Minerals In Toothpaste (Part 2/2)

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SWBAT determine which brands of toothpaste, and which minerals, are most effective in removing a stain from ceramic tiles and porcelain.

Big Idea

As the demand for minerals increases, students begin to understand why minerals are important to our everyday lives.

Bell Ringer - Vocabulary Jig Saw

5 minutes

Vocabulary Jig Saw

To prepare students for new vocabulary terms used in this experiment, I pre-assign them to (RST.6-8.4) define, describe, and draw about one domain-specific term and present that to the class during the Bell Ringer. Vocabulary words include: active ingredient, abrasive, prediction, plaque, tooth decay, non-renewable resource, minerals, mining. Given a blank sheet of paper, I ask each student should write and draw about the term. They could include a definition, examples, facts, synonyms, antonyms, and pictures/drawings.

I ask students to take 30 seconds to turn and talk to their partner about their word and definition, asking them to share what they wrote. I ask groups of students to decide which of them will be the one to share out that information to the class. Then, I Whip Around the room and have one group at a time share their word and other information. This gives all students an opportunity to hear and learn about the other vocabulary words. The goal is for students to understand and increase their precise science vocabulary as they speak and write in class.

Experiment: Which Brand Of Toothpaste?

30 minutes

Which brand of toothpaste is most effective in removing a stain from ceramic tiles and porcelain?

This lesson focuses on a variety of NGSS Science & Engineering Practices including: SP#1 asking questions, SP#3 carrying out an investigation, SP#4 analyzing & interpreting data, SP#8 obtaining, evaluating, & communicating information. As students go through the steps of the scientific method, these practices are incorporated into a lab experience.

The NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts addressed in the lesson are CCC#1 Patterns as students observe patterns in matter, this guides their organization and classification of matter. CCC#6 Structure & Function students understand the way in which an object is shaped and its substructure determine its properties & functions. During this investigation, students will observe patterns in matter as well as matter's structure and function

Students begin to work towards mastery of the Earth Science Standard MS-ESS3-3 which states students will apply the scientific method principles to design a method for monitoring & minimizing a human impact (mining) on the environment.

My goal for this learning experience is to have students work independently through the experiment. I ask students to work with their partner to complete Steps 1-3 of the Scientific Method on their Minerals in Toothpaste worksheet. I bring the class back together and take one minute to share 2-3 student written hypothesis. It is important that students hear other student thoughts and this a good opportunity to share information.

I guide students to independently complete Steps #4-5 of the scientific method for the experiment. During this time, I circulate the classroom, checking on student work, guiding student progress, and clarifying any misconceptions.

Note: I want to give credit to Caterpillar, a company committed to teaching others about the importance of mining in our world. The website mining.cat.com is a free, reliable, easily accessible resource.


5 minutes

I learned that . . . because . . .

As with any experiment, sometimes students have success and sometimes they don't, but that ok. This provides opportunity to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and changes that could be made to the experiment. This step is very important for students to "come full circle."

Take 1-2 minutes for students to process the question (What brand of toothpaste is most effective in removing a stain from ceramic tiles and porcelain?) and discuss a possible conclusion. I want students to (SP#6) construct explanations of phenomena from their observations so they can (SP#7) engage in argument from evidence. This will be evident when students collaborate with their peers in searching for the best explanation.

I give students a sentence starter to help with the writing process, for example:  I learned that . . .because. . .  After students have had time to write, take 2 minutes to share answers with the class so students can hear other student thoughts. During this time, I facilitate a group conversation by encouraging students to use Discussion Moves to share their ideas. I ask the class "Who will start?" and then let the conversation flow. I point to students to indicate who is up next.