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Bubbles and Colors and Smells...Oh My! Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will conduct several investigations to help them to understand the differences between chemical and physical changes. Students will record investigative observations and use their observations to provide evidence that a physical or a chemical change has occurred.


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Four 50-minute class periods
2-4 students
PTI Inquiry
1.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7, 5.2, 5.4, 7.2, 7.3
Lesson Components Time Inquiry Skills Tech. Used Engage Level Brief Description
Engage 20 min 1.3, 5.2 lab equipment 2 The teacher will conduct the elephant's toothpaste demonstration. Students will use prior knowledge to defend their claim that the demonstration was a physical or a chemical change.
Explore 90 min 1.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7 timer and lab equipment 3 Students will work in groups of 2 to 4 to explore how substances react with other substances to produce chemical changes, and how other substances do not react but their physical properties may change.
Explain 45 min 5.2, 5.4, 7.2 none 2 Students will share answers on the previous activities. They will discuss whether physical and chemical changes took place.
Expand 50 min 1.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7, 5.2, 5.4, 7.2 none 3 Students will work in teams of 3 or 4 to identify unknown substances based on their reactivity
Evaluate 45 min 7.3 none 2 Students will review their learning using the Inside-outside circle technique. The teacher will monitor and evaluate the student discourse. The teacher can also use a 6 questions summative assessment.

Level of Student Engagement

1 Low Listen to lecture, observe the teacher, individual reading, teacher demonstration, teacher-centered instruction
2 Medium Raise questions, lecture with discussion, record data, make predictions, technology interaction with assistance
3 High Hands-on activity or inquiry; critique others, draw conclusions, make connections, problem-solve, student-centered

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