Sometimes, making a big mess can be good for us!

But sometimes a mess is exactly what we need! Let's find out why...
Aveea Academy - Messy Experiment

What are we making a mess with?

Recently, we’ve had a blast doing experiments with citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. Perhaps that combination sounds familiar? Well, it’s what we use to make our classic bath bombs! Sounds simple, right? Just slap these two ingredients together and bam, we’ve got some bath bombs. 

If only it was that easy…

When mixing two things together, we always have to consider the ratio. We can’t just mix half and half and hope things work out. Ever accidentally put too much squash in your glass? Disgusting right? Of course we all have our own preference for how much squash we like, whether that’s strong or weak.

Regardless, we still have to find that out, and the only way is to try it out! And that’s exactly what we’re doing with our bath bombs here. You might think that we could simply look this up online, but what if our ingredients are of different concentration? 

Just like how we get extra strong squash which we need less of, we get ingredients of differing concentrations and purity, and we need to figure out the ratio best for our ingredients.

Aveea Academy - Messy Experiment

Our pupils’ task

Now, we could figure out exactly how much of each ingredient we need ourselves and tell our pupils, but that’s no fun. 

So, we gave our pupils this simple task—find out the best ratio for our bath bombs. And, to our surprise, we quickly discovered something… that children might enjoy making a mess a little too much. Perhaps we should’ve expected that, but several drenched tables and aprons later, we still have no regrets.

Aveea Academy - Messy Experiment

It would be simple to just use small quantities of the ingredients to test out their reactions, but we can turn this into a learning experience instead. 

A ratio of 2:1 is the same as 10:5, so why not show them this in action? And besides, more ingredients means a bigger mess. This isn’t about being resourceful, it’s about capturing that excitement in the children’s eyes as they see how these chemicals react. After all, there’s a reason why we don’t bat an eye at lighting a match, but we go crazy over a bonfire—sometimes size matters.

What was the result?

  • They quickly settled on the 2:1 ratio and understood how it is identical to 10:5, which is exactly what we wanted.
  • When they tested these larger quantities, they expected the petri dish to fly over and cause a loud bang, unfortunately for them this didn’t happen. Our petri dishes didn’t support the amount of water that was necessary for that much citric acid and sodium bicarbonate.
  • They decided to use less chemicals after realising that we need to be conscious of how much water we have in our petri dishes. In a bath there’s hundreds of litres of water, but our petri dishes only have 10ml.
Aveea Academy - Messy Experiment
Overall, our pupils understood all the key points and had a blast while doing it. In exchange, we’re left with a mess of chemicals to deal with. A tragic exchange at our expense, but one that’s certainly worth it—we’ll always be happy to make that exchange.

Why we are more than happy to clean up a mess

Children are curious and creative. It’s just in our nature as living beings to be fascinated by the unknown. And what better way to explore than through some messy experimentation? You don’t often get a chance to experiment like this to your heart’s desire, and normally you’d have to be careful or spend time afterwards cleaning up. 

We’re taking that out of the equation and leaving the pupils with just the exploration, giving them as much time as they need to figure out exactly what’s going on with our experiments.

Aveea Academy - Messy Experiment

Being messy is practically a ‘free pass’ for children. We usually associate a mess with an accident, a mistake. Whenever we drop a plate or fall over in mud, those are accidents, so we try to avoid being messy. But if we’re encouraging that mess, in a way we’re tricking them into thinking that mistakes are okay! 

Even if we’re always encouraging pupils to not hold back and make as many mistakes as they need, that doesn’t mean that they can always get over that feeling of disappointment when they do end up making a mistake.

Now, instead of thinking ‘oh no’ when their petri dish starts overflowing from too many chemicals, they can start cheering at what a mess they’ve made. And now they clearly understand that it was too much. 

Something they might’ve never discovered if they were too hesitant, imagine if they spent all that time just slowly adding more and more to a small quantity instead. Sure, they might’ve got there in the end, but that’s valuable time we could’ve spent learning something else! Besides, that sure sounds boring adding tiny drops at a time.

What's the bottom line?

At Aveea Academy, we understand that experimentation can sometimes lead to a messy situation. But we want parents to know that they don’t have to worry about this themselves, because we take care of the mess.

Our classrooms are designed for children to explore and create without fear of getting things wrong or making a mess. Our educators are equipped to handle the aftermath of any experiments, leaving our pupils with a clean environment to continue their learning. 

This is why parents and children love Aveea Academy, experiencing the joys of messy experimentation without any worry.

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