Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 24)

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4-H at Home
Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent

Mentos and Soda Car (National 4-H at Home Activity Guide)

Mentos soda car

When Mentos are mixed with a fizzy drink, something incredible happens.

In the pursuit of science, sometimes things have to get messy… and when you mix Mentos with a fizzy drink, mess is one thing that’s guaranteed! Head outdoors and witness one of the coolest reactions you’ll see beyond the lab.

In this activity, kids will build some kind of “car” and use the explosive power of Mentos mixed with soda to propel it as far as it will go.

The fluid continuity equation: when a moving fluid is forced through a tight space – such as a hole in a soda bottle cap – it will speed up.

The reason that soda is so bubbly is because carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is pumped in to give the drink its fizz. The CO2 binds to the water molecules (H2O) in the soda, but only lightly. It doesn’t take very much for the CO2 to escape; that’s why the drink always foams up when you take off the lid.

One thing that can speed up the release of the CO2 is dropping something into the soda. At first glance, Mentos appear smooth, but under a microscope, you’ll find that their surface is covered in tiny bumps and pits.

The suspended CO2 breaks away from the water molecules by forming bubbles on another surface – a process known as “nucleation”. This sudden build-up of foamy liquid has to go somewhere, so naturally it seeks to get out of the bottle. Being forced out of the narrow neck means it comes out at high velocity, thanks to the wonder of fluid continuity. That’s what should give your bottle car its propulsion.

Suggested Supplies

  • Soda bottle
  • Jar Lids
  • Fidget spinners
  • Plastic tubes
  • Plastic tub
  • Cable ties
  • Cooper wire
  • Mentos

Activity Guidelines

  • The vehicle can be of any design (with any supplies), but must have four wheels and be propelled solely by a Mentos and soda fountain. Part of the challenge is finding the best design.
  • A start line must be marked on the ground where the attempt takes place. The surface the car travels on must be reasonably hard and level – no slopes allowed.
  • There must be no interference with the vehicle once the attempt has begun.
  • The distance must be measured in a straight line from the start line to the closest edge of the vehicle once it has come to a rest.

See more information on this experiment

Horticulture at Home
Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

Selecting and Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

A wide variety of bulbs are grown in North Carolina. Most are grown for their flowers, but some are grown for their foliage. Most flowering bulbs are perennial plants and require little maintenance. Some bulbs provide weeks or months of color, while others flower for only a few weeks each year. Bulbs are broadly grouped into spring-flowering (January through May) and summer-flowering or fall-flowering (June through October) plants.

Spring-flowering bulbs are planted in the fall, produce foliage and flowers in the spring, then die back and remain dormant during the summer months. They provide color before most annuals and perennials. Some crocuses begin flowering in January and some daffodils begin flowering in February. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are considered the major spring­-flowering bulbs. Minor spring-flowering bulbs include anemone, crocus, cyclamen, grape hyacinth, Dutch iris, lily-of-the-­valley and snowdrops.

The optimal time for planting spring flowering bulbs in our area is November or early December. In selecting a site for planting, consider light, temperature, soil texture, and function. Most bulbs prefer full sun. A few bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus, squill, and wood hyacinths, tolerate partial shade. Most bulbs and bulblike plants do not tolerate poor drainage; they grow best in deep, well drained loam or sandy soils. The simplest method for planting bulbs is to dig individual planting holes. Loosen the soil below the depth of the planted bulbs. Arrange the bulbs at the recommended depth and spacing. As a general rule, plant bulbs at a depth 2½ to 3 times as deep as the diameter of the bulb. Cover the bulbs with soil and apply a 2-inch to 3-inch layer of mulch. It is usually best to plant spring-flowering bulbs in groups.

Selecting high-quality spring-flowering bulbs is important because the flower bud has already developed before the bulb is sold. Size is important. Generally, larger bulbs produce better flowers. Select bulbs that are plump and firm. Small nicks and loose skins do not affect the quality. Beware of bargain bulbs that are often too small to flower the first year. If you buy bulbs well before planting time, keep them in a cool, dry place. Unless specified, do not store bulbs in paper or plastic bags.

The Chowan, Gates & Perquimans Extension Master Gardeners are having a bulb sale. Find out more online here or call (252) 482-6585.


Spring flowering narcissus are low maintenance and pest-resistant.

Material taken from the NC Extension Gardener Handbook.

Family and Consumer Sciences at Home
Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent 

Handling Meats and Promptly Refrigerating Foods

The Chowan/Perquimans County Cooperative Extension Expanded Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is targeting the Teen Population this year with its program Teen Cuisine. Mrs. Patty Plough our EFNEP Educator will be working with 6-12th Graders to implement this program in the Chowan and Perquimans County Schools. This program teaches basic nutrition, healthy eating, Food safety and basic culinary skills. One of the lessons is “Tips for Safely Handling Raw Meats.”

Handling Meats

  • Purchase meats last when at the grocery store and immediately store them in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Never thaw meat at room temperature; use a running cold-water bath or the microwave or refrigerator.
  • Wash your hands and sanitize all surfaces the meat touched
  • Don’t return cooked meats to the same container the raw meat was in.
  • Don’t use marinade sauces that raw meat was in.
  • Cook to the proper temperature. Test using a food thermometer.
  • Put cooked meats in refrigerator within two hours.
  • Eat or freeze meat within 2 days.

Promptly Refrigerate Foods

We are in the Dog Days of Summer so make sure to get your foods chilled quickly to avoid spoilage.

Many people think you cannot put hot food in the refrigerator because it will make the other foods in the refrigerator spoil. This belief dates back to the days of the “ice box” when block ice was used to cool foods in an icebox. If hot foods were put into an icebox, it would cause the ice to melt. Without ice to chill the food in the icebox, the food would spoil. Obviously this is not a problem with modern refrigerators, so always refrigerate food promptly.

Bacteria grow slowly when food is kept cold. Set your refrigerator between 34 and 39°F and your freezer at 0°F or colder. Not only will your food be safe but it will also last longer. Follow these other safe steps for refrigeration:

  • Don’t keep perishables or cooked foods out of the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours total.
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, in a microwave oven, or during cooking.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
  • Divide large portions of food, like a large pot of stew, into smaller portions in shallow pans that are no more than 2 inches deep for quick cooling.
  • Cut large pieces of meat, like a roast, into several smaller portions to hasten cooling.
  • Cover food or wrap tightly to keep out drips from other foods.

IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Contaminated food may not look, smell, or taste bad. If you think food has not been safely handled during preparation, cooking, or storage, don’t eat it. And, if it isn’t safe for you to eat, do not feed it to your pet.

If you have questions about Food Safety call Mary Morris, Chowan County Cooperative Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Science at 252-482-6585 or email mary_morris@ncsu.edu.

If you have questions about the Teen Cuisine Program please call Patty Plough at 252-482-6585.

fruit with yogurt orange dip recipe and nutrition facts