Acids and Bases: Everyday Science
May 5, 2018

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!