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Lockdown Day 11 – Dancing Rice

As we hit the midpoint of our lockdown (hopefully), we figured a little dancing activity could come in handy! As always, we need to add some learning opportunities, so we thought today would be a good day to do some Science!


1. Invite your child to explore a Science experiment with you. Children (and adults) of all ages are intrigued by experiments, so you should not have to work too hard on this invitation!

2. Explain that a good Science experiment always requires PREPARATION.

3. Collect the following ingredients with your child and place them on the work surface in this order from left to right.

  • A plastic placemat to protect the work surface
  • A transparent glass jar
  • Enough water in a jug to fill the glass jar to approximately the ¾ mark
  • Food colouring (optional) If you have a dropper to measure out approximately 5ml of food colouring, that would be ideal. If you do not have a dropper, it may be best for the adult to help pour a little food colouring into the water (see step 8).
  • 1 x tablespoon
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • ¼ cup measuring cup
  • Fast cooking white rice
  • White spirit vinegar
  • A cloth for any spills

4. Look at the ingredients with your child and explain that in this experiment you will be combining these to see a REACTION. This may be a good time to talk about this word. For example: When I touched the hot stove my reaction was to pull my hand away very quickly! See if the child can come up with any reactions of her/his own.

5. Ask the child to put the placemat in front of her/him.

6. Invite the child to bring the jar to the middle of the placemat.

7. Ask the child to pour the water from the jug into the jar. If there are any spills at this stage, let the child use the cloth at the end of the row to clean up.

8. You may wish to add a drop of food colouring at this stage.

9. Ask the child to add 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and to stir the water until it has dissolved. Discuss what has happened to the bicarbonate of soda. It has dissolved. What does this mean?

10. Place the tablespoon next to the vinegar as you will need to use it again.

11. Ask the child to add ¼ cup of fast cooking white rice to the water. Discuss what the rice is doing. Is it FLOATING? is it SINKING?

12. Now tell the child that the next ingredient that needs to be added is the vinegar. But before you do that, you need to consider the kind of REACTION that may be expected. This is called PREDICTION or STATING A HYPOTHESIS.

13. Once this has been discussed, invite the child to add 1 – 2 tablespoons of white spirit vinegar.

14. Put the spoon away and OBSERVE what happens next.

15. The reaction may not happen at first, and you may need to add a little more vinegar to see a slight ‘fizz’ at the top before the rice starts ‘dancing’.

16. Ask the child what s/he OBSERVES.
17. Link this back to what they PREDICTED. Were they right? What was the same (or different) about the prediction and the actual event? This is ANALYSIS.

12. Depending on the age of the child you could explain that the bicarbonate of soda reacted with the vinegar to create movement in the water which caused the rice grains to ‘dance’. This is the CONCLUSION.

Developing a scientific mind requires precision, order and time to think about and process information!

We hope that you enjoy this activity as much as your children!


As always – please remember to ask your children to tidy up the workspace once you have completed the experiment!