Investigate kitchen ingredients (salt, flour, baking soda, corn starch, corn syrup) to make and test glue recipes.
Science and Kids Activities creators, Karen Ostlund and Sheryl Mercier combine to write and illustrate scaffolded inquiry engineering lessons for intermediate grades.
In this series of 5 NGSS activities/assessments students generate and compare multiple solutions for making strong glue based on evidence gathered from testing various common kitchen ingredients. “Science Notes” are included so students can research the properties of each ingredient. They also test multiple design solutions to making strong glue and share their results with peers. Finally, students develop a design solution for making strong glue based on criteria and constraints.
Next Generation Science Standards Addressed:
3-5-ETS1 Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.
• Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design problem.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
• Research on a problem should be carried out before beginning to design a solution. Testing a solution involves investigating how well it performs under a range of likely conditions.
• At whatever stage, communicating with peers about proposed solutions in an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs.
Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World
• Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase the benefits, decrease known risks, and meet societal demands.
1. Explore: Sticking to Inquiry
Students brainstorm types of glue, uses for glue, and the criteria for a good glue. Next, they investigate 4 ingredients (salt, flour, cornstarch, and baking soda) to determine which would make strong glue. Then they write about the evidence (observations) that an ingredient would make strong glue.
2. Directed Inquiry: Sticking to Inquiry
Students investigate what ingredients (flour, cornstarch, corn syrup, and gelatin) can be mixed with water to make strong glue. Next, they complete a “Cause and Effect” chart to analyze their evidence (observations). Then they synthesize data from their investigations and read, “Science Notes,” to gather additional evidence of strong glue properties.
3. Guided Inquiry: Sticking to Inquiry
Students investigate ingredients to find out which ones can be mixed together make strong glue.
4. Connected Inquiry: Sticking to Inquiry
Students are guided through a process to learn how to compose questions that can be answered by conducting tests.
5. Full/Open Engineering Design
Students use the results of their investigations to determine what ingredients to use to make strong glue. They write the problem they would solve and design a way to test their glue for desired properties. Finally, students conduct tests, analyze their results, and reveal their design solutions to the problem of making strong glue.