Incr-Edible Science: Quest based science

Last week we made some rather revolting lemonade.  If I’m honest, calling it lemonade is a stretch.  It was fizzy and it has lemon in it.  ‘Nuff said!

I set the children two Incr-Edible Science tasks.

The first was to design a method which would use the chemistry we had learnt to produce more palatable lemonade.  Thomas chose this one.  He knew it was the salt (Sodium Citrate) which gave the horrid taste to the lemonade.  He deduced that if he could make apparatus which allowed the CO2 into the lemonade but kept everything else away from the lemonade, it would result in fizz and no bitterness.  He decided to play around with some ideas small-scale before he tried for a whole glass, stating he didn’t want to waste too much lemon juice.  Here is his first attempt:

T11 separated the lemon syrup from the bicarb by using a reaction between vinegar and bicarb in the first test tube and bubbling the gas into the lemon syrup
T11 separated the lemon syrup from the bicarb by using a reaction between vinegar and bicarb in the first test tube and bubbling the gas into the lemon syrup.
 The idea was a good one, only the bicarb and vinegar fizz mixture was stronger than the lemon juice and bicarb reaction T11 had already experienced and fizzed straight through the tubing into the lemon syrup, some also escaped out of the tubing as you can see.
The idea was a good one, only the bicarb and vinegar fizz mixture was stronger than the lemon juice and bicarb reaction T11 had already experienced and fizzed straight through the tubing into the lemon syrup, some also escaped out of the tubing as you can see.  The lemonade was even worse than before as it now had vinegar added to it.  Yuck!

T11 was utterly undeterred, and enthusiastically made some changes to his design:

He first decided to tape around the edges of the test tube to stop any gas escaping.  He also decided that he would use less vinegar, surmising it was such a vigorous reaction that it would probably still produce enough gas to make the lemon fizzy
He first decided to tape around the edges of the test tube to stop any gas escaping. He also decided that he would use less vinegar, surmising it was such a vigorous reaction that it would probably still produce enough gas to make the lemon fizzy
T11 added the bicarb and then quickly placed the lid in the test tube
T11 added the bicarb and then quickly placed the lid in the test tube
Here you can see the gas fizzing into the lemon, but vinegar staying in its test tube.  Result!
Here you can see the gas fizzing into the lemon, but vinegar staying in its test tube. Result!
And the taste test....
And the taste test….
Again the face says it all!  Success!
Again the face says it all! Success!

Yesterday evening I had him do it large-scale with the hopes of achieving a glass of fizzy lemonade.  Unbeknown to me, he had been playing about with his design in order to improve on it:

His new design consisted of funnels, with plastocene to ensure no escape of air, a larger tube to allow more CO2 through and two larger bottles.
His new design consisted of funnels, with plasticine to ensure no escape of air, a larger tube to allow more CO2 through and two larger bottles, one with the lemon juice and one with vinegar
He added the Bicarb
He added the Bicarb
and with Daddy's help capped off the bottles with the tubed funnels
and with Daddy’s help capped off the bottles with the tubed funnels
Here you can see the CO2 bubbling through the tube into the lemon juice
Here you can see the CO2 bubbling through the tube into the lemon juice
We all had a taste.  It was very good with no taste of salt or vinegar in it at all.  We did  decide it wasn't quite as fizzy as his tests.  Accept for A4 who thought it was perfect.
We all had a taste. It was very good with no taste of salt or vinegar in it at all. We did decide it wasn’t quite as fizzy as his tests. Accept for A4 who thought it was perfect.

The second quest was to blow up a balloon using what they had learnt about the reaction between acid and alkaline:

Here L10 is adding bicarb to the vinegar...
Here L10 is adding bicarb to the vinegar…
...unfortunately, she was so excited by the reaction that she forgot to put on the balloon!!
…unfortunately, she was so excited by the reaction that she forgot to put on the balloon!!
So she tried again with me helping to put the balloon on as soon as she had put in the bicarb
So she tried again with me helping to put the balloon on as soon as she had put in the bicarb
And she obtained a great result!
And she obtained a great result!

I asked if she could figure a way to do it which did not require my help.  She thought and came up with putting the Bicarb in the balloon before attaching it to a bottle with vinegar in.  Can I tell you how proud I am of her?  Here is a girl who really struggles with maths, and who seems a complete natural at chemistry.  It is wonderful to see!

L10 putting the Bicarb into the balloon
L10 putting the Bicarb into the balloon
Raring to go
Raring to go
Emptying from the balloon to the bottle
Emptying from the balloon to the bottle
B2 helping steady the balloon!
B2 helping steady the balloon!
A very happy and excited L10!
A very happy and excited L10!

We are really enjoying our science at the moment!

Science Sunday

25 comments

  1. The pure joy on your children’s face say it all! Learning that is fun and lasting… perfect! I can’t recall ever having a smile on my face during Chemistry at school… and certainly not during Chemistry at undergraduate level… oh no… serious business it was. So serious I don’t think I took too much in or for that fact remembered too much. Well done you guys!

    1. I never understood chemistry until now. Truly, I am finding out that learning happens most effectively when you discover something for yourself. I am basically educating myself along side my children, and having lots of fun doing so!

  2. Wow, I know I have said this so often but I am really amazed at the lessons you do! Must be so much more in-depth than what would be done at school! Great job!

    1. I agree. I’m definitely setting them more quest based activities- it really got them excited. I think they are just at the right age. Looks like our home-school is set to change once more. I hope I’m able to keep up!

  3. It looks like you are raising several scientists. It’s great that your son was able to improve his lemonade design. That take patience.

    1. He’s always had those type of inventor/engineering interests, even as a little boy. I find it fascinating watching him apply it to almost every area of his life. He’s always convinced he can reinvent the wheel….or at least improve on it!

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