I begin the lesson by asking students to think about our mystery liquid; soda. I ask students to consider how often they drink soda and how much soda they drink in one year. I record student predictions about the amount of soda they consume on the white board.
I then ask students to read an article about soda consumption. This helps students to build background knowledge that will help them draw conclusions later in the day's lab.
I provide each student with a copy of the food chemistry experiment outline. I inform the students that they will be working with their science teams to test soda for the presence of all four nutrients we studied in the food chemistry unit (starch, glucose, fat, and protein). Since the students worked on a similar experiment in the previous day's lesson, I inform them that they will conduct this lab with the help of only their peers. This exercise helps students to improve their science lab skills and to independently create predictions, procedures, results tables, and conclusions. Since my students are assessed on these skills in the fifth grade, I build in many opportunities for students to create and conduct labs without adult help.
I provide students with materials and supervision during their work time.
To conclude the day's lesson, I use a grouping strategy to get students working with new peer partners to share their conclusions. I ask each group to select one student to receive a red star sticker, a yellow star sticker, a green star sticker, and a blue star sticker. I ask the students to put their star stickers on the cover of their science journals. I then ask all of the people with a red star to move to one table and continue this process for each sticker color. This strategy ensures that students are mixed into new groups quickly and evenly.
When students are seated at their new tables, I ask them to take turns reading their conclusions to one another. I ask the students to think about what made a conclusion stand out and to compare their work to that of their peers.
In the final minute of instructional time, I ask students to write a brief reflection of what they could do in the future to improve their conclusion writing. This helps students set future goals and holds them accountable for listening carefully to the work of their peers.