The Gobstoppers Science Experiment

    While I was looking for a way to let my students practice the Scientific Process, I came across The Gobstopper Experiment.  After getting the general idea, I tweaked the activity to fit my class.  The kids loved it and I was very pleased with the way they handled themselves in the "lab" setting.
     I put together a simple sheet of directions with four diagrams, which are a main part of the activity.  After reviewing what each student should do, they collected their materials, and began.  Here's what happened:
We started with dry candies and added a little water.

 Our candies started dissolving some of their color.

Here's what the dish looks like after about 5 minutes. Isn't that cool? The colors dissolve into triangle spaces. Here's why: Each candy has a waxy coating. As they begin to dissolve evenly, the waxy coating acts as a barrier. Shhhhh...see if the kids can guess what's happening!
After another 5 minutes, it begins to look like this...and eventually the petri dish was a mass of color.

We finished writing up our experiment and put it in our notebooks.

I really like this activity for several reasons:
     First, it's really inexpensive!  Less than a whole box of Gobstoppers served both of my classes.  I had eight petri dishes and we used the bottom half, but we could have used the top half if we'd needed to.
     Second, the directions and diagrams were simple to create.  Third, it was easy to see whether students could follow "lab" procedures correctly and follow directions correctly.
     Give it a try and let me know how it works!
Growing Grade By Grade
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