This lab will wow kids! When they dip the soap covered Q-tip in the milk and food dye it makes an amazing pattern like magic! The students have no idea why, but it engages them in a way that makes them want to know the science of why the food dye moves and creates a pattern. A major component in NGSS is using phenomena to engage kids and this lab has got it! After observing the movement of the food dye, the students create a model to try and explain why it moves. Developing and using models to try and explain phenomena is another very important and powerful component of NGGS.
I start by telling the students we are doing this lab a little differently. I tell them that they don’t know what will happen and probably won’t know why. I model how to do the lab, go over what materials they need and away they go! Modeling and conducting the lab only takes about 20-30 minutes.
I give them about 30 minutes to do the definitions and make their model/diagram. After that we have a class discussion about why they think the food dye moved. Some students actually get it right and it really boosts their confidence in science. It’s much more powerful than the teacher using a PowerPoint and lecture.
I then give them the “Post Lab Reading”. It’s a two paragraph scientific explanation of why the dye moves. They now can revise their model. Model revisions are one of the most important parts of developing and using models because it adds a major metacognitive part to the activity. Doing the definitions, making their first model and then revising their model takes another 30-40 minutes.
Thank you so much!
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