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Analyzing Root Beer Floats (1 Favorite)

ACTIVITY in Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Matter. Last updated May 24, 2017.


Summary

In this activity students will observe the states of matter while making a root beer float. They will also discover the differences between a solid, a liquid and a gas.

Grade Level

Elementary School

Objectives

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Understand what chemical and physical changes occur when ice cream is added to root beer as it relates to the states of matter.
  • Identify and describe the physical properties of matter in its various states.
  • Distinguish between the states of matter, and give examples of each.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of

  • States of matter
  • Physical Properties
  • Physical change
  • Chemical change

Time

Teacher Preparation: 15 minutes

Lesson: 1 hour

Materials

  • Root beer (8 cups in each 2 liter bottle)
  • Vanilla ice cream (1 gallon=32 scoops)
  • 1 cup measuring cups, 1 per group
  • Ice cream scoop, 1 per group
  • Plastic cups, 1 per student
  • Straws, 1 per student

Safety

  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
  • This activity is suitable for Grade levels 1-5

Teacher Notes

  • This activity is suitable for Grade levels 1-5
  • Depending on student’s age you may want to pre-scoop ice cream into another container.
  • Brain pop Jr. has these helpful video to introduce the concepts of physical and chemical changes as well as the states of matter.
  • Introduce lesson: Indicate to students that they will observe 3 states of matter today. Discuss the differences of solids, liquids, and gases. Explain chemical and physical changes. Physical changes can happen when matter changes size, shape, or form. After a substance goes through a chemical change, it becomes a different substance.
  • Introduce Vocabulary:
    • Physical change: matter changes size, shape, or form.
    • Chemical change: a substance becomes a different substance.
    • Physical properties: used to observe and describe matter.
    • Solid: has a definite shape and volume.
    • Liquid: has a definite volume but it takes the shape of a container.
    • Gas: fills the entire volume of a container.
  • Depending on the age of the students, you may want to discuss the pre-lab questions as a class or ask students to complete them independently.
  • Procedure:
    • Create an anchor chart with the students after discussing the differences in solids, liquids, and gases. (Draw a melting/evaporating ice cube and ask them to help you label each state)
    • Have students make a drawing of their cups or give them the student worksheet. Tell them they will be recording their results/labeling and adding things to the picture of the cup as we complete the activity.
    • Before you begin make sure that students remember to pour slowly because of the bubbles that will be created. Also make sure to set up paper towels for accidents-This part can get messy.
    • Have the student’s take turns measuring 1 cup of root beer and pour ½ of it into cup. Discuss what physical properties make the root beer a liquid. Have them draw and label the liquid on their picture.
    • Have students discuss what physical properties make the ice cream a solid. Then have them add two scoops of ice cream. Depending on the students age you may want to have extra help with this if possible or pre-scoop the ice cream so that they can just add it to the cup. Have them draw and label the solid on their picture.
    • Have them slowly add more root beer to the cup and observe what happens.
    • Discuss what physical properties make the foam a gas. Have them draw and label the gas on their picture.
    • What is produced? Is this a physical or chemical change? It is a chemical change, because a new substance (the gas) was formed and cannot easily be separated.
    • Students can drink their floats while they discuss the activity. Afterwards, have the students write an explanation as to what has changes occurred and why.
      • Note: Ice cream = solid; Root beer = liquid; Air bubbles = gas

For the Student

Background

Physical changes can happen when matter changes size, shape, or form. After a substance goes through a chemical change, it becomes a different substance.

Pre-lab Questions

  • What are some examples of physical and chemical changes?
  • What are some examples of a solid? A liquid? A gas?

CaptureProcedure

  1. You will observe, draw, and label the solid, liquid, and gas produced while making a root beer float. Follow your teacher’s directions to make the root beer float.
  2. Enjoy your float while you discuss what happened with your group.
  3. Write a brief explanation about what occurred and why.
  4. Describe the physical properties of matter in its various states.

State of Matter

Physical Properties

Solid

Liquid

Gas