Author: Tony Gosmer
This module will provide an inquiry based investigation into the components of common chewing gum. Creating a better understanding of the sugar content and the polymeric properties.
This lesson is short but precise and poses some complex thoughts. The lesson is unique and tasty too. As an engagement strategy you simply state to the participants, "Who would like a piece of gum?"
Begin the professional development session with a simple question. "I have a piece of chewing gum. Could I have a volunteer come up and weigh the gum?"
The gum weighs 8 grams.
"If you were to put this piece of gum into my mouth and chew it for 5 minutes, what do you think it would weigh after 5 minutes of chewing?"
At this point have the participants write a short paragraph stating their hypothesis and supporting details.
While the volunteer is chewing, distribute gum to all participants and explain that they will follow a similar procedure to address the posed problem: weigh the gum, chew the gum for 5 minutes, then weigh the gum again.
Assessment: Be sure that participants understand the posed problem: determine the percent of sugar/artificial sweetener versus gum base in the chewing gum.
The data that the participants will be gathering will assist in supporting the original lesson procedures. (See lesson at: http://www.polymerambassadors.org/chewinggum.pdf
Arrange the participants in small groups of no more than 2 or 3. Have the groups develop a procedure or plan to determine the percent of sugar/artificial sweetener versus gum base in the chewing gum.
Encourage discussions within the groups to comparing data.
Assessment: Monitor the groups' work to be sure that they are recording data, discussing findings, and answering the posed problem.
The participants at this point will share-out their procedures and findings and be able to explain their findings. Conduct a discussion to address a few questions often posed to the gum chewing world:
Assessment: Assess groups through observation, participation final share-out. Teams can present findings using chart paper.
Discuss with participants some of the methods that teachers use in the science class. Have groups modify this lesson or design an inquiry lesson that can be easily administered in their classrooms.
Assessment: Check that the lesson plans are faithful to inquiry teaching methods.
The participants will have an opportunity to explore a typical piece of chewing gum using inquiry skills. They will explore the physical components that compose the gum and relate these components to the study of polymers.
Content, Technology, and Professional Development:
Content Standard B: Physical Science; Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science
N Professional Development Standards:
1 class period or approximately 45 minutes.
Locate a variety of chewing gums. Include gums with both natural sugar and artificial sweeteners, in order to compare the results.
Organize the participants in small groups of no more than 2 or 3. You will need one scale per team.
Have a supply of paper towels and/or liquid hand sanitizer.
You may choose to include wet wipe type napkins as well.
Stress to the participants to be conscious of proper gum disposal. Have waste containers available.
Ask participants (orally or in writing) to contrast teaching science by inquiry with other common methods, like expository teaching, conducting a demonstration, or cooperative learning.
Chewing gum is about 75% sugars and 25% gum base.
Science journals that feature gum:
For interesting gum facts see: http://science.howstuffworks.com/question86.htm
Chewing gum improves memory: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2039
How gum is made: http://www.bubblegum.com
History of chewing gum: http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story056.htm
Who was the first person to chew gum? http://www.nacgm.org/consumer/storyof.html
Ohaus Balance and Scales-Determine the percentage of sugar in chewing gum: http://www.ohaus.com/products/education/masstracker/302index.asp
Glee Gum, Make your own chewing gum kits: http://www.gleegum.com/make-gum-kit.htm
Stupid gum tricks and gum stories: http://members.iglou.com/bandit/gum.html
None available for this module.
See the links in the Explanation of Science section for ideas.
Take into consideration the diverse learning styles teachers as well as students have. Consider that you may have technical/confluent learners as well as precise/sequential learners of a variety of backgrounds. All of which interpret and process differently.
None available for this module.
Student Lesson Written by Mary Harris, Missouri Polymer Ambassador and Wayne Goates, Kansas Polymer Ambassador
Polymer Ambassador site: http://www.polymerambassadors.org/