It has the potential of being the most popular science fair project of all time. The Mentos Geyser is definitely fun to watch, but some teachers are missing the opportunity to use the activity to teach science. Over the last few weeks, I’ve received emails from students explaining that their teachers are forbidding them from doing the Mentos Geyser as a science project. Why? The common response is… “there’s no science to blowing up pop.”
What? How did these teachers miss the rich science content that oozes from the bottle with every eruption? Combine the strong science with the student’s motivation to want to use the scientific method and you’ve got an amazing activity.
Brian Rice, a math teacher at Gwinn Middle School in Michigan, recently used the Mentos Geyser as a great teaching opportunity. As one of the experiments, the middle schoolers measured how high pop would spray when a Mentos candy is dropped into the pop bottle. In one day, eighth-grade classes and some seventh-grade classes conducted the Mentos and pop experiment with the objective to see whether different types of pops have greater eruptions. They ended up testing a total of 44 different varieties, ranging from Diet Coke to root beer.
This is a great example of science in action. Here’s to Brian Rice – a great teacher who gets it! Instead of forbidding the activity, Mr. Rice uses the Internet sensation to grab his students’ attention and put the scientific method to the test.