If you attended the annual NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) conference last week in Dallas, Texas, it wasn’t hard to find the Steve Spangler Science booth. All you had to do was listen for the shouts of surprise as we launched over 600 Mentos Geysers with the Geyser Tube™ in our own take on the classic dunk tank… the Boy in a Box. It was great to see the teacher reactions when they pulled the string and sent a blast of Coke raining down on our never-tiring Boys in a Box.
As my team can attest, I lost my voice at the conference… just like I do every year… from explaining to everyone who passed by the science behind the Mentos and Diet Coke reaction. It’s important as educators that we don’t just drop some Mentos in a Coke and call it science. The resulting geyser is a great effect, but you are missing the key piece of the lesson. Shoot off a geyser, then listen as your students start to ask questions… “Why does that happen?”… “What if we used more Mentos?”… “What if we didn’t use Diet Coke?”. Now you’ve got it. Not only are you creating an unforgettable learning experience, but you are setting the gears running for your students to wonder, explore and create. Put those questions into action and you are teaching even the youngest scientists the fundamentals of the scientific method. Change the number of Mentos in the tube, try different types of soda, ignite curiosity in your students.
I also had the honor of speaking to over 1,000 teachers in a 60-minute workshop at the conference. If you attended the workshop, hopefully, you would agree that this wasn’t your average teacher workshop. In the course of an hour we launched potatoes, made a confetti snow storm, launched even more Mentos geysers and ended with an outrageous Liquid Nitrogen Explosion.
As always, our team is so excited to have the opportunity to meet so many amazing early childhood teachers and learn how they are using science to get their students excited about learning. If you saw us at the conference leave a comment below and let us know how you are using these methods to make your classroom amazing.