Hot Stuff!: Creating and Testing for Carbon Dioxide

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In this demonstration, learners observe vinegar and baking soda reacting to form carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. The CO2 gas is trapped in a balloon, then blown through a straw into water with an acid-base indicator. The indicator changes to indicate that CO2 mixed with water becomes an acid. This demonstration is part of a set of demonstrations and activities that can be used together for a larger lesson. Resource contains vocabulary definitions and suggestions for assessment, extensions, and scaling for different levels of learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • A narrow-neck bottle (such as a beer bottle)
  • 50 ml vinegar
  • 45 grams baking soda
  • 1 small, round balloon
  • 1 straw
  • 50 ml bromothymol blue (BTB) solution (6 drops per 1/3 cup of water)
  • 1 clear beaker (large enough to hold 50 ml of BTB solution)
  • Hot Stuff! Activity 1 Worksheets


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Gases


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kolenbrander, Amy ; Yowell, Janet ; Mach, Natalie ; Schaefer Zarske, Malinda ; Carlson, Denise ; Kotys-Schwartz, Daria

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, 2004

Funding Sources:

  • Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • National Science Foundation, 0226322