Observe a reaction between a liquid and solid that release a gas using simple ingredients of root beer and vanilla ice cream.
This is a yummy science experiment that you can try at home. It can bring lots of fun while you can teach states of matter to your kids.
Root Beer Floats – States of Matter Experiment
What you’ll need
Root Beer (1 or 2 cans)
Vanilla ice cream
Clear Glass / Mug
1. Put a scoop of ice cream in your cup.
2. Slowly fill up ¾ of the cup with root beer.
3. Observe the rise of foam and examine. Discuss your observations and enjoy your float!
4. Try different variables – does it make a difference if the root beer is warm or cold? What if you put root beer in the glass first? What if you use flat root beer? Try using different shapes and sizes of glasses.
As you know Root Beer is a carbonated beverage. Root beer is a liquid that takes the shape of the container (Glass Jar). When you add ice cream (solid) into the root beer – the ice cream reacts with root beer and releases carbon dioxide (gas) bubbles. Since the root beer is trying to free up the air bubbles in the ice cream – it creates a bubbly foam which rises to the top of the jar .
So from this experiment you can understand that there are three forms of matter:
Solid – has its own shape and form like the scoop of ice cream in our experiment. Solids have their molecules tightly coupled.
Liquid – takes the shape of the container in which it is present (similar to the root beer in our experiment). Liquids still have their molecules close to each other but not as close as solids.
Gas – Like the carbon dioxide released in the experiment, Gas has no shape or form. The molecules in a gas are loosely coupled and they are very far from each other compared to liquids and solids.
A Root Beer float is made up of all of the three states of matter : Solid (Ice Cream), Liquid (Root Beer) and Gas (Creamy Foam).