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Recently, we made our very own fizzing lemonade. In this simple science experiment, we mix a base with an acid to get a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide (CO2) which are the bubbles you find in commercial fizzy drinks. Neat!
You will need:
- 1-2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda* (please read our safety note about ingesting bicarb of soda at the bottom and watch that children stick to the recipe)
- cold water (at least equal to the amount of lemon juice)
- 1-2 teaspoons of sugar (to taste)
- measuring spoon
How to make Fizzing Lemonade
- Squeeze (and strain) the juice of one lemon into a glass
- Add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (we added it by the 1/2 teaspoon to see multiple reactions)
- Give it a stir to really get the reaction happening!
- Add some sugar to water to taste and add to lemon mixture. (There should be more frothing but not as big as the first reaction. Why do you think that is?)
- Taste your lemonade! (What can you notice? What can you feel on your tongue?)
When the lemon juice (acid) and the bicarbonate of soda (base) mix, they form a chemical reaction known as an acid-base reaction. This is the same sort of reaction that you get when you mix bicarb soda and vinegar, such as in the classic erupting volcano experiment. The reaction produces as gas called carbon dioxide (CO2) which creates bubbles when formed in a liquid like in this fizzing lemonade experiment. This process is called carbonation.
- Play around with the quantities. Add more lemon for a greater citrus taste, add more bicarb of soda for greater fizz, add more water to dilute, add more sugar to make it sweeter. What is your perfect combination?
- Extend this activity by:
- Having children write a hypothesis about what they think is going to happen.
- Can they identify which ingredient is an acid and which is a base?
- Draw or write about the process and result
- Mix it Up. Try this experiment using a variety of different fruit juices and see the different results produced. Which fruit had the biggest reaction?
- Baking powder is not the same as baking soda and should not be used as a substitute.
- Safety first. Like many things, baking soda/bicarb of soda is not safe to be ingested in large quantities so please supervise young children. It is safe for them to consume a small amount such as this fizzing lemonade experiment.
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