Seashells Dissolve by the Seashore!

What You Need:
  • Seashells
  • Vinegar
  • Spoon
  • Glass
  • Paper towel
  • Paper and pencil
Tip: This works best if you leave the shell in the vinegar for a few days.

Question: What are seashells made of?

1. First, put a seashell in a glass.

2. Pour the vinegar over the shell so it is completely covered.

3. Now, observe, or watch, what happens to the shell. Record anything interesting you notice.

4. Leave the shell in the vinegar for a few days. Check on the shell often and write about any changes you see.

5. After a few days use the spoon to fish the shell out of the vinegar. Put the shell on the paper towel and press down on it with the spoon. What happens?

A Scientific Explanation
Seashells contain calcium carbonate. The calcium carbonate reacts with the acid in the vinegar and causes carbon dioxide bubbles to form. Even though the acid in vinegar is weak it can, over a period of time, dissolve shells.

Test this again with another kind of shell. What do you notice about this experiment that is different or the same?


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