegar or freezing baking soda changes the reaction.  When comparing your reaction, it is advised that children use the same amount of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar each time. 

What you need

  • Baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
  • Vinegar
  • Ice cube tray (s)
  • Baking tray / ceramic tray (s)
  • Use of a freezer
  • Measuring cups

To do this, you need to freeze vinegar (mixed with food colouring optional) in ice cube trays.  In order to freeze baking soda, mix it with some water (and food colouring) and place it in ice cube trays before freezing them.  If you are doing this as a comparative experiment, make sure that you measure the baking soda and vinegar so that you compare the same amounts each time.

*Above, we placed frozen vinegar with some cabbage juice (natural pH indicator) in a tray of bicarbonate of soda.

Questions to ask

  • What happens when you mix bicarbonate of soda and vinegar?
  • Is there a difference when you freeze vinegar and add it to bicarbonate of soda?  What about when you freeze bicarbonate of soda and add it to vinegar? Why do you think it happened?
  • How does freezing them change the reaction?  How does it affect how quickly they react / how long they take to react?
  • Which did you like best?  Why?
  • Why do you think they do different things?
  • What did you learn?
In the video above, we placed frozen bicarbonate of soda mixed with turmeric (a natural pH indicator) into a tray of vinegar.
In the video above, we placed frozen bicarbonate of soda mixed with red cabbage (natural pH indicator) into a tray of vinegar.

What they get from bicarbonate of soda /baking soda and vinegar experiments

Doing a frozen baking soda / bicarbonate of soda and vinegar science experiment is a fun, hands-on, way for children to be able to compare reactions of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.  Research shows that people learn best (for long-term memory at least) when they learn through hands-on, practical experiences (Hearns, Miller & Nelson, 2009; Hillman, 2011; Ferri, B.H., Ferri, A.A., Majerich, D.M., Madden, A.G., 2016).  It’s also an opportunity for children to be able to begin to develop scientific thinking.  Further, inquiry based learning will encourage children’s curiosity and love of learning which also benefits the process of learning (Ambrose et al. 2010; Froyd 2008; Prince & Felder, 2007; Springer, Stanne & Donovan, 1999).

There are also opportunities for children to develop scientific skills such as prediction, observation, recording (including data recording) and sharing/presenting their ideas.  Children may also draw or write to record what they observe, which can be a good motivation for children who are reluctant to write.

Take it further

Offer children the opportunity to think of another experiment to try. This will further support inquiry based learning.

You may want to see my other experiments using bicarbonate of soda / baking soda and vinegar with children.  This includes:

References

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. https://books.google.com/books

Ferri, B.H., Ferri, A.A., Majerich, D.M., Madden, A.G. (2016).  Effects of In-Class Hands-On Laboratories in a Large Enrollment, Multiple Section Blended Linear Circuits Course.  Advances in Engineering Education, 5 (3). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1121997.pdf

Froyd, J. E. (2008). White paper on promising practices in undergraduate STEM education. Commissioned paper, Board on Science Education, National Academies. Retrieved from https://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/BOSE/DBASSE_080106#.UUoV5hngJ8g

Hearns, M.K., Miller, B.K. and Nelson, D.L. (2009).  Hands-On Learning versus Learning by Demonstration at Three Recall Points in University Students. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 30 (4), 169-171. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3928/15394492-20090825-01

Hillman, C.N. (2011).  The effects of hands-on learning versus learning by demonstration on memory in community dwelling older adults (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Toledo).  Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6231/d55fc1c730ec086f012677c54141f466e18e.pdf

Prince, M., & Felder, R. (2007). The many facets of inductive teaching and learning. Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(5), 14–20.  https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents

Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., & Donovan, S. (1999). Measuring the success of small-group learning in college-level SMET teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69, 21–51.  http://archive.wceruw.org/cl1/CL/resource/scismet.pdf

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