Phase Change

Today the students explored phase change using hot water, cold water, and M&M’s. They kicked things off by writing down the differences between melting and dissolving. Then, they got two cups and two pieces of foil. They made little foil boats to float in the cups by pressing the foil between the two cups. Next, they put boiling water in one cup and ice water in the other. One M&M went into the water and a second was put on the foil boat. They set both cups aside to let the water and air temperatures work their magic. While they waited, they all worked together on a phase change diagram. The diagram included a picture of how close together the molecules are in each phase, phase characteristics, and the names for each change (i.e. solid to liquid is melting). They also talked about examples of each change.  Then, they wrapped things up by filling out a table of the phase changes that each M&M experienced. It was a fairly simple activity, but all of the students were actively engaged. They were great at coming up with the phase change examples and there were some good discussions on what exactly had happened to each M&M. It was a fairly simple activity, but I think it will help the phase change information stick. Plus, not a single student ate the M&M’s they were working with today. It might be a small victory, but I’ll take it!

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About Sarah Schmidt

I am a PhD candidate in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Kansas. I study prairie rivers and I am especially interested in algal communities and using lipids to explore food webs.
This entry was posted in 2011-2012 GK12, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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