This activity – Effervescing Experiments and Designing- has a little back story.
One question I am often asked is how I keep all classes of the same grade level all doing the same thing each week. Easy answer: I don’t.
I have three grade levels. That’s one reason. The second reason is simple: As hard as I try I cannot keep every class moving at the same rate, so inevitably I end up with a class or two that is ahead of others. One third grade group might be finishing volume with popcorn while another has started experimenting with flood barriers. The same thing is happening in the other two grade levels so I may have 6-7 different challenges going on at the SAME TIME!
So, sometimes I try a simple one-day activity with just one class- as a filler.
So recently we tried EFFERVESCING TABLETS!
This is an activity I tried with third graders so I knew we were going to have some background before beginning.
I knew third graders need some help with understanding the Scientific Method. Jeez, I need help with it, too! When you start talking about variables, controlled ones, dependent ones, and independent ones it makes my head spin.
So, anyway, with eight-year-olds it is really fun to get them to understand controlled variables and how to make the experiments fair. To keep them interested I have to make the experiments super cool!
Usually, when they walk in and see trays set up like this I hear someone say, “Oh yay, we are doing real science today!”
(Just for your convenience: Kids needed a way to measure an amount of water to use with each experiment. The larger cups came from Wal-Mart and the smaller ones I found on Amazon.) We reuse these cups!
For this Scientific Method exploration, we first had to learn the word Effervescing. It means a bubbling effect due to a chemical reaction and the result is dissolving. Think Alka Seltzer and you will totally get it! Then we set out to learn how to fill in lab sheets.
The question was, “What will make the effervescing tablet dissolve faster?”
The little sweetie above wrote, “I predict saliva or some sort of acid will make it faster.”
Yeah, well we are definitely not going to use our saliva….. but he was thinking!
After forming a hypothesis we set about to test the effervescing tablets. This was a very planned procedure with everyone doing it at the SAME TIME because these are third graders and they could not be turned loose with fizzing and bubbling and watching the clock at the same time.
We timed the length of time for dissolving a tablet by using a very large stopwatch from a website I found. Here’s the link: Stopwatch
The kids recorded their results on the data table of the team lab sheet. Each team had a copy and one student was the recorder.
And in the end they worded a conclusion to the experiment.
Here’s the most popular wording of our conclusion, “Hot water is faster. But it will hurt you if you drink it!” Overall, this was a big hit with my third graders!
If I were using this with older students I would give them stop watches and let them time their own tests and I would allow them to choose what to test. Personally, I think dissolving it in coffee would be best for me!
This little experiment works well with third graders and helps with learning the Scientific Method. It is also great fun to watch all that fizzing!
Just and FYI- I buy generic brand effervescing tablets and break them into fourths. Each team has 5-6 cups with a piece in each cup. We test different liquids and also hot water.
Which do you think works best?
Click on any of the images to find this resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
You might also enjoy these blog posts: