Solving Dissolving

Kevin Beals
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Informative Text
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



"Solving Dissolving" is a text that introduces and explains the concept of dissolving. Knowing that making lemonade, Kool-Aid or salt water is something many children do, the book provides evidence that the sugar or salt is still there and describes what the remaining sugar or salt might look like if we could see the tiny sugar particles. This resource should be used in conjunction with investigations to deepen students understanding about what happens to some substances when mixed with water. Its Lexile Level is K/630.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
  • Elementary School
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

5-PS1-1 Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.

Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence could include adding air to expand a basketball, compressing air in a syringe, dissolving sugar in water, and evaporating salt water.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the atomic-scale mechanism of evaporation and condensation or defining the unseen particles.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
A suggested use of this text would be to read about the process of dissolving after students have had multiple experiences of adding substances to a different liquids and observing the process. Prior to reading this book, students should have had opportunities to explore adding different substances to water and observing, recording and talking about what happened. The book Solving and Dissolving is best used to help students gain additional information beyond their experiences. Another suggestion might be to use the chapter heading in the book as questions that students can respond to using evidence from their previous investigations. They might then read the passage and evaluate the information based on the evidence they have gathered. After students have done all of this they might create an explanatory model sharing their current understanding of the process of dissolving.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students could be asked to consider both their investigations and the information gathered from the book and asked to write a claim with supporting evidence that comes from both sources in their notebook.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students might be asked to participate in a science talk, where they students engage in student to student discourse answering the question “What are some of the other ways they might provide evidence matter still existed “ The teacher carefully listens to the discourse for potential misconceptions and can then make instructional decisions based on what is said.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students might read the text with partners and identify all examples of cause and effect they can find. They might record their ideas on a T-chart . Students might be asked to write and explanation of what is going on using “cause and effect” in their claim. For example, “Salt appears to disappears when it is mixed in water because __________________________” Students might be encouraged to extend their investigations to answer the question posed in the text “How Much Will Dissolve?” Having students engage in this investigation allows them to address the crosscutting concept Scale, Proportion and Quantity. An additional crosscutting concept scale, proportion and quantity might be considered by questions such as “Does the amount of salt or sugar added to the water make a difference? “

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: When the tips are implemented this resource becomes more closely aligned. They disciplinary core idea and some of the practices are implicitly included in this text. Instruction becomes three-dimensional through the integration of this resource into student learning.

  • Instructional Supports: There is a glossary and visuals used to support the reader of the text. The teacher would need to make accommodations as necessary for making the text accessible to all students. This might include multiple readings, doing a “close read “ with all or some of the students. This resource supports the science and engineering practice of obtaining information from books to explain phenomena. It uses scientifically accurate information and representations to support students’ learning.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Although this resource does not include any formative assessment measures, one tip might be to have students complete the Sugar Water probe by Page Keeley prior to reading and then again after reading. This way the teacher would have an indicator of student learning after using this resource. As the students are reading or discussing the text there would be many other opportunities to check in on their learning using other formative assessment strategies.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There is no technological component to this resource.