## Element, Compound, or Mixture? Identify & Sort

Materials:

Different ways to use this activity:

1. Vocabulary reinforcement
2. Students can review the slides independently as added practice and self check.
3. This can be a guided mini-lesson for a whole class to reinforce the concept.
4. Students can work in pairs to sort the cards into the 3 different groups, then discuss the answers as a class. Challenge – categorize the mixtures.
5. Give each student one of the larger cards and have them do the activity “Quiz, Quiz, Trade

For more lessons related to this activity, please click on the tags below.

## NGSS: Scientific & Engineering Practices (SEP)

If you are looking for lesson plans that cover the following NGSS Standards, you can do a search using either tags or the search box. I have tagged all of my blog entries with the corresponding SEP.

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (SEP) (Details from NSTA)

• SEP1 – Asking Questions and Defining Problems
• SEP2 – Developing and Using Models
• SEP3 – Planning and Carrying out Investigations
• SEP4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
• SEP5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
• SEP6 – Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
• SEP7 – Engaging in Argument from Evidence
• SEP8 – Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

## Sugar Density Column

Materials

• Student Handout (pdf)
• Food Coloring – Red, Blue, Yellow, & Green
• Erlenmeyer flask filled with warm tap water
• 4 Stirrers/Sticks
• 4 Pipettes
• 1 Spoon
• Granulated Sugar
• 3 Test Tubes
• Test Tube Rack
• 4 Clear Cups

This sugar density activity is one I have never tried before, I actually ‘borrowed’ the idea from my son’s HS Chemistry Teacher. He came home and told me they made different colored layers using only sugar, food coloring, and water. I immediately jumped on the computer and thought about how to use this in my 6th grade classes, we are in the middle of our density unit and it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out.

One of my goals for this year is re-examine my lessons and see which activities I can make more open-ended when appropriate. For this activity, most of the resources I found told the students exactly how much sugar to put in each layer and what order to place the colors into the test tube or some other type of container. I didn’t want my students to follow step by step procedures, but wanted it to be more of an exploration type of activity. I had no idea how this would turn out but gave it shot anyway.

I gave them the problem, the parameters, the tools to complete the activity, and sent them on their way. It was great to see them figure out how to solve the problem, talk out strategies, and to see them go through the trial and error process. Each group came up with a different way to solve the problem and some groups struggled more than others. I met with each group to facilitate, ask questions, and had them explain to me what they were doing and why. Overall, it was a successful lesson, they enjoyed the activity, and it really solidified their understanding of density.

I am also incorporating more open ended writing in science and I enjoyed reading their reflections about the activity.

## Super Easy to Make Cartesian Divers

This was the easiest, and most inexpensive way to make cartesian divers I have ever tried, and each student got to take theirs home after class. Did I mention how much fun it was?!

Materials

• semi-transparent to transparent bendy straws – 1 per student
• colored paper clips – 4-6 per student
• scissors – 1 per 2-4 students
• 2L bottle with cap – 1 per 2 students
• beaker of water – 1 per 2-4 students
• tray to contain spills -1 per 2 students
• paper towels
• optional: eye dropper with blue colored water

Part 1 – Demonstration:

As part of our density unit, we talk about the concept of buoyancy – why do objects float or sink? Using a 2L bottle of water, a glass medicine dropper, and some blue food coloring, we made guesses and observations about the cartesian diver.

The medicine dropper is filled with blue water, checked for buoyancy, and then added to a 2L bottle. Students gather to make observations. What do you think will happen when I squeeze the bottle? What will the blue water do? Why did it sink? Why did it float? What is happening to the air in the diver? What is the water doing? Did the mass of the diver change? The density? Students share their ideas and we come to a conclusion as to why the diver floats and sinks.

Part 2 – Build and Explore:

After the demonstrations, students get to build their own divers and explore on their own. Some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be careful bending the straw, any cracks will make the the straw useless.
2. After bending the straw, cut off the excess length of straw so that both side are equal in length. (You can save the rest of the straw for future activities)
3. Attach one paper clip as shown in the diagram below. Additional paper clips can be easily added or removed by sliding them on or off the main paper clip. (Like keys on a keychain)
4. Use a rescue hook for any divers that do not float back to the top.
5. Remind students to place the cap back on the bottle TIGHTLY – or water will shoot out of the bottle when they squeeze it.
6. Lunch or serving trays work nicely to contain spills.

## Triple Beam Balance – Bottles of Stuff!

Materials

• Single Serving Size (1L or less) bottles filled with various items
• students brought in materials of their choice over the course of a week
• Triple Beam Balance (TBB)
• Mass Set
• Student Handout (Triple Beam Balance Bottles pdf)

Procedures – Part 1

1. Provide each lab group with an assortment of bottles
2. Students will arrange the bottles from lightest to heaviest by making observations
3. They will record the order of the bottles and their contents with #1 as the lightest and #10 the heaviest on their handout
• my groups used 9 bottles, but there is room on the handout for 10
4. Using the set of masses, they will estimate the mass of each bottle by holding a bottle in one hand and a mass in the other hand, recording their estimations on the handout

Procedures – Part 2

1. Students will transfer their estimation to the back page
2. Using the TBB they will record the actual masses of the bottles
3. Then they will rank the bottles from lightest (#1) to heaviest (#10) and compare their estimation to the actual masses. How close were the estimations to the actual masses? Did they place the bottles in the correct order?

