Science Will Save the World! Episode 3: We’ve Got Chemistry! (Acid and Base Experiment) with Jessie Rack

Science Will Save the World! Episode 3: We’ve Got Chemistry! (Acid and Base Experiment)

With Jessie Rack

Today we are exploring the wonderful world of chemistry with an acid-base experiment. Using household ingredients, we create a reaction that (if we’re lucky) makes a Ziploc bag explode!


1/2 cup Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

Ziploc bag Paper towel (ripped into a square)

3/4 cup water

Food coloring (optional)


Atom – the teeny-tiny building blocks that make up all matter in the universe. Kind of like Legos.

Ion – atoms or groups of atoms with an electrical charge, either positive or negative.

Acids and Bases – special chemicals that contain lots of ions, which makes them want to react with each other. Acids have lots of positive ions; bases have lots of negative ions.

*** Higher-Level Science Explanation:

What’s really happening here is a two-part reaction.

n step one, vinegar (acetic acid) reacts with the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to form sodium acetate and carbonic acid.

In step two, the carbonic acid immediately falls apart into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles you see are the carbon dioxide leaving the solution!

Equation: (for proper notation, see…)

Step 1: Sodium bicarbonate + acetic acid → sodium acetate + carbonic acid NaHCO3 + HC2H3O2 → NaC2H3O2 + H2CO3

Step 2: Carbonic acid → water + carbon dioxide H2CO3 → H2O + CO2

Once again, this production is brought to you by the University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program. And Penny!

Science Will Save the World! Episode 1: How to Make a Homemade Magnifying Glass

Science Will Save the World! Episode 1: How to Make a Homemade Magnifying Glass

With Jessie Rack

Stuck at home? Why not do some science? Today, with the help of Penny the Cat, I demonstrate how to make a homemade magnifying glass with things you probably have around the house. I’ll also explain how it works – through the science of vision and light, and the power of lenses.

Come for the science, stay for the awkward sound effects and the time Penny knocks stuff off the couch. This production brought to you by the University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program. And Penny!


Watershed Map

Click on the map and find the watershed/drainage are for that spot. List all tributaries (you can sort them by length etc) allows for upstream/downstream navigation. Also shows the way the water takes to the sea. Search by address or river name as well. Overlay additional resources like snow, reservoirs, water diversions, watershed importance to drinking water supply etc. It’s possible to embed in websites, share via URL and use on a mobile device in the field.

Full instructions here:

Santa Cruz River above Tucson:


Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program

"Up in the Air" Education Program Brochure“Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” is designed around the big idea that our actions impact air quality in both positive and negative ways.

This environmental education program engages K-5th Grade students in hands-on learning activities designed to promote collaboration and critical thinking skills.

Main Goal of “Up in the Air” Education Program

The main goal of “Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” is to educate elementary students and their families about the importance of clean air. Kids learn simple actions they can take to help improve local air quality so we can all live, work, and play in a healthy environment.

Air Pollution Topics Covered in “Up in the Air”:

  • Properties of Air
  • Common Air Pollutants
  • Sources of Air Pollution
  • Monitoring Air Quality
  • Health Effects of Air Pollution
  • Reducing Air Pollution

Program Materials for K-5th Grade are Available!

The “Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” provides elementary environmental educators with inquiry-based, hands-on air pollution lessons within two units for K-2nd Grade and 3rd-5th Grade.

Each “Up in the Air” Unit Includes:

  • 6 to 8 air quality lesson plans aligned to current Arizona academic standards for science, English/language arts, math, and social studies
  • Key vocabulary
  • Essential questions to focus student learning
  • Detailed instructions for each investigation
  • Blackline masters for all lab sheets and assessments
  • Websites, videos, and other online tools
  • Digital lessons for interactive SMART boards

“Up in the Air” Classroom Investigation Lab Activity Example

This lab instructions tutorial video explains how to model pollution dispersion using water and food dye. This lab activity is taken from the 3rd-5th Grade Unit, Lesson Four of “Up in the Air” Education Program.

Additional “Up in the Air” Resources for Maricopa County Educators:

  • Resource kits, containing all materials needed to teach the unit, are available for check-out from the Maricopa County Air Quality Department
  • A 45-minute hands-on classroom presentation provided by the Maricopa County Air Quality Dept.
"Up in the Air" Education Program Resource Kits

“Up in the Air” Education Program Resource Kits

For “Up in the Air” education program resource kits and other air quality learning materials, please contact the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality Dept.

Jenny Frank, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality DepartmentJenny Frank
Education Outreach Coordinator
Maricopa County Air Quality Department
(602) 506-6355

Environmental Education Video Content Provided by
Jenny Frank, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department

"Kids Making Sense" Flyer

Kids Making Sense is a global environmental education program that empowers the next generation of citizen scientists, developed by Sonoma Technology, Inc. Discover how students can use portable air quality sensors to measure particle pollution at their school!

Maricopa County Air Quality Department is bringing this innovative STEM program to schools in Maricopa County at no cost. To learn more, contact

AAEE Members Only Forum

Connect with Environmental Educators across Arizona through the AAEE Members Only Forums.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) | Climate Change and the Water Cycle

Climate Change and the Water Cycle – a 10-hour curriculum unit for 6-12th grade students

Population Education

Population Education, a program of Population Connection, is the only national program with a strong emphasis on curriculum and professional development for K-12 educators that focuses on human population issues. Since 1975, the program has developed age-appropriate curricula to complement students’ science and social science instruction about human population trends and their impacts on natural resources, environmental quality and human well-being. Population Education provides hands-on professional development training to approximately 10,000-12,000 teachers and student teachers annually in North America.

Gardens for Humanity (Sedona)

Founded in 1996, Gardens for Humanity works for ecological education to help give our children and all members of our community the values, tools and experiences needed to seek and regain balance with the natural world.

Current projects include assisting in the development of home and community gardens, school gardens, art and environmental education and being a resource for the development of local agriculture and sustainable food systems.

Sedona Recycles (Sedona)

Sedona Recycles is a non-profit community recycling center dedicated to environmental education. They offer free classes for any grade or age level to schools, clubs, and other organizations. Classes are specific to teachers’ desired goals, and educational tours of the facility are an excellent tie-in. Recycling conserves energy, water, and land as well as other natural resources so many facets of curriculum can be addressed. They have done recycled art classes with materials provided from the center, and even marine biology classes including information on the effects of plastics in the ocean.

Arizona Wildlife Education Network Facebook Group

Do you teach about wildlife, either formally or informally? Are you looking for more information to bring wildlife into your classroom? This Facebook group provides a centralized location for Arizona educators just like you to network and share ideas about wildlife education.