Carbon Dioxide Balloons: Student Experiments

Our interactive Zoom shows are super fun! Sometimes, we organize with a school’s PTO or PTA to provide materials so that the students can do science experiments together as a group. One of my favorite moments is seeing a bunch of colorful balloons fill my screen as we inflate balloons together with carbon dioxide together. Below is a gallery of parent-provided photos from some of those evenings.

If you are interested in trying this experiments on your own, read below for the instructions. It is very easy to do. You might even have everything you need around your house!

To inflate your own balloons with carbon dioxide, you will need:

An empty water or soda bottle
A balloon
8 ounces vinegar (I use white vinegar, but whatever you have will do)
About 2 tablespoons full of baking soda

When baking soda and vinegar combine, they release carbon dioxide. To inflate your balloon, just:

  1. Pour the vinegar into your empty bottle.
  2. Put the baking soda inside your balloon. A funnel helps, stretching the balloon open with your fingers and scooping it in with a spoon works, too!
  3. Without spilling any baking soda, put the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of your bottle. Pull it down over the ridges where the cap goes. A good seal is important to not make a mess.
  4. Shake the balloon lightly to get the baking soda to fall into the bottle.
  5. Hold on to the bottle and watch it inflate!