Dancing Gummy Worms Science Experiment

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With Halloween coming up, bringing one of your child’s favorite food to life is the perfect STEM activity to celebrate the spooky holiday. 

Dancing Gummy Worms

Your kid will love seeing gummy worms turn into “Frankenworms” as they dance and wriggle in this simple science experiment!

How to Make Frankenworms Dance

Materials:

Instructions:

1. Use the scissors or knife to cut the gummy worms in quarters lengthwise. 

Dancing Gummy Worms Quarters

2. Pour 1 cup of water into one of the glasses. 

3. Measure 3 tablespoons of baking soda and stir them into the water. 

4. Add the gummy worms to the baking soda solution and let them soak for at least 20 minutes. 

Dancing Gummy Worms Baking Soda

5. Pour vinegar into the other glass. 

6. Using a pair of chopsticks or a fork, carefully pick up a gummy worm and drop it into the vinegar. 

7. Watch the gummy worms wiggle and dance in the vinegar!

Dancing Gummy Worms Float

This is one of those experiments where less is more. Your kids will want to dump a whole bunch of gummy worms in the vinegar, but they will end up weighing down each other. I recommend adding one at a time and waiting for them to move before adding another one.

The Frankenworms will not move much at first. Be patient and wait for enough bubbles to form on the gummy worms for them to float to the surface. 

Dancing Gummy Worms Baking Soda (1)

If you are having trouble getting your gummy worms to come to life, it could be because your gummy worms are too heavy. Try cutting them in half so they are shorter. We actually ended up soaking ours for too long and they broke into two themselves, which was lucky because the smaller pieces did float!

Another possibility is that there is not enough baking soda on them to form enough bubbles. In that case, try adding a little bit of baking soda in the vinegar to cause more bubbles to form. Careful not to add too much, or else you will have an eruption on your hands!

Science Behind the Dancing Gummy Worms

When you add baking soda to vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs. Mixing baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (weak acetic acid) produces carbon dioxide gas, hence the bubbles in the solution.

The gas bubbles stick to the gummy worms and act as a floatation device to bring them to the surface. When the Frankenworms reach the top, the gas bubbles pop, and the weight of the worms causes them to sink back down. This happens over and over again until the chemical reaction stops.

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