Reflection: Safety Experiment: Does regular or diet soda react the most with Mentos? - Section 4: Explore


Why Complete This Experiment Whole Group 

I usually prefer to have students conduct experiments in small groups, each group conducting the experiment by themselves.  However, with this experiment I prefer to do it whole group.  There are several reasons for this.  One big reason is safety.  With one group going up to test their soda in front of the entire class, I only have one group to keep an eye on at a time.  I do not have to worry about students shaking the bottles before they do it, dropping in more than one Mentos at a time, standing directly over the bottle when it shoots out, or doing one of the most dangerous things, replacing the lid after dropping in the Mentos.  If you watch very many YouTube videos on this experiment you will see how dangerous it can be.  Students also have access to these videos and some have already seen these videos prior to conducting the experiment.  The last thing a teacher wants, is someone getting hurt during an experiment.  Doing this activity whole group allows me to keep an eye on every reaction that occurs.  

Another reason I prefer to do this whole group is due to cost.  If each group were to do the experiment on their own, I would have to provide each group with all of the soda and a whole roll of Mentos which would be 5 times as expensive.  It would also be very difficult to transport 50 bottles of soda to the classroom instead of 10.  

Time is also something I considered when deciding to do this experiment whole group.  Measuring the liquid at the end does take time.  Each group being responsible to only one two measurements (one regular and one diet), made things much faster then each group making 10 measurements.  

Drawbacks to Conducting Whole Group

The only real drawback to conducting the experiment whole group is that every student does not get to drop in the Mentos.  Students really want to be the one to drop in the Mentos and are often disappointed when they can't.  It is important to make sure every group member has a role and letting them choose their roles often lead to arguing.  This year I passed out the cards to select who unscrewed the lid, and who dropped in the Mentos.  This prevented me from choosing, and prevented them from choosing themselves and arguing about it.  

  Completing the Experiment Whole Group
  Safety: Completing the Experiment Whole Group
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Experiment: Does regular or diet soda react the most with Mentos?

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 11 of 16

Objective: SWBAT work through the steps of the scientific method, and identify and control variables, to test a hypothesis.

Big Idea: Through this experiment, students test if regular soda or diet soda reacts the most with Mentos. They watch as the soda explodes out of bottles after the Mentos are dropped in.

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coke vs diet coke
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