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Age Range: 7-11 | 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins | 60 or more mins
  • Science

Make an exploding snowman

Students will learn how to make an exploding snowman in this fun, science experiment for kids.

In this activity, students will use the theme of Christmas to make an exploding snowman model using bicarbonate and vinegar. They will make a card model of a snowman and mix the bicarbonate and vinegar to see the effects of the reaction.

This activity is a fun way of learning about the effects of chemical reactions.

Activity: Make an exploding snowman

This activity is one of a series of free STEM resources designed to allow learners to use the theme of the Christmas period to develop their knowledge and skills in Science and Engineering. This resource focuses on making an exploding snowman model using bicarbonate and vinegar.

This activity could be used as a main lesson activity to teach learners about chemical reactions when one or more substances are changed to a different substance. It could also be used to explain foams as liquids or solids containing gas bubbles.

Small cake decorating 50g containers are best for this activity. The teacher may either bring in small plastic bottles or get the learners to bring in the bottles/containers.

Teachers should ensure that covers are placed on work surfaces, or trays are used to prevent spills and catch the exploding liquid.

The bicarbonate and vinegar mix produces carbon dioxide gas, which is evident because of the formation of bubbles in the foaming mixture. Eventually, the solid dissolves and reacts, producing a new liquid solution.

The products of the reaction are relatively safe, though caution should be taken not to get splashes in the eyes, and clothes should be protected. The exploding mixture produced can be disposed of by washing it down the sink with plenty of water.

Equipment required

  • A zip-lock bag (sandwich bag size is great to start off with)
  • Permanent markers
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Kitchen roll

The engineering context

Engineers use chemical reactions to help solve a number of problems. For example, rocket engineers mix chemicals together to make a reaction that powers a space rocket.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to make an exploding snowman using bicarbonate and vinegar, and they will be able to understand that a reaction is when one or more substances are changed to a different substance.

Download the free Make an exploding snowman activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Oh ho ho, and please do share your experiment highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM.

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