What to do with leftover ginger ale? Science!

gingeraleYesterday was the first day I cleaned out the refrigerator since Christmas.  Yikes. We had a half opened bottle of ginger ale and my first instinct was to pour it down the drain. Then I remembered a science experiment with clear soda and raisins. As luck would have it, I found some raisins in the pantry. Hooray – an impromptu science experiment with ingredients on hand!

Plan:  First, I told Allie I was going to show her science and of course she was excited! Then, I poured a glass of water and asked her if raisins would sink or float.  Her guess was they would sink – and so they did! Then I asked her what they would do in “fizzy water”. (She knows ginger ale by the technical term “fizzy water”).  She didn’t know if they would sink, so we tossed a few raisins in and both of us watched in amazement!

What happened? The wrinkles of the raisin help the fizzy carbon dioxide bubbles attach to the surface of the raisin.  Steve Spangler says, ” The bubbles that attach themselves to the raisins are like little life jackets that make the raisins more buoyant by increasing their volume.”   When the raisins float to the top, the bubbles pop which make the raisins sink again!

After we watched this for several minutes, Allie wanted to see what would happen if we poured juice in the ginger ale.  (I personally think she just wanted to drink the experiment.) The ginger ale juice mixture did not have the same effect on the raisins and they sunk like rocks.  Maybe if I had fresh ginger ale the results would have been different. Then, much to her delight, I let her drink the mixture and eat the raisins with a spoon.

016Finally, I was curious, so I dropped a few gummy bears in ginger ale to see if they would float. (This is the experiment I wanted to eat!) Unfortunately, we didn’t have floating bears, they sunk too! We decided they didn’t have enough wrinkles for the bubbles to attach to.  And then of course we ate the soaked gummy bears.  Surprisingly delicious!


So, next time you have left over soda, what will you do with it?  Shake it up, let it fizz, or throw something in it. You and the kids might discover something amazing!


Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments | Tags: , |


  • Uncle Kevin | January 8, 2015 | Reply

    life jackets remind me of fishing 🙂

  • Jim Steelhammer | January 15, 2015 | Reply

    I am really enjoying your science

    • Tracy | January 15, 2015 | Reply

      Thanks Dad! It’s been a lot of fun for us!

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