In first grade, students are beginning to conduct simple experiments and to learn about the scientific method, including making a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, recording data and making a conclusion based on data. Science experiments are meant to be simple but to lay the groundwork for more advanced scientific inquiry in later grades. Bubble gum offers some options for experiments that are simple enough for first graders to begin practicing the scientific method while having fun.
Bubble Gum Colors
Give students two different colors of bubble gum. Choose colors that are bright and distinct, such as red and white or blue and yellow. Avoid colors that are similar, such as orange and pink.
Instruct students to develop a hypothesis about what color they think the gum will be after they chew both pieces together. Ask them to write their hypothesis on their paper, or lab report.
Tell students to chew the two pieces of gum thoroughly -- at least for two minutes. If you have a limited supply of gum, assign one student in each group to chew the gum. Students can rotate on subsequent experiments.
Ask students to take the gum out of their mouths and note what color it has become. Talk about primary and secondary colors and how this effect is produced.
Ask students to make a hypothesis about what color would be produced from other combinations based on their data. If you have time and materials, repeat the experiment to test the new hypothesis.
Bubble Gum Bubbles
Give each student group at least five different types of bubble gum. Be sure the gum is bubble gum and not chewing gum, which will not blow large bubbles.
Ask students to make a hypothesis about which brand they think will blow the largest bubbles and then write it on their lab report.
Instruct one student in each group to chew the first piece of gum for at least two minutes and then try to blow the largest bubbles possible with it. Another student should be responsible for measuring the bubble with a ruler while another student writes down the measurement. This also teaches first graders about length, which is one of the standards for the year's curriculum.
Tell students to repeat these steps for each brand of gum.
Ask students to reach a conclusion about why a specific brand was able to blow bubbles bigger than the other brands. First graders won't be able to talk about specific chemicals in the gum, but they should be able to make a conclusion about the ingredients in the gum being responsible.
- ['5 types of bubble gum in various flavors', 'Ruler for each group or pairing of students', 'Notebook paper', 'Pencils']
Instruct students with long hair to pull it back with a hair tie.
Keep paper towels, water and soap on hand in case students get gum on their hands or face.
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