Surface Area and Soda Geysers

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This is an activity (located on page 4 of the PDF under Surface Area Activity) about surface area and reactivity. Learners will perform a variation on the popular soda geyser activity, using different sizes of rock material in place of candy. Students will do 3 trials for each type of rock, record the height of each resulting geyser, and average their results. This resource includes information about how researchers can use nanoparticles as catalysts and relates to linked video, DragonflyTV Nano: Surface Area.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 liter bottles of diet soda
  • rocks, pea gravel and sand
  • geyser tube
  • penny
  • thin stick or chopstick
  • scale
  • outdoor wall to measure against


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Number and Operations
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2008

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 741749