Mentos + soda = fun ... and learning

Mentos + soda = fun ... and learning »Play Video

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- All eyes were on the gray trash can sitting outside Oregon State University's Wilkinson Hall.

Then came the moment they were waiting for.  A loud boom rang out, a plume of water shot into the sky and a group of fourth grade students broke out in cheers.

The South Shore Elementary School class had been learning about volcanos.  On the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, they visited with OSU graduate students to see demonstrations of super volcanos.

The grad students submerged a bottle of liquid nitrogen submerged in water inside the trash can and put Mentos candy in a bottle of soda to show students how volcanos worked.

"It's such a teaching moment," said Shan de Silva, a geosciences professor.  "You get young kids coming here on a day like this, and you get a chance to teach them about the event.  It's such a visual thing, it sort of captures people's imaginations."