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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Hands-on experiment generates explosive results

July 15, 2013
Science doesn’t always need a labcoat, or even a lab.

Imagine getting completely drenched by a 16 foot geyser of soda spouting into the air. When you look at it that way, hands on learning can be fun AND extremely beneficial. Mr. Morgan’s Introduction to Natural Science class on the Lancaster Campus conducted an experiment in the last module with the simple tools of Mentos candy and soda.

“We were trying to test chemical reactions; we did that by trying to see the different reactions there would be when we used different types of soda-diet and regular- and different kinds of Mentos –gum and mints,” says Mr. Morgan about the experiment

This experiment demonstrates the process of nucleation, which in laymen’s terms is the process of gas being released at an extremely rapid rate when certain elements interact.

“It’s something safe and really fun,” says Mr. Morgan. “It gives you the ability to see first-hand how when you combine certain elements, that together they are really powerful.”

This messy experiment was both fun and beneficial. The hands-on aspect of the experiment allows students to have a better comprehension of the potential chemical reactions within the periodic table.

“I am a firm believer that an individual can learn a lot more by doing hands on projects and procedures, I’m starting to look at things more differently because of [Mr. Morgan’s] Introduction to Natural Science class,” says student Diane Langhus.

Diane was very surprised by the reaction of the experiment.

“I truly couldn’t imagine the idea that a candy could cause such an effect on soda. I honestly was skeptical… I did think something was going to happen, but not to that extent.”

Kimberly Dreiling wasn’t surprised about the reaction, but rather at how quickly it went into effect.

“I knew it was going to work, I had seen videos of the experiment but never done it in person,” says Kimberly, “When I put the non-coated Mentos into the soda bottle, I was thinking that the effect wouldn’t be so quick and before I finished dropping all of them into the bottle, the two elements had such a huge reaction… I didn’t have time to step back and before I knew it, the soda blasted right into the air hitting my forehead!”

Face-on learning. It’s what we do here at SJVC 🙂


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