Hands-on Activity: Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Sweetness?
Educational Standards :
Pre-Req Knowledge (Return to Contents)
Ability to use a balance to find the mass of an object to at least the nearest 0.1 gram. It is helpful, but not essential, for students to be able to calculate percentages, for example, 4.2 is what percent of 14?
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this activity, students should be able to:
Materials List (Return to Contents)
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
(Present the same Introduction/Motivation as is provided in the associated lesson, which is reproduced below; no additional introduction is needed.)
Have you ever wonder why gum loses its sweetness so quickly? Why is that? Does it seems like the gum gets smaller after you chew it? (Listen to a few ideas from students.) I would like you to do an experiment to test a hypothesis I have. This is my hypothesis: Sugar contributes to gum's flavor, and during chewing, the sugar is lost, which makes the gum get smaller as it loses sweetness.
I will provide you with bubble gum and you will conduct the experiment. Are you ready? (Proceed to conduct the experiment.)
Procedure (Return to Contents)
Initial Experiment Procedure
Initial Experiment Discussion
Designing the Next Experiment
Safety Issues (Return to Contents)
Troubleshooting Tips (Return to Contents)
Some students may want to compare chewing gum to bubble gum, or compare different types of bubble gum. Since chewing gum and some types of bubble gum come in smaller sizes than the bubble gum used in the initial experiment, students may need to chew more than one piece in order to accurately determine the amount of mass lost during chewing. Advise students to start with quantities of gum that weigh at least 6 grams. Avoid very large wads of gum, however (see the Safety Issues section).
Expect lots of unstructured time while students chew gum for 15 minutes, so have a reading assignment or some other short task planned for students to work on while they are chewing.
Investigating Questions (Return to Contents)
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Poster Presentations: Have teams graph and analyze their experimental data, and present their results and conclusions in poster format to share with the rest of the class, as described in the Lesson Closure section of the associated lesson. Review their posters to gauge their comprehension of the material and concepts.
Written Wrap-Up: As a concluding assignment, ask students to write answers to the following questions:
Activity Extensions (Return to Contents)
If new questions arise from their experiments, have students design and conduct new experiments to answer them.
Activity Scaling (Return to Contents)
ContributorsMary R. Hebrank, project writer and consultant, Duke University
Copyright© 2004 by Engineering K-Ph.D. Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
including copyrighted works from other educational institutions and/or U.S. government agencies; all rights reserved.
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)Engineering K-Ph.D. Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
Acknowledgements (Return to Contents)
This lesson and its associated activity were originally published, in slightly modified form, by Duke University's Center for Inquiry Based Learning (CIBL). Please visit the website at http://www.ciblearning.org/ for information about CIBL and other resources for K-12 science and math teachers.
The basic idea and method of this lesson and activity, although much modified here, originated in an article by high school teacher Louis Gotlib that was published in a newsletter of the NC Science Teachers Association. "Finding the Percentage of Sugar in Gum" first appeared in NCSTA Teaching Notes #5, 1997.