Soda drink

Mix juice (containing acid) with baking soda. The reaction produces CO2 gas, which makes the juice into a fizzy soda. For older students, use different juices which vary in their acidity and produce different amounts of gas.
Science content
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules (3-7)
Chemistry: Chemical Changes (2, 7)
  • orange juice (room temperature works best)
  • small dixie cups/plastic cups, one per student
  • baking soda, a small cup. Kindergarten students might need their baking soda pre-aliquotted into tubes.
  • coffee stir sticks, which are used as a scoop and stirrer. tiny scoops (~1/16tspn) can also be used to add the baking soda to the orange juice for more consistent results
  • If doing Procedure B (comparing different juices), you will need additional fruit juices, each juice in a squeeze bottle. Include lemon juice (not sugared), and apple juice, as well as the orange juice. Optionally include cranberry juice.
  • Procedure B also needs 15ml tubes (one per juice) and a rack for each student group
  • optional: molecule models, or equivalent (e.g. clay and toothpicks). You will need 2 white H atoms, one black C atom, 3 red O atoms and 6 bonds to model one reaction.

Procedure A makes a soda drink with orange juice and baking soda. The students find out where the bubbles come from. Good for all ages.
Procedure B compares the amount of bubbles made when baking soda is added to different juices. Students learn about acidity. Best for intermediates.

Procedure A. Make soda drink:
Fill a dixie cup with juice. Drink a little of it to see what it tastes like before the experiment.
Scoop up about 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, using a tiny scoop or a coffee stir stick. Tip it into to the cup of juice and stir it in. Look carefully for tiny bubbles rising to the top of the liquid. Listen for bubbles popping on the surface (quiet is needed to hear them). Taste the juice again - the juice should be fizzy.
Discuss the state changes during this chemical reaction: a liquid and a solid produced a gas. The gas bubbles stayed in the liquid, to make the drink taste fizzy.
The specifics of the reaction can be discussed: the bubbles are carbon dioxide, formed by the chemical reaction between an acid (the juice) and a base (the baking soda).

Optional molecule modelling of the reaction:
Give students molecule models of the molecules in baking soda and orange juice. Ask them to figure out the new molecules that are made when the baking soda and orange juice mix, by taking apart these molecules and rearranging the atoms to make new molecules. Give them a hint that one of the new molecules is water (show a model), and ask them to use up all the rest of the atoms and bonds to make the other molecule.
HCO3 (baking soda) + H (orange juice) —> H2O (water) + CO2 (carbon dioxide gas)
See the molecule photo above. Note that the CO2 molecule has two double bonds - students may need prompting to fill up all the holes in the atoms to complete this molecule.
Once all students have made their water and CO2 molecules, name the carbon dioxide molecule and ask if students have heard of it. Tell them that it is a gas, and this is what makes their soda drink fizzy.
The chemical reaction they just modelled, is the same as what is happening when they make orange juice and baking soda to make their soda drink.

Further discussion on soda drinks and acidity:
Canned sodas are fizzy because they have carbon dioxide gas in them. Soda fountains inject carbon dioxide gas into drinks.
Anything that has free H atoms (ions) is acidic and tastes sour. The more sour it tastes the more H ions it has e.g. lemon juice has more H ions than orange juice. We add sugar to drinks to mask the sour taste.

Procedure B. Make soda drink, then compare different juices:
Start by making a soda drink with orange juice, as in Procedure A.
Students use molecule models to figure out the chemical reaction that made the bubbles of gas:
Give them the starting molecules, and ask them to rearrange the atoms and bonds to figure out what molecules are made (given them a hint that one of the end molecules is water).
HCO3 (in the baking soda, or base) + H (in the juices) —> H2O (water) + CO2 (carbon dioxide gas)
See the molecule photo.

Then compare different juices for how many bubbles they make with baking soda:
Some juices have fewer H atoms in them, so when baking soda is added, they will make fewer CO2 molecules. Therefore fewer gas bubbles are made. Juices with more H atoms in them can make more CO2 molecules, so will make more bubbles of gas.

Give student groups squeezy bottles of the juices, three 15ml tubes in a rack (one tube for each juice type), baking soda in a pot with a mini scoop, and optionally a workhseet (see attached document; print double sided; half sheet each).
Students write on some paper under the tubes to record which juice will go in which tube, then add 5ml each kind of juice to its respective tube.
They then add one mini scoop of baking soda to a juice, use a stir stick to mix the contents quickly, then remove the stick. Use the numbers on the side of the tube to record where the bubbles rise to for each juice type.

While allowing students to keep experimenting with mixing different juices, bring each group in turn to the board to graph their single-juice results, juice type on the x-axis and ml the bubbles rise to on the y axis. There will be variation between the groups, but that is expected with real data collection, and outliers can be used to demonstrate how data is rarely completely tightly grouped.

Class discussion while looking at the graph:
Which juice makes most bubbles [lemon juice], which the least [apple juice]?
Refer back to the chemical reaction: the juice that makes the most bubbles of carbon dioxide must have the most H atoms in it (as the amount of juice and baking soda was the same each time - the only thing that changed was the kind of juice, hence the number of H atoms). Hence the lemon juice has more (or a greater concentration of) H atoms in it, apple juice the least, and orange in the middle.

The number of H atoms in a juice determines how acidic it is, which is the same as how sour it is.
So fewer H atoms means less acidic and less sour. And more H atoms mean more acidic and more sour.
Which juice would you predict is the most sour? (The one with the most bubbles, as it would have more H atoms.)
Students can taste each juice to test if the juice with the most bubbles is also the most sour. Lemon juice will certainly be very sour, and apple juice not sour. A complication is that sugar is added to juices to offset the sourness, so cranberry juice, which is very acidic, and will make lots of bubbles, may not obviously taste the most sour. Students may be able to detect the sourness of cranberry juice behind the sweetness.

After looking at the graph together, or while groups are bringing their data to the graph, allow students to experiment with mixing juices to compare bubbles made. Encourage them to think about how much of each juice they are adding and make predictions about the bubbles that will be made.

Attached documents

Try with lemonade - may be a way yummier soda drink. (Also students first think of lemon when asked to brianstorm sour things.)

Adding too much baking soda makes the drink taste funny.

Purchase molecule models online at Indigo Instruments
One set to model the chemical reaction above requires:
2 hydrogen atoms #60110E (1 Hole 17mm White Atom) 45 cents each in 2017
3 oxygen atoms #60200E (2 Hole 105 Degree 23mm Red Atom) 59 cents each in 2017
1 carbon atom #60400E (4 Hole tetrahedral 23mm Black Atom) 67 cents each in 2017
6 bonds #61013E (Molymod Double-Triple Bonds) 19 cents each in 2017
Get at least one set per student pair and several extra atoms of each type and 10 or so spare bonds.
For 15 sets plus spares you'll spend about $100 with tax and shipping.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7