Sometimes you need a chemistry or biology lab or a hands on mathematics activity and you just aren't in a place where a lab is available that’s on topic (electron configurations, for example). But it's got to be real science and math as well, not just something that's fun. This activity is quick to set up and generates lots of student conversation. You can even use it in lower grades if students know how to calculate percent.
Students will determine what percentage of a piece of gum is made up of sugars. (Dubble Bubble is readily available in grocery stores and is inexpensive. $5 gets you 138 pieces.) All you need are balances and a bag of gum. It’s easy to control (less mess than you’d think), generates lots of conversation between students, and uses the concept of moles and molecules if you’ve gotten to that point as an extension. This collection Includes a non-chemistry version to use in a math class with the focus on percent composition.
You get a power point with information about chewing gum to drive the activity, student hand outs, student data tables if you use a lab book, and teacher instructions that include ways to manage the mess so that it never happens. :)
Keywords: chemistry, percent composition, empirical formula, error, deviation, significant digits, uncertainty, experiment, laboratory, lab, activity, sugar, sugars, dissolve, solution, balance, mass.