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American Chemical Society: CO2 to the Rescue Lab Activity Kit

Item # 841087

Grades 4–8. This lab activity explores acid-base chemical reactions that produce carbon dioxide gas. Students test various mixtures of the provided acids and baking soda to decide which combination produces the most carbon dioxide gas. They apply that knowledge to design and create an inflatable device that will support and rescue a model smartphone.



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Grades 4–8. The lesson opens with a story about a smartphone plunging into a lake. Students are asked to create a way to make the phone float in water. At the beginning of the lab, the teacher activates a self-inflating balloon, which inflates with carbon dioxide gas as chemicals inside the balloon react with one another. Students conduct a pair of chemical reactions to determine which of 2 acids react best with baking soda to produce the most carbon dioxide gas. The selected acid is reacted with varying amounts of baking soda to determine what combination yields maximum gas production. For the challenge, students are tasked with designing an efficient rescue system, using the least amounts of chemical reactants, to inflate a resealable bag that will both float and support a model clay smartphone. The kit contains enough materials to support multiple classes of 32 students.

This kit is part of a series of activities, developed by the American Chemical Society through grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Other kits in this series include:

  • American Chemical Society: Chemistry—Investigating Your World Lab Activity (item #841081)
  • American Chemical Society: Chemistry's Colorful Clue Lab Activity (item #841083)
  • American Chemical Society: Glow It Up Lab Activity (item #841085)

  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Children under 8 yrs. can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
Components Qty Included?
Baking Soda, 175 g 1 Included
Calcium Phosphate, 5 g 8 Included
Measuring Cup, Small 8 Included
Clear Plastic Cup, 3 oz 16 Included
Clear Plastic Cup, 10 oz 8 Included
Clear Plastic Cup, Wide, 9 oz 16 Included
Pipet, Short 8 Included
Pipet, Long 9 Included
Tube 16 Included
Spoon, Plastic 1 Included
Balloon, Clear, Self-Inflating 1 Included
Balloon, Self-Inflating 5 Included
Citric Acid, 25 g 1 Included
Portion Cup, 2 oz 16 Included
Scoop 24 Included
Resealable Bag 5 Included
Clay, 160 g 1 Included
Teacher's Guide 1 Included
Waste Container 8 Needed, Not Included
Bowl, Large 1 Needed, Not Included
Tap Water Needed, Not Included
Tape Needed, Not Included
Paper Towels Needed, Not Included