For a complete introduction and to get to know each Quirkle, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!
But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Quirkles, or take a look at the sample book Gilbert Gas below.
Do you like science? If you’re like many educators and parents we talk to, and, if you’re really being honest, the answer might be no. The next obvious question is “why or why not?” Often for the non-science lovers we speak with, they will recall textbooks and doing the questions at the end of the chapter. In short, they didn’t apply science to their daily lives, they just read dull informational text.
Science plays a part in almost every aspect of our lives. This month we explore acids and bases. Perhaps, like in our book Andy Acid, you’ve eaten too many acidic foods like tomatoes or blueberries and needed to take an antacid. There are plenty of acids found in the human body, including hydrochloric acid or stomach acid—which, in large quantities, causes indigestion. To neutralize, we take a base.
Or, maybe you’ve changed the lovely flowers on a hydrangea plant from blue to pink or vice versa by changing the amount of acid or base nutrient you’ve added to the soil.
Baking soda is example of a base with multiple purposes. Baking soda is used in fighting fires, because at high temperatures it turns into carbon dioxide, which smothers flames by obstructing the flow of oxygen to the fire. Of course, baking soda is also used in baking, when it is combined with a weak acid to make baking powder. The reaction of the acid and the baking soda produces carbon dioxide, which causes dough and batters to rise. Additionally, it can be applied as a cleaning product.
Enjoy our activities and video this month that demonstrates fun ways to learn about acids and bases. And, the next time you cut into a lemon, eat a tomato, wash your dishes, or bake a cake, know the science of acids and bases are at work!
You’ve heard it and maybe even said it yourself. Creating a compelling science lesson is expensive and time consuming. Who has all that equipment needed to do experiments? You do! This month we’ve gone to our cache of videos to pull out an old favorite. A bottle of carbonated soda, a balloon, and some salt never fails to entertain and provides a lot of teachable moments.
Carbon dioxide gas is essential for life on Earth and is one of the most abundant gasses in the atmosphere. It plays a vital role in plant and animal processes, such as photosynthesis and respiration. We also use carbon dioxide in other ways. Perhaps the best example is its use to give soft drinks their fizziness.
So what happens once a soda can or bottle is opened? We hear the “swoosh” sound as the gas escapes. Does that mean it’s all escaped into the air? Gilbert Gas’s Soda Surprise will answer that science question in a dramatic way.
But that’s not all you can do with soda when it comes to science activities. Here’s a follow up to the one we just discussed. Open up several other large bottles of pop (different brands). Stretch the mouth of a balloon over the openings of the bottles. Every ten minutes, go back and look at the balloon, and observe. Eventually, you’ll find that the balloons inflate because the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the soda pop is escaping into the balloon. See which soda loses carbon dioxide the most quickly.
According to studies, the phosphoric acid in soda pop is likely the cause of bone weakening in teenage girls. If you still want to drink soda in relative safety, you can check the levels of phosphoric acid in different types of soda pop to see which sodas are least likely to impact your bones. To do this experiment, you can use a pH meter or litmus paper to test the acidity of various types of soda pop. Remember to make a hypothesis first!
Have you heard people complain that generic bottles of soda pop just “aren’t the same" as brand name bottles? Taste test (blind tasting) several different cola brands to see if it’s really possible to taste the difference. Then try something sneaky. Pour the same soda (ideally the generic) in all the cups. Have someone taste all four and guess which is the brand name soda. This may offer an opportunity to discuss the role perception and advertising plays too!
Another fun experiment explores whether Coca-Cola® and Diet Coke® will sink or float. Check out our Fuddlebrook story The Mystery of the Floating Can and watch our video. Empty the cans and try another Fuddlebrook favorite, The Mysterious Leaning Can Investigation. This is from the book A Case of Gravity.
A final activity demonstrates the effects of Coca-Cola® on teeth and helps answer the question "does toothpaste really work?" Place two eggs in two different glasses. Pour the soda over the eggs and let them soak for 30 minutes. At the end of that time, take the eggs out of the soda and observe the appearance. Next, try to remove the discoloration from the egg using toothpaste. What conclusions can you draw? This goes along with the Quirkles book Andy Acid.
So have you changed your mind? Purchase a few cans of these popular drinks and a few other simple ingredients and enjoy a day of soda pop science!
Through science investigations using common ingredients like vinegar, red cabbage, water, ammonia, and lemon juice, learn about acids and bases!
A bottle of carbonated soda, a balloon, and some salt never fails to entertain and provides a lot of teachable moments. Watch what happens to the balloon!
I really appreciate your ideas and support!!! I am amazed at the Quirkles series that you have created and know you all must be FABULOUS teachers!!!
Cindy, Lower School Science Coordinator, Suffolk, VA
It is very hard to put into words exactly how much I love the Quirkles. They totally changed my attitude about teaching science to kindergarten and first graders as an enrichment class in my school.
Lynn, Gifted Teacher, Springdale, AR