Creating Little Investigators

Jennifer Sinsel, contributor to Lesson Planet and elementary math/science teacher, has shared an exciting science lesson that incorporates chemistry and forensic science techniques! Not only will your students learn about scientific properties, making careful observations, and explore chemical substances, they'll have a blast doing it! Phase I: Chemistry Experiment

Because all children love to mix things in order to 'see what will happen', Sinsel suggests directing this curiosity into a constructive chemistry experiment where students must use the power of observation to determine how several powders are similar and how they are different.

Powders to be tested:
- Flour
- Baking soda
- Salt
- Sugar
- Corn starch
- Baby powder

Elements to observe:
- Color
- Texture
- Reaction to water
- Reaction to vinegar
- Reaction to iodine

Have your students, divided into groups of three or four, observe each of these elements and complete a chart of the results.

Phase II: Putting the Experiment to Work

The following day, have your students enter the classroom to find a 'crime scene'. After briefing them on what happened and giving them a list of prime 'suspects', tell them that the only evidence left behind was a strange white powder and that it is up to them to solve the mystery. Provide each group with a worksheet that provides a place to document the results of evidence testing and room for an official statement on who the perpetrator is. For older, more advanced students, you may even decide to mix powders. Be sure to read Sinsel's post for the full details!

Science Lessons that Create the Right Chemistry!