Two popular sugary treats were the main components of a recent STEAM lesson for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students at Merrimac Elementary School that explored chemical reactions and states of matter.
As part of the experiment, students attempted to predict the outcome of mixing Mentos candy with diet Coca-Cola. After writing their predictions, teachers Brooke Sarfati and Katy Wilkinson took the students outside to conduct the experiment. Swiftly dropping the Mentos into the soda created a fizzy stream that erupted towards the sky. Students observed in amazement until the majority of soda left the bottle.
Following the experiment, students learned that the reaction was caused by nucleation which occurred on the porous surface of the Mentos candy, causing the formation of carbon dioxide molecules that needed to escape.
Concluding the activity, students sketched their observations and viewed videos on similar experiments incorporating a variety of variables.