This February, I found a Valentine’s Day-themed science experiment including candy hearts in a children’s ministry activity pack. It looked like a simple and fun activity, so I offered to do it with the younger children in our homeschool co-op. Unfortunately, after gathering all of the supplies and transporting them to co-op, the experiment did not turn out nearly as impressive as I expected that it would. I was kicking myself for not trying it at home first to work out any kinks, although the other moms agreed that they really liked the message that went along with the lesson.
I promised my daughter she could try it at home on Valentine’s Day, so we decided to make some adjustments to the instructions, as well as adding some glitter just to see what would happen. It worked so much better! The really fun part was what happened with the glitter, which is not what I expected.
The supplies that we used:
- A 32 oz. mason jar
- A 16 oz. bottle of sparkling water
- A small box of conversation hearts
- 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets (two envelopes)
- Red and/or pink glitter
The steps that we followed:
- Drop the Alka-Seltzer Tablets, candy hearts and some of the glitter into the bottom of the mason jar.
- Add at least 8 ounces of the sparkling water.
- After the reaction begins to occur, add a layer of glitter on top.
The science behind it:
Alka-Seltzer tablets contain citric acid (C6H8O7) and sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). When the tablets are added to water, the ingredients dissolve and react with each other. During the reaction, the covalent bonds are broken, and cardon dioxide (CO2) gas is formed and released as bubbles. A sodium citrate ion remains in the water.
I expected the glitter to “dance” with the conversation hearts, but instead, it floated to the surface of the water and formed a layer of surface tension on top. Then, as the carbon dioxide bubbles rose to the top, they were trapped under the glitter, creating glittery bubbles. Two hours later, the bubbles were still trapped there. I took the final photo before we went to bed. The bubbles were mostly gone by then, but the candy hearts had floated to the surface and were trapped under the glitter instead.
The spiritual application:
Good things happen to us in life that can lift our spirits like the bubbles lift the candy hearts. Likewise, bad things happen to us at times that can crush our spirit and make us “feel down.” However, God’s love for us is like the water in the jar that surrounds the candy hearts. No matter what happens to us, we are always surrounded by God’s love.
This was a simple activity to do, and it was a good fit for us, since we are studying chemistry as our science this year. If you are looking for an way to use up some leftover candy hearts, I recommend giving it a try.
“Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.” – Psalm 33:22
“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.” – Psalm 32:10
“For you bless the godly, O LORD, you surround them with your shield of love.” – Psalm 5:11-12