Package 4-3: Science – Liquid nitrogen show

Join the scientists from Fizzics Education as they teach you molecules and materials in their Liquid nitrogen show. Watch the video and then complete some of your own experiments at home.

Week 5 - Package 3 - Year 5 & 6 Science - Liquid nitrogen show

Things your child will need

Have these things available so your child can complete this task.


  • Liquid nitrogen show video

  • Cup

  • Vinegar

  • Bicarbonate soda

  • Thermometer (optional)

  • A tray or plate to catch mess

  • Pen or pencil and paper

  • Plastic bottle (an old soft drink or water bottle is fine, clear is better if possible)

  • Balloon

  • Funnel (can also use a cut top of a bottle)

Before your child starts

Make sure your child has everything ready that they will need at the start of the lesson.

What your child needs to do

  1. Watch the Liquid nitrogen show video.

  2. Discuss different materials. All the things around us are made of lots of kinds of materials and we choose what we use them for (their purpose) based on the properties of each material. For example metal is strong so great for building with, foam is soft so good for sleeping on.

  3. Discuss that heat can change materials and their properties. If we change from gas to liquid to solid this is a physical change (a change of state). Changes of state can be reversed. Chemical changes (like burning toast) can’t be easily reversed, to give you back the things you started with. Chemical reactions sometimes use heat energy. They can be exothermic (makes heat) or endothermic (takes heat).

  4. Follow instructions on Activity sheet 1 (below): Endothermic reaction.

  5. Discuss the results of the activity. What problems did you have (if any)?

What your child can do next

Take our Liquid Nitrogen Online Quiz and test how much you learnt from watching the video.

Try researching cool exothermic reactions (giant elephant's toothpaste is a fun one!).

Can you find out about the fourth state of matter? It's weird but really cool. Learn about it and teach someone else. Sometimes even adults don’t know about this one.

Options for your child

Activity too hard?

Mix the bicarbonate soda and vinegar together in a cup. You should see and feel a number of things happen. Bubbles indicate gas formation and that a chemical reaction has taken place. Where might this be useful? Think about where bicarbonate soda is used (like in baking).

If you place your hand around the bottom of the cup you might feel it become colder during the chemical reaction. This is known as an endothermic reaction - meaning that it takes in heat from the environment. Can you think of a reaction that gives out heat? This is called an exothermic reaction.

Activity too easy?

Bicarbonate soda is a base, and vinegar is an acid. Are all reactions between acids and bases endothermic? Do they all produce gas? Investigate by repeating Activity 1 and changing the acid and base used in the reaction!

Common acids you might have in your house:

  • Lemon juice

  • Apple juice

  • Yoghurt

Common bases you might have in your house:

  • Toothpaste

  • Ground up eggshells

  • Chalk

Extension/Additional activity

  • Make sure that your child has completed the Liquid nitrogen online quiz. Your child may like to complete the quiz again to revise the knowledge learnt or perhaps teach someone else in the family about liquid nitrogen and allow them to test themselves.

Activity sheet 1: Bicarbonate soda balloon blow up

Part A: Endothermic reaction

Some reactions between chemicals give off heat as a by-product (exothermic), some need heat to work (endothermic) and so take it from their surroundings and appear to get colder. Create an endothermic reaction and observe this process.


  • A cup

  • A quarter cup of vinegar (about 60 mL)

  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate soda

  • Thermometer (optional - see note)

  • A tray or plate to catch mess

  • Pen and paper to record results

Note: If you don't have a thermometer you can use your hands on the outside of the cup.


  1. Pour vinegar into the cup and measure the temperature and write it down.

  2. Put in the thermometer, add the bicarbonate soda slowly, watch the reaction and then record the lowest temperature (when the reading on the thermometer stops changing) or when you don't feel it changing anymore.

  3. Compare the two temperatures - what was the temperature difference you observed? It is ok to use your hands to guess if you didn't have a thermometer. Scientists often do this when they are in the field, then recheck with a follow-up experiment.


  1. Did the temperature increase, decrease, or stay the same? What else did you notice about the reaction?

  2. The reaction between vinegar and bicarbonate soda can be written as:
    Vinegar + Bicarbonate Soda —> Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sodium Acetate

This is an endothermic reaction, which means the mixture requires and takes heat from its surroundings in order to react. This results in a drop in temperature of the contents of the cup.

Part B: Chemical change and gas formation

When a chemical reaction occurs it creates new substances. Burning toast creates black Carbon and cannot be turned back into bread. In the first part of this activity the reaction between vinegar and bicarbonate soda gives off Carbon Dioxide gas (CO2). You might have seen bubbles, but now we will capture that escaping CO2.

Vinegar + Bicarbonate Soda —> Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sodium Acetate


  • Plastic Bottle

  • A half cup of vinegar (about 100 mL)

  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate soda

  • Balloon

  • A tray or plate to catch mess


  1. Over a tray or plate to catch mess add the bicarbonate soda into the balloon

  2. Carefully pour vinegar into the bottle using a funnel or cut off bottle top

  3. Holding the balloon with the bicarbonate soda bottom part hanging down, put the top of the balloon over the rim of the bottle. Don’t let the bicarb go into the bottle yet. It should be hanging down the side in the base of the balloon.

  4. When you are ready, tip the balloon up so the bicarb falls into the vinegar. Watch the chemical reaction.

  5. The gas should start to inflate the balloon so that it gets bigger.


  1. You are capturing the gas formed from a chemical reaction. Do you think this could be reversed? Why or why not?

  2. You are also seeing a transfer of chemical energy into potential (stored) energy. If you took that balloon off and let it go what would happen? Would it fly? Would it make noise? There are lots of different kinds of energy and the transfer from one form goes on in lots of places. See if you can see another energy transfer around you today? They are happening more often than you think!

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