Inflate the Balloon

Contributor
The Burlington Science Center, elementary teachers and specialists.
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon , Curriculum , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
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.

Reviews

Description

Students observe the addition of unidentified “mystery matter” (baking soda and vinegar) in a container. A balloon is stretched across the neck of the container and students observe what occurs. Students then create their initial model explaining their thinking about what is happening that allows the balloon to inflate.  The teacher observes students’ models, listens to students talk while they work, and raises questions about what was observed, assessing current knowledge, including misconceptions through notebook observations, descriptions and wonderings.

 

The second lesson of nine in a unit investigating matter and its properties, “Inflate the Balloon” provides an example of phenomenon driven instruction. Students are introduced to scientific concepts through the use of an anchoring phenomenon.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 5
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Limited free access - Some material is available for viewing and/or downloading but most material tends to be accessible through other means.

Performance Expectations

5-PS1-4 Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The performance expectation would be better aligned if students had the opportunity to actually conduct the investigation in small groups.

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 is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students observe changes to the liquid in the container and balloon as the powder is added and balloon expands. They are then instructed to construct an initial model of what is happening to the matter in the closed container/balloon system. After students have individually recorded their model in their notebooks, consider partnering them up and having them develop a consensus model on chart paper that they could return to and revise during the unit. These consensus models might be the basis for a scientists’ meeting. This would provide the teacher with another opportunity for formatively assessing students’ early understandings.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students might measure the circumference of the balloon when first put on the bottle and then again after they balloon inflates. Students could then make a claim supported by evidence that a new substance is made when two or more substances are mixed.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
To include measurements and meet the full practice, students might measure the circumference of a flat balloon before and then after the balloon has inflated providing quantitative evidence to the observation that the new matter (gaseous carbon dioxide) takes up space.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Carbon dioxide is formed when the baking soda and vinegar are mixed in this demonstration. Students should be explicitly encouraged to claim whether or not they think a new substance has been formed and what evidence they have to support their claim.

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students have a basic understanding of matter. One suggestion might be to ask students to somehow portray using words/pictures the meaning of matter before the demonstration and the the matter after the demonstration. These portraits of matter would provide a lens into students understanding about the particle size of the matter present.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The lesson has the teacher helping students to notice the small changes that are happening that students might otherwise miss. The crosscutting concept can become more explicit by being noticed and named as changes occur in the bottle when the chemical reaction begins to occur

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Facilitation of student discussion about the structure of the matter in their models (use of particles or something else) and the scale of these structures compared to what they are in the real world is critical to appropriately meeting this crosscutting concept while supporting student understanding of the value and limitations of models when it comes to scale.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: In this lesson students engage with the phenomena by making observations, making predictions, recording their ideas before and after the mixture is made. One way the resource can be more aligned would be if students observed the materials, brainstormed how they could explain the anchoring phenomenon and then actually do the investigation instead of observing a demonstration. Another suggestion is becoming more explicit about the volume of the liquid, solid and gas and how the spacing of their particles are different from one another as well as the cause and effect relationship between the mixture of new substances and whether or not a new substance has been formed as a result.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson provides opportunities for students to express, clarify, justify, interpret, and represent their ideas and respond to peer and teacher feedback orally as appropriate to support students’ three‐dimensional learning. Student instructional supports can be found at: http://bit.ly/BurlingtonScienceCenterGrade5Curriculum One suggestion would be the explicit inclusion of differentiation scaffolds and strategies such as the opportunity to record observations verbally for a student who struggles with writing.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This learning experience presents the teacher with many opportunities to include formative assessment. A teacher might make note of students’ observations or ideas during a scientist meeting. Another possibility includes the teacher circling the room and reading student work to gain perspective about current student understanding and misconceptions. This will allow teacher to address any misconceptions. Another suggestion might be the use of a rubric to look at science notebooks or a tool to assist with assessing science talk between student partners.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technological connection made.