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Exploding Pumpkin

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Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center


Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center


This short video demonstrates the power of chemical reactions.  The clip was recorded on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 2006, when the Exploreum staff decided to do a little playing with our food. We called it Left Over Science.

When calcium carbide is added to water it causes a chemical reaction.  After a short wait, a spark is added.  The result:  we blew up a pumpkin and we got it on video!

Length: 01:38

Content Areas: Science

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

SC (9-12) Chemistry
5. Use the kinetic theory to explain states of matter, phase changes, solubility, and chemical reactions.
Example: water at 25 degrees Celsius remains in the liquid state because of the strong attraction between water molecules while kinetic energy allows the sliding of molecules past one another
SC (9-12) Chemistry
8. Distinguish among endothermic and exothermic physical and chemical changes.
endothermic physical—phase change from ice to water,
endothermic chemical—reaction between citric acid solution and baking soda,
exothermic physical—phase change from water vapor to water,
exothermic chemical—formation of water from combustion of hydrogen and oxygen
  • Calculating temperature change by using specific heat
  • Using Le Châtelier's principle to explain changes in physical and chemical equilibrium
    SC2015 (9-12) Physical Science
    3. Analyze and interpret data from a simple chemical reaction or combustion reaction involving main group elements.
    SC2015 (9-12) Physical Science
    11. Design and conduct investigations to verify the law of conservation of energy, including transformations of potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, and the effect of any work performed on or by the system.
    SC2015 (9-12) Chemistry
    5. Plan and conduct investigations to demonstrate different types of simple chemical reactions based on valence electron arrangements of the reactants and determine the quantity of products and reactants.
    a. Use mathematics and computational thinking to represent the ratio of reactants and products in terms of masses, molecules, and moles.
    b. Use mathematics and computational thinking to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.
    SC2015 (9-12) Chemistry
    10. Plan and conduct experiments that demonstrate how changes in a system (e.g., phase changes, pressure of a gas) validate the kinetic molecular theory.
    a. Develop a model to explain the relationship between the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance and the temperature of the substance (e.g., no kinetic energy equaling absolute zero [0K or -273.15oC]).


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