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Dancing Worms Experiment

In & Outdoor $
Density, Food Science, Science Fair

Activity Overview

Grab a couple of easily accessible items from your pantry and let some gummy worms give you and your family an entertaining science lesson about density and buoyancy. Kids of all ages will be intrigued by the little show that the colorful worms will put on before their eyes as they watch this experiment unfold.

Materials Needed

  • A clear tall glass, vase or jar
  • vinegar
  • water
  • gummy worms candy
  • scissors
  • baking soda

How To Do It

  1. Fill your glass container halfway with vinegar.
  2. In a separate bowl add 3 heaping tbs.of baking soda to 1 cup of warm water.
  3. Use your scissors to cut the gummy worms lengthwise into thinner strips. The thinner that they are, the better that they will work in this experiment.
  4. Add the thin strips of gummy worms to the warm water and baking soda solution and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  5. Then, drop the gummy worms one by one into the glass container of vinegar.
  6. Initially the gummy worms will likely fall to the bottom, but watch closely as they begin to rise to the top and fall again giving the appearance that they are dancing.
  7. The candy worms should put on quite a show for up to an hour.

Scientific Explanation

The gummy candies are much denser than the solution that they are in, therefore they fall to the bottom of the liquid. The vinegar and baking soda cause a reaction that releases carbon dioxide which adheres to the rough surface of the worms which increases the buoyancy of the candy and makes it rise to the top. When the gummy worm slices reach the top of the liquid, the carbon dioxide gas is released into the air and they again sink down to the bottom of the glass until more CO2 bubbles attach themselves again and make their way to the top.

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