Essential Questions: Is toothpaste a liquid or a solid? How can we find out?

Learning Goals:

  • Students apply their knowledge of solid and liquid properties to determine if toothpaste is a solid or a liquid. Students will add water to toothpaste and see what happens when the toothpaste is left to settle in the bottle and when the toothpaste is mixed by shaking in the water. They observe, describe and record their results.

Experiment Prerequisites:

  • Students should know the properties of solids and liquids.
  • Toothpaste
  • Recycled clear water bottles with screw top - 50ML of room temperature water*
  • Assessment Chart
  • Record Sheet

Experiment: (Students are in groups of 4)
1. Dialogue about possible answers to: Is toothpaste a liquid or a solid? How can we find out?
2. Students record "guess" or hypothesis on their record sheet.
3. One student from group measures two inches of toothpaste on their finger and puts toothpaste into container filled with water.
4. Students observe toothpaste to see what happens.
*Bottle of toothpaste is left for 1/2 hour.*
5. Students observe container of toothpaste and water and record what they see on their record sheet.
6. Each person in the group takes the bottle and shakes it for 5 seconds and then passes it to the next person to do same.
7. Students observe the toothