Science Fun: Mentoes Geyser

Boo-Yah!

I led the Science Club at my son’s school because I’m supermom. No, I led the Science Club at my son’s school because he is shy, wouldn’t join anything and asked me to be in a club with him. Since he was my first child I said “OK” and started the Science club. If he was my second child, I’m afraid those extra years of parenting would have turned into a big fat NO. However, my naivete and his birth order worked out to be a great experience for both of us.

My first session, was a chaotic demonstration involving mummification of hotdogs in salt and spices. This was expensive, messy and made me fear the following weeks. Then I discovered Steve Spangler Science online. Steve is a former grade school science teacher with experience, charm and an understanding of both my need for scale and immediate engagement. I heart him. I google alert him. He saved my Science Club for sure. Librarian Aside: Steve is the author of several books, I have Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes. It makes a nice birthday gift with a geyser tube.

Since Science Club, the Mentoes geyser has become a party trick staple at our house. We pull out our geyser tube for birthdays and times we have other kids over for dinner. It’s fun to give each kid their own Diet Coke bottle, do a countdown and watch the eruption. It’s a great reward for good behavior and it’s a super cheap way of cheering you up. Something about an explosion just feels great.

Some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • You can’t reuse a mentoes or a soda. This may be obvious, but your kids will probably want to see for themselves.
  • Use fresh mentoes and fresh soda. I had some mentos and soda in my pantry for months and hauled them out and it was a dud. I don’t know why, but it ended in tears and devastation, so to be on the safe side get your supplies near the time you plan to use them.
  • Stabilize the base of your 2 liter bottle so that if a youngster yanks the cord too hard the bottle doesn’t spill and ruin the experiment.
  • To get started you need a geyser tube, a 2 liter bottle of diet coke and a tube of mentoes (not the gum!).
  • Video directions are here.  My suggestion is to allow your kids to each take different roles, some count out the mentoes, some load the mentoes, some countdown, pull the trigger, etc. That prolongs the activity, builds anticipation and involves everyone.
  • You can watch a range of videos and get as creative as you like here.  I found this page by googling Youtube + Mentoes Geyser (I take nothing for granted, if you have mommy brain like me you need lots of obvious directions).
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