Results

 Bottle # Mass (g) Bottle # Mass (g) Bottle # Mass (g) 1 126.9 14 281 27 192.3 2 72.9 15 336.5 28 330.9 3 29.6 16 223 29 465 4 438 17 70 30 195 5 202.1 18 36.43 31 59.1 6 166 19 185 32 168.8 7 63.1 20 88 33 33 8 301.5 21 140.1 34 100 9 224 22 49.1 35 402.5 10 610+ 23 73.3 36 187.1 11 67.1 24 54.9 37 318.4 12 251.8 25 27.5 38 13 410.1 26 406 39

You can also use these bottles as part of your density unit, see my blog entry for more information.

## Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Classification Activity

UPDATED JULY 2016

Materials

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures –

• Sorting/Task Cards and answers (pdf) – laminate and cut apart, 1 set per 2-4 students
• NEW: Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Notes
• E, C, M, ? (pdf) – laminated or glued onto construction paper, cut apart, 1 set per group
• OLD: PPT Slides (ppt – read only access)
• OLD: Notes (pdf)

Note: I modified this lesson to add a hands-on component with the addition of task cards that students can sort at their desks. I use this lesson as a group work activity to introduce Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures.

Procedures:

1. Each group will have one set of task cards and one set of ECM? cards to hold up.
2. Students will sort the items pictured into 4 columns: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures, and “?”. (The “?” category is a temporary place holder for students to discuss further within their group, all items should be sorted before answers are revealed)
3. Once all the groups have had a chance to discuss and sort the items, we will go over the answers as a class.
4. Using the ppt, show the first item (Rocks). Ask each group to choose one of the E,C, or M cards.
5. Have them place the “?” in front of their answer. (this prevents the other groups from seeing their answer) A spokesperson for each group will stand up and hold the ECM? cards.
6. Ask all the groups to reveal their answer at the same time. Compare answers & discuss.
7. Reveal the answer and have students record the results in their notes.
8. If needed, have students move the card to the correct category on their desk, too.
9. For fun, I award a point to each group that has a correct answer, the kids enjoy a little friendly competition :).
10. Continue with the next slide (Copper) and repeat.

For more lessons related to Chemistry, click on the Chemistry or Properties of Matter Tabs up above.

## Mystery Footprints – Observation vs. Inference

Materials:

• Updated for 2015 – Mystery Footprints – Observation vs. Inference (Google Slides Public link)
• Handout for Mystery Footprint Activity (pdf)
• projector

Background

This is one of my favorite activities to practice making observations and inferences, it really helps the students differentiate between the two. As I mentioned in my ‘Boy in the Water‘ post, students tend to clump their observations and inferences together, they think they are the same thing.

For example, after viewing the first panel of the image, they will say that they ‘see two animals running towards each other.’ and my response is, “I don’t see two animals running towards each other, but I do see two sets of tracks”. After a few tries, they refine their answers and start to see the ‘facts’ of the image. Then we talk about the ‘story’ behind the facts.

When doing this activity, before I show them the first panel for the image, I stress how important it is not to share, or shout out, their thoughts or answers as soon as they see the image. Why is that important? Why can’t we share our answers right away? I stress to them that when they share their answers, they are taking away opportunities for their peers to think about what they are seeing.

For example, if someone asked you to name a vegetable, and I shouted out BROCCOLI, my answer would creep into everyone’s thoughts and BROCCOLI would push away any ideas about vegetables that didn’t have a chance to develop. Instead of sweet potatoes, or even yucca, you are now thinking about broccoli. It is important to let everyone have a chance to see the image, think about it, and to process and form their ideas. Their ideas may end up being the same as yours, but they may also think of something totally different. Once everyone has had a chance to process their thoughts, we can share our ideas and have a discussion where everyone can contribute and develop their thoughts further.

This activity was originally published in Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998) and the book is available as a free download. You can find more details on pages 87-89 for this lesson.

## SpongeBob Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity

Materials:

• SpongeBob® Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity Teacher’s Edition (pptx)
• this power point can be modified as needed
• 47 slides with answers for each scenario
• Scenarios – Student Handout/Notes (pdf)
• one laminated set per group  (4 slides per page pdf)
• 2 sided handout for each student to keep in notes (9 slides per page pdf)
• Pencils and highlighters

Procedures Part 1:

Prior to the students starting the activity on their own, I read the scenarios out loud for the class. As I read the text, students independently made a light pencil mark in each paragraph to indicate broken safety rules – anything that they thought might be an infraction. After I read the story, they worked with their partner to find the broken safety rules using the task cards. After a few minutes, I modeled the first broken safety rule to make sure everyone was on the right track and understood the directions.

1. Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
2. Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
3. Groups will need to identify the safety rules that were not followed for Scenario #1 and pull the safety rule task cards related to Scenario #1. The rules that were not broken will be placed in a pile to the side.
4. Students will lightly underline where the rules weren’t followed in their notes and write the number of the rule for each violation along with a brief 2-3 word description of the rule that was broken in the margin of their notes.
5. Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
6. Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
• I don’t tell the students how many safety violations there are, then they can use process of elimination for the last scenario, I tell them that each safety rule task card will be used at least once so they know that there are at least 16 violations to find.

Procedures Part 2:

1. Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
2. On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
3. Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
4. Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
5. The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
6. All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
7. Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
8. Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
9. Do the same for scenarios 2-5.

• The original worksheet for this activity is from ScienceSpot.net (pdf)
• Interactive Notebook version of this worksheet (pdf)
• Marcia has some nice additional activities for Safety on her website (link)
• This ppt was modified from the original source found at (link)
• SpongeBob SquarePants® and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

## Dunkin’ for Density Challenge

Updated for 2016: See blog entry

Introduction:

This is a wonderful problem solving and hands-on activity to use as part of your density unit. The students enjoy the challenge and have a solid understanding of density after completing this activity. Even though students quickly figure out how to make the canister float and sink, making the canister suspend is pretty challenging and requires a lot of trial and error and problem solving.

To qualify as suspending, the film canister needs to float just under the surface of the water, with a small portion of the top just breaking through. How I also verify that it is suspending is by pushing the film canister to the bottom of the tank, if it comes up very slowly to the surface, it counts – if it comes up quickly or stays towards the bottom, it doesn’t count. Students then need to figure out that if it comes up too quickly, they need to add to the mass, if it comes up too slowly, they need to remove some of the mass. It will take several tries to get it just right.

Materials:

• Dunkin’ for Density handout (1 page pdf) or (2 page pdf) and (link) to the original lesson from ScienceSpot.net
• Triple Beam Balances
• Container filled with water
• Towels – the more the better!
• Film canisters
• one canister per 2 people works well, they can reuse the canisters if you don’t have enough to give each set of lab partners 3 canisters
• if they reuse the canisters, be sure that they find the mass before they empty the contents
• An assortment of small objects such as pennies, paper clips, stoppers, small pebbles, etc…
• Calculators

Procedures:

1. Introduce the Dunkin’ for Density Challenge – their goal is to make the film canister float, suspend, and sink by placing contents inside of the film canister.
1. Many students will say that the canister will float with nothing in it, but they must place a few objects in it for it to count 😉
2. On a side note, a mini history lesson on film and cameras is fun to discuss since most students have never used a camera that used film
2. Explain the procedures, review how to use the TBB, note that the film canister must seal completely and be air tight so that water doesn’t enter, and also demonstrate how to use the dunk tank properly and to dry off the canister before finding the mass.
3. Do not give the students the value for the volume of the film canisters until they have collected their data. If the students know the volume of the film canister, they may figure out the mass needed to make the film canister’s density close to 1.0 g/cm3.
1. The value is approximately 39 mL or 39 g/cm3 – verify with a large graduated cylinder that the film canister can fit inside of – or use an overflow can to find the volume (link).
2. I will give the volume to each set of lab partners individually and ask that they don’t share that information with the class.
4. Once students have calculated the density, collect class data on a spreadsheet projected on the board/screen.
5. Discuss results – why did the film canister float, suspend, or sink in the tank of water? What relationships did you notice?

## Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Materials:

• At least 4 samples for each of the following 12 rocks:
• Igneous Rocks: Pumice, Obsidian, Basalt, & Granite
• Sedimentary Rocks: Sandstone, Limestone, Conglomerate, & Coal
• Metamorphic Rocks: Slate, Gneiss, Hornfels, & Marble
• Rocks, Gems, and Minerals Guide – classroom set
• Google SlidesTypes of Rocks (Public) (UPDATED) 10/26/17
• Handouts for note-taking
• Types of Rocks (pdf)
• Igneous (pdf)
• Sedimentary (pdf)
• Metamorphic (pdf)
• Flashcards – print out and glue onto index cards (pdf)
• each student made their own set to keep
• Index cards with rock IDs on them
• 1 set per lab table
• Paper plates
• 12 plates with rock IDs
• additional plates: 1 set per table if not using index cards

Students will learn to identify & categorize 12 common rocks samples during this multi-day lesson. To introduce the unit, students are given the foundation of how rocks form and the three types of rocks: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.

Working with a partner and/or in small groups, they will research, handle, and compare the rock specimens and take careful notes at the different stations. Once their research is done, they will practice identifying the rock samples by creating and teaching each other different games using the rocks samples.

Some games the students played are:

• Sort the rocks into 3 piles: I, S, or M, who can do it the fastest?
• Rock races
• 2 students are given 6 rocks each to find and sort from the pile of 12
• can you find it? Name a rock and pick it from the pile
• Match the rock samples to the name of the rock
• Mis-match some of the rocks with their ID cards, can you figure out which ones are incorrect?
• Rock Quiz – creating questions from the index cards
• examples:
• Which rock is the only intrusive igneous rock?
• Which rock floats on water?
• Which one used to be limestone?

For more lessons related to Rocks & Minerals, be sure to visit my Earth Science Page (link).