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Using Dry Ice to Learn About Matter and Molecules


Second graders' study of chemistry promotes an understanding of matter and the molecules that it comprises. The hands-on unit includes several labs that address the properties of atoms and molecules, matter's three main states (solid, liquid, gas), and the difference between physical and chemical changes.

Building on their understanding of phase change, the boys recently had an exciting day of hands-on interaction with dry ice (solid Carbon Dioxide) in which they observed the process of sublimation (a solid going directly from a solid to gas state, bypassing the liquid phase.)


After their teacher dropped a chunk of dry ice in a beaker of warm water, the boys observed CO2 gas bubble up from the liquid like a thick white mist.  They then added dish washing soap to their beakers and were thrilled to scoop up the "misty" bubbles caused by the ongoing sublimation.


Finally, they were delighted when Mrs. Sundar, using a special canister with hose attachment, created a sublimation reaction by dipping the hose in bubble solution and directing the CO2 gas out of the hose.


In upcoming labs, the boys will engage in active investigations to learn about chemical changes.

These labs speak to the innate intellectual curiosity of our boys. Demonstrations, hands-on activities and experiments underpin the unit, which the boys count among their favorites!

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