A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Science Guy: You might not be able to see carbon dioxide, but you can see this seesaw


It’s invisible, it’s in your soda, you even breathe it out, so what is it? “Science Guy” Jason Lindsey​ and a kid scientist show us by using a gassy seesaw.

 

Carbon Dioxide Seesaw

 
INGREDIENTS
 
· Balance
 
· 2 Brown Paper Bags
 
· Vinegar
 
· Baking Soda
 
· Pitcher
 
INSTRUCTIONS
 
STEP 1: Attach a brown paper bag to each side of the balance.
 
STEP 2: In the pitcher, mix two cups of vinegar with one cup of baking soda. Feel the side of the pitcher. Is the side of the picture hot or cold?
 
STEP 3: Quickly pour the newly formed gas into one of the brown paper bags and observe. Only pour the gas and not the liquid.
 
EXPLANATION
 
Although we can’t see it, carbon dioxide gas is produced as a result of a chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda. As you pour the gas into one of the bags, the balance shifts, proving the carbon dioxide gas is present. The gas is matter, which is anything that has mass and takes up space. The side of the pitcher gets cooler when the vinegar and baking soda are mixed. This kind of change is an endothermic reaction, which is a change that takes in heat. Go to www.hookedonscience.org for more experiments that might get you and your family “Hooked on Science.”
 
View a video of the experiment below:
 

 
To see more Science Guy experiments, click here.
 
 
JasonLindsey-345x306

Jason Lindsey is an award-winning science educator and author. Jason studied science and journalism at Western Kentucky University, focusing on general science with an emphasis in meteorology and climatology. Each year he performs hands-on science experiments at hundreds of schools and community events throughout the United States, as well as produces and hosts a hands-on science segment airing on television stations across the nation. He previously worked as a chief meteorologist, backpack journalist, science reporter and webmaster.


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