Parents Who Speak English: The Dry Ice Experiment

Our introductory research workshop ‘EM JUNIOR SCIENCE CLUB’ all came together on Monday 23 March. We were treated to a wonderful presentation by María Montes Casado, a biochemist and specialist in immunology at the National Centre of Microbiology in Majadahonda. Who, as a scientist and participant in our PARENTS WHO SPEAK ENGLISH section, brought everything she needed to give us a fascinating experience: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT ON HOW TO MAKE WHITE SMOKE WITH DRY ICE.

Her presentation, in English, was aimed towards and adapted to the members of our Science Club, who have lessons at the School between 6pm and 7pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.



The Experiment

María explained to us that dry ice is not ice, strictly speaking, but is called dry ice or cardice as it is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It gets its name from its resemblance to normal ice and snow in both appearance and temperature, changing from solid to gas without passing through the liquid phase, known as the process of sublimation.


We learnt that carbon dioxide, also called carbonic oxide, carbonic acid gas and carbonic anhydride, is a gas whose molecules are composed of two atoms of oxygen and one of carbon. Its chemical formula is CO2.


Dry ice is incredibly cold, reaching temperatures around -43°C (-110°F). María showed us how important it is to handle dry ice very carefully and explained that, for safety reasons, insulating gloves have to be used to work with it and it should never be touched with wet or damp hands as the water would freeze instantly, which could cause burns or ulcerations.


The use of forceps and safety goggles is also recommended.

Carbon dioxide is a very dense gas; it is heavier than air and it can be dangerous so when experiments are being done with dry ice, they should also take place in a ventilated environment and face masks should be used.


We all had to wear protective gloves and face masks. IT WAS LOTS OF FUN!

The Big Moment

The big moment arrived when Sofía, the special helper, poured water from a bottle onto the pieces of dry ice and everyone present saw with amazement a thick cloud of bubbling white smoke emerge from the expanded polystyrene container with the dry ice in it. Fascinating!


A BIG THANK YOU to María for the fantastic opportunity she gave our ‘EM JUNIOR SCIENCE CLUB’. We will never forget the excitement of being present at the “sublime” transformation of carbon snow into magic fog.



María Montes Casado

It has been a real pleasure and a fantastic experience, trying to introduce the children to the magical world of Science

María Montes Casado and Fernando Carrasco Ramiro, who is also a chemist, are the parents of Sofía, seven, and Martín, five, who was there as our special guest. They are a very special family of scientists who we are very fond of.

María Montes Casado Family 2

Another of the wonderful young families that make our SCHOOL OF ENGLISH possible.

THANK YOU to every one of you who believes in our educational project!