I ordered the Steve Spangler Science- Ultimate Dry Ice Science Kit for our Wee Warhols STEAM classes. I figured that the Halloween workshop would be the perfect time to try it out, especially since we could make Boo Bubbles (dry ice fog filled bubbles). I have to admit, I had never worked with dry ice before. I felt a little intimidated by the stuff. Now, I can’t get enough of it. It was so much fun and the kids were completely enthralled! You have to try it!
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Only about 0.035% of our atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide. Most of the air we breathe is nitrogen (79%) and oxygen (20%). Plants use it for photosynthesis and we breath it out. – from Steve Spangler’s site-
Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase without passing through the intermediate liquid phase.
- Dry ice must be handled using gloves or tongs, as it will cause severe burns if it comes in contact with your skin.
- Always use safety googles when handling dry ice.
- Always use under adult supervision.
- Never put dry ice into your mouth.
- If using it to carbonate a beverage, make sure the dry ice is completely gone before serving.
- When making bubbling, smoking water for young children, it’s best to use tall graduated cylinders filled with water and dry ice. The children are unable to fit their hands in the cylinder to reach the dry ice.
- Never trap dry ice in a jar without a vent. The pressure will build up and the jar will explode! This could cause serious harm to you or to someone else.
- I would recommend wrapping the ice in a towel and use a hammer to break it up. This way the ice doesn’t fly everywhere.
- Use in a ventilated area, since it can lower oxygen levels.
Where can you buy dry ice?
I bought our dry ice from Central Market. Steve’s website says some grocery stores that sell it are: King Soopers, Safeway and Wal-Mart. I’m sure you can call to check first. I would guess it is easier to find around Halloween.
*The best place to store dry ice is in a styrofoam ice chest with a loose fitting lid. (Remember, you don’t want an air tight lid.)
*Dry ice does not last very long, so buy it as close to “show time” as possible.
We started out with the Boo Bubbles which was a BIG hit. The kids all wanted to hold or pop the bubbles to release the little ghosts.
- For this experiment we filled the Boo Bubble Generator 1/4 full with warm water. (Dry ice works best with warm water.)
- We dropped some dry ice in water. I closed the lid enough to send the fog traveling down the tube, but still left top open enough to let a little out the top.
- Dipped the end of the tube in a bubble solution. Boom, we had Boo Bubbles!
We quickly noticed that the bubbles were less likely to pop when they touched the table cloth, my knit gloves, or clothing. I asked the kids why that was so. No one knew, so I explained. A bubble’s three worst enemies are oil, dirt, and gravity. The bubbles would pop, but the cloth shields them from their enemies.
For the next experiment, we left some dry ice out on a plate and some normal “wet” ice out. We noticed over time that the dry ice evaporated and the normal ice melted.
Then we just played (safely) with the dry ice. Bubbling and fogging away.
One observation that we made drove me crazy. Screaming Silverware- Whenever a metal object was held to the dry ice, the metal would scream.
Steve Spangler Science also has Halloween Kits. You may be able to get one in time for your Halloween party. (I am not an affiliate, I just really love Steve Spangler and his products.) If you experiment with dry ice, I would love to hear all about it in the comments below. Have fun!