Carbon Dioxide Learning Story

This week, Small Poppies was all about carbon dioxide!

To get started, we had a discussion about atoms and how they can be combined to make molecules. Carbon dioxide has a special scientific name, CO2, which means that it’s made of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.  To help visualise this concept, we made play dough and toothpick molecules, with different colours of play dough representing the different types of atoms.

We then moved on to a simple (but always fun) experiment using baking soda and vinegar to cause a chemical reaction that makes baking soda. Using pipettes and coloured vinegar, we could observe the chemical reaction (bubbles!) and sneak in a little reminder about primary and secondary colours.


Other activities for this week’s sessions included blowing up a balloon with carbon dioxide (another baking soda and vinegar reaction), the classic Mentos and Coke explosion, dancing rice, and the standout favourite for the week - “pouring” carbon dioxide to blow out a candle.

Not only was there a lot of learning about carbon dioxide, but thinking like scientists encouraged students to make predictions, form hypotheses, and practise things like taking turns and being patient - which we all know are so tricky!  Many of the children are developing friendships, and it is so lovely to see them support each other as they learn and grow.

Small Poppies - Gifted Program for Children NZ

Small Poppies is an enrichment and programme for young, gifted learners aged 2-6 years old. We run classes during term time in Christchurch and Auckland.