Who are the people in your neighborhood? Exploring the jobs that helpers have in the community is FUN learning for curious kids! Come learn and play with the #TeachECE Early Childhood Team this week as we explore all the various helpers in our own neighborhoods with a COMMUNITY HELPERS THEME. Our own “bubbly fires” science experiment will encourage kids to use critical thinking skills while playing to learn!
To become good scientists, kids must begin with an inquiry into a subject they wish to know more about.
Our inquiry began with one student’s question: How do fires start?
To find out, we asked a local firefighter:
“Usually fires are a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and some kind of fuel. Fire is what we see when matter changes form. All fires require fuel, heat, and oxygen. The fuel is anything that can burn. The heat can come from many things, such as a lighted match, electrical appliances, or a heating system/fireplace. Oxygen in the air allows the fire to grow. Fires can start under a variety of circumstances. Many home fires start in kitchens when people are cooking. Home fires can also be caused by unattended candles, electrical appliances, and carelessness with fireplaces or wood burning stoves…”.
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- Two plastic or paper cups – clear is best so the kids can see what is happening
- Baking Soda – fill the cups 1/3 full
- White Vinegar
- Optional: Food Coloring (we added yellow and a little orange to the vinegar in order to create our “bubbly fires”)
- Optional: Flames and Smoke (cut the flames and smoke from the free printable Smoke and Fire to attach to the plastic cups).
Invite the kids to pour vinegar slowly from one cup into the cup that contains the baking soda. Invite the kids to observe what happens to the baking soda. As the vinegar and baking soda are combined, a chemical reaction occurs to create a BUBBLY FIRE!
- Heating the vinegar slightly to see what results we get
- Pouring the vinegar FAST
- Using varying amounts of baking soda and vinegar
Experiment Wrap-Up: Come together and invite the kids to share thoughts and observations. What created the biggest “bubbly fire?” What happened to the bubbly fire in the cup after a few minutes? Why do you think the bubbles settled in the cup? Discussions will open the door for enhanced language and listening skills while encouraging kids to use independent thinking skills as they share.
NOTE: Ask a local fire department if they will donate fire hats for the kids to wear! The experiment is special, but the hats make it officially…AWESOME!
For 100+ creative ways to encourage your own little scientists at home or in the classroom (including an extensive section on experiments with baking soda and vinegar), please see:
The Curious Kid’s Science Book by Asia Citro is a wonderful collection of easy to set-up science experiments that allow kids to have fun while developing the natural curiosity they have about the world . Each exploration comes with detailed instructions, personal insights, and delightful photographs that will make science come alive for kids. As kids explore, they are compelled to use critical thinking skills within inquiry and solution-based challenges. Kids will be able to take away new knowledge that they can then apply to problems they encounter at home, in the classroom, or in the larger community! It is a wonderful book to add to your home or classroom resource library!
For more ways to learn through play with Community Helpers, please see the activity suggestions from the dedicated Early Childhood Educational Team below:
7 Ways to Grow a Reader on a Neighborhood Walk from Growing Book by Book
My Neighborhood Community Helpers Guess Who? Activity from Tiny Tots Adventures
Community Helpers Bingo Alphabet Activity by Mom Inspired Life
Word Family Houses from Rainy Day Mum
The Big Orange Splot Art Activity by Capri +3
Kid Made Neighborhood Building Blocks by Still Playing School
My Neighbourhood Preschool Math Color Sorting by Learning 2 Walk
Shapes in Our Neighborhood Book from Munchkins and Moms
Fireman Playdough Printable by Life Over C’s