Using Properties of Water to Find a Venom Antidote

Using Properties of Water to Find a Venom Antidote
Using Properties of Water to Find a Venom Antidote
Using Properties of Water to Find a Venom Antidote
Using Properties of Water to Find a Venom Antidote
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Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, this lab requires students to discover the antidote to a venomous hornet sting. Students must work cooperatively under a time constraint in order to discover which of two liquids are the antidote. They design, and carry out, four mini-experiments using household materials, and their knowledge of the properties of water, in order to ascertain the antidote. They must justify their claim for which liquid is the antidote using evidence from their investigation.

The lab also comes with a worksheet that requires students to answer interesting about properties of water. Students have to apply their knowledge, and describe the phenomena using important terminology. Video links are provided, which illustrate each concept in an interesting, accessible way.

My student LOVE this lab. It can be used as a mini-lab or a summative assessment.

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A FREE worksheet on the properties of water can be found here, which can enhance their understanding of the topic: Application Worksheet on The Properties of Water

Like this lab? Click below to see a NGSS lab that has students test mixtures, and design an armor vest based on their results. My students love the lab!

Buy the lab here: Test Mixtures to Engineer a Bio-Armor Suit

Details Below:

DCI’s: LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change

Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Developing and Using Models
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


Prior Knowledge: Typically, a day or two before this lab, I give students tin foil, wax paper, and a dropper to play around with. They record their results, and then we discuss cohesion, adhesion, capillary action, water as the universal solvent, etc. If they have no prior knowledge of the properties of water, and how they should observe them, then they will likely have a lot of trouble. Before they start, check to make sure they know that the Antidote is polar, and the poison is nonpolar.

Implementing the Lesson:

Materials and Setup: Students will get on "pack" of materials for their table. Refer to the list below. This list will serve ONE LAB TABLE of three or four students.
1. Prepare the nonpolar "poison" liquid - around 200 ml of corn oil per class (each group only need about 25 ml)
2. Prepare the polar "antidote" - 5 drops of yellow food dye in 1L of water (~25 ml per group)
(label one "liquid A", and the other "Liquid B", and make sure they label their containers with "A" and "B".

In each "pack": I use those long rectangular "leftover food" storage containers. A shoebox could substitute. In that "pack", they can find:
A. “Gatorade” (one Poland spring bottle filled near top with 5 drops blue food coloring) - separates in corn oil, turns green in yellow water
B. 2 droppers (might use disposable pipettes)
C. A small square of wax paper (3x3 in) - to demonstrate cohesion of antidote
D. A small square of paper that gives hints to students about the materials (find below).
E. 2 paper towel strips (1 in x 4 in) - for capillary action of antidote
F. 2 Salt packets - universal solvent of polar antidote
G. 2 small containers (150 ml beakers, or Dixie cups) for retrieving both yellow liquids
H. 2 stir rods.

Have students look at part A, B, C, and D in the incident report found below. Each letter asks them to demonstrate a particular property of water. This should guide their decision. A great part about this lab is that students are supposed to be resourceful, and figure out how to demonstrate the properties of water, meaning you can add or substitute any of the materials; it is up to you.
1. Anticipatory Set: I usually show students an image of a coral snake (venomous) and milk snake (non-venomous). They look very similar; and this example lends itself to a discussion of mimicry (which will be relevant in this lab).

2. The Lesson itself does not take very long (approximately 30 minutes). I often put a countdown timer on the board to when their colleague becomes seriously sick from the hornet sting (25 mins for example). Often, I have students complete this FREE worksheet that I created, either before or after this lab:

3.REMIND STUDENTS TO NEVER INGEST ANYTHING IN LAB; EVER. During the lab, I walk around the room and may nudge students in the right direction using questioning. Remind them to use the incident report to guide their investigation. The purpose is to have them solve the problem, so I do not suggest giving them the answers.

4. They don't have to fully complete the incident report with the 25-30 minutes, but they do have to decide which liquid is the polar antidote, and verbally justify it to me, walking through each test they performed. After that, I have them thoroughly describe the steps they took, and their results in the Incident Report found below. This should include why one liquid is the antidote, and why the other is not.

5. This lab can serve as a reinforcement activity, an alternative summative assessment, or a group grade (make one student the recorder, and have them hand in one Incident Report per group). It lends itself to a variety of options for assessment.

Terms of Use
• All pages are copyrighted.
• This packet is 1 classroom/teacher use only. Do not make copies or
email it to your colleagues. This was designed by me and is for your
personal (one user)use. You may
not share it or claim it as your own. You may not redistribute it.
If colleagues are interested in it, please send them the link to my store:
• You are not permitted to use any part of this work to
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• You are permitted to share the cover image of the packet
on your website when referring to it in a post, as long as
you link back to my store.
Copyright © 2017 Michael Kelly
All rights reserved by author.
Total Pages
13 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
40 minutes
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