Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Solutions Lab - Section 3: Student Activity (Lab)


Almost any kid has experience pouring sugar into some liquid to make it taste better. This activity is not about experiencing something new, but rather working with new vocabulary (solute, solvent, solution) to perform a familiar task. I explain to my students that the sugar we are using is not to be thought of as a food, but rather as a chemical. I let them know that the sugar is very old and that I cannot guarantee their health if they where to consume it, but as a chemical it is an excellent representation of a covalently bonded molecule.

To bridge this activity to a familiar reference we discuss how they might have added sugar to their breakfast cereal. When no one was looking, they may have added additional spoonfuls of sugar to the point that when they are finished with the cereal there was a sludge at the bottom of the bowl. Most students can relate to this experience. Framing this activity using new vocabulary (solute, solvent, solution) adds an element of excitement that allows for new experiences and learning.

  Simplicity hides a deeper learning goal
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Simplicity hides a deeper learning goal
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Solutions Lab

Unit 9: Solutions
Lesson 1 of 3

Objective: Students will be able to gain practical experience working with a solute, solvent, and a solution.

Big Idea: Solutions are made of a tiny bit of solute and a large quantity of solvent. In this lab your students will dissolve sugar (solute) into water (solvent) to make sugar water (solution). Practical experience helps reenforce these concepts.

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  55 minutes
sugar solution
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