The Amazing Elephant Toothpaste

Contributor
unknown
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon , 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 mixture of yeast, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide, creating a irreversible chemical change known as “elephant toothpaste.” Students then plan and conduct an investigation to determine how changes to the mixture affect the outcomes of the reaction. Students observe a new substance (oxygen) created when foam erupts out of the bottle, producing heat.

Intended Audience

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

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

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 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
In this lesson, teachers use this phenomenon and the subsequent investigations of the different quantities to discuss that a new substance has been formed as well as give students the opportunity to manipulate that mixture and reaction. One suggestion might be to begin with students watching a video clip of “elephant toothpaste” being made without sound. This might lead to a protocol around asking questions. Prior to watching a video displaying the making of elephant toothpaste, students might be primed with a picture http://macdiarmid.ac.nz/experiment-elephant-toothpaste/ and the driving question “How can we determine if elephant toothpaste is a new substance?

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 predict how changing the amounts of different ingredients might effect the reaction, then plan and conduct an investigation manipulating one of these variables. To further address this practice, the teacher might add discussion or modify the planning sheet to consider the number of trials and why scientists conduct multiple trials.

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Although questioning is addressed in this lesson, one suggestion is to do it earlier in the lesson after students have had an opportunity to watch a reaction and/or video clips of the reaction a few times. One suggestion is to watch the following youtube video’s first 4 seconds multiple times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5qvi20J5IM It is also recommended that teachers engage students in questioning by using the following protocol and engage in the Question Formulation Technique (http://rightquestion.org/education/)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students might begin this work by participating in a scientist meeting where they discuss some of the different ways they know a chemical change has occurred.

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
Students might be explicitly asked questions beginning with “If I do …… then…….. because ….. or asked to explain their understanding of elephants toothpaste in terms of cause of effect in their science notebooks.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The student has an opportunity to plan and conduct an investigation to determine how different quantities of a mixture affect a chemical change. They observe irreversible changes such as the creation of oxygen gas and the release of heat energy Although cause and effect are implicit in this lesson, tips to make it more explicit have been included. Additional suggestions: Begin with the phenomenon, include opportunities for students to ask questions, and finally students might go back to the driving question “Is the making of elephant toothpaste a chemical change? How do you know?”

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson provides opportunities to develop and use specific elements of the practice(s) to make sense of phenomena ii. Provides opportunities to develop and use specific elements of the disciplinary core idea(s) to make sense of phenomena . Making elephant toothpaste provides a meaningful context that includes phenomena, motivates students to engage in three‐dimensional learning. ii. Provides students with relevant phenomena (either firsthand experiences or through representations) to make sense of Tips have been included that address this issue: beginning with an anchoring phenomenon and driving questions and providing students opportunities to talk and discuss their ideas.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lab sheets in the lesson provide some evidence of formative assessment. Teacher might also formatively assess when students produce questions and initial observations of the phenomenon. An additional formative assessment might happen by listening carefully to suggested student discussion about physical and chemical changes. Independent and dependent variable and such are not expected to be articulated at this grade level.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not have an interactive technological component.