New Experience #1: Mentos and Soda Experiment

mentos and soda

It is hard to believe that we are starting back at New Experience #1!  Our last 52 New Experiences were so much fun that we have decided to do another 52.  We are either the most fun-loving family you’ll ever meet, or we are just plain crazy.

new experience listI wanted to start 2013 off with a bang.  The kids look at our handwritten list of New Experiences hanging in our kitchen and love to relive the experience of licking 9 volt batteries.  They have heard me say we started 2012 “with a bang” and now they use that expression to describe it.

So, I thought a science experiment in which soda erupts from its bottle would be a perfect way to start our second round of New Experiences “with a bang”.

I picked up a roll of Mentos and a 20 ounce Pepsi at the grocery store while I was shopping.  It wasn’t until I got home and reread the directions that I realized I didn’t get the right ingredients.  The directions call for a 2 liter bottle of diet soda.  I knew we were going to wind up with a smaller geyser than the video online, and I wondered if the experiment would work at all.  Going back to the store was not an option as I had two eager kids waiting to experiment.

I showed the kids the ingredients and asked them what they thought would happen if we put all the Mentos into the bottle of soda.  Leah thought the Mentos would melt, and Luke agreed with her.  I was really hoping the experiment would be a success so they would be surprised.

We went outside and quickly dropped the Mentos through a tube of paper into the bottle of soda. To my surprise, the experiment actually worked!  The soda bubbled up and gushed out of the bottle.  It didn’t shoot up several feet in the air like some videos I saw online, but it was still impressive.  I did not get a good picture of the full eruption because it was very short-lived.

We talked about how it doesn’t really matter if our hypotheses are wrong.  We learn more when the unexpected happens.  I also attempted to explain how the experiment works, but it is  actually pretty complicated.  Even scientists disagree as to why and how Mentos makes soda erupt, so I focused on that teaching point.  There are still so many mysteries in the world, and that is what makes science so intriguing.  I also admitted that I bought the wrong ingredients.  The upside to my mistake is that we will need to try it with diet soda to compare what happens.  I didn’t tell Luke and Leah, but I think we’ll also have to try it with other size bottles and see what happens.  This was such an interesting experiment that I am sure we will do it a few times this year.  I might as well expand on it each time!

soda and mentosThis New Experience was definitely one of the shortest ones we’ve tried, but it was a lot of fun for everyone.  Even though the experiment captivated their attention, I think the best part for Luke and Leah was drinking the leftover soda.  We very rarely drink soda, and I don’t usually let them drink anything with caffeine in it, so drinking Pepsi was a fun treat to kick off our second year of New Experiences!



About 52BrandNew

I am a single stay at home mom who is determined to live life to its fullest.
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17 Responses to New Experience #1: Mentos and Soda Experiment

  1. I love it! So inspiring, so wacky, your list is so enticing. Thanks for the many great ideas. Time to get crackin’!

  2. davidvshade says:

    Thank you so much for these. On my weekky goals for 2013, I added “New Experience”. We’re two weeks in and having fun. I love your blog and ideas!

  3. Hadn’t spotted the thing about diet being better before – will definitely have to give it another go.

  4. Lovely idea! I wonder what it tasted like?

  5. Michelle says:

    This is great! I am going to pilfer this idea and use it for my 52 brand new next week! My boys will LOVE this!

  6. My 8 year old never tires of this experiment, and anyone watching can’t help but get excited with the big eruption. You’ll have to try it again with the right size soda. Here’s a link to our latest attempt:

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Your experiment definitely worked better than ours did! Thanks for sharing! Now I will definitely buy the geyser tube. It really directs the soda into one stream, so you have more of a geyser effect.

  7. walktx says:

    I saw this and thought of the sensation I get when I eat a mint lifesaver and afterward take a drink of diet Dr. Pepper. Get fizz sensation by the way.

  8. Lynda Watson says:

    We tried this last week with a 2 litre bottle of diet coke and also with Steve Spangler’s geyser, which funnels the coke through a smaller opening to make it go even higher and has a trigger pin with a long string attached so you can stand back a bit before dropping the Mentos into the bottle. The geyser went pretty high and had us all grinning! I was glad that I’d bought 2 bottles of coke though. My 5-year-old son pulled the trigger the first time and we’d told him to run after he pulled it. He took us seriously and carried on running so that he didn’t get showered with coke. By the time we could get him to stop and turn round, the geyser had almost finished (it is over very quickly). The second time I pulled the trigger and he watched.

    From what I understand from reading Steve Spangler’s website, I think regular coke works just as well as diet coke – it’s just that diet coke is much less sticky, so easier to clean up if you do get showered. Temperature of the drink is another good variable to investigate – I think warm/room temperature soda works better than if it is cold from the fridge.

    I’ve enjoyed reading about all your new experiences from the last year enormously and it has inspired us to go to an exhibition in a London art gallery this weekend. Keep them coming in 2013!

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Your experiment sounds way better than ours! I think I need to shell out the $5 for Steve Spangler’s little geyser contraption!
      I am so glad you have used 52 Brand New as an inspiration to try something new. That means so much to me!

  9. Nicole says:

    I’ve heard that it works best with Diet Coke…not just any diet soda. Fun! Good luck and have fun with 2013’s 52!

    • 52BrandNew says:

      Thanks! I suppose we could do a whole extravaganza of comparisons… Diet v. Regular, Coke v. Pepsi, big bottle v. small… and then one big simultaneous experiment!

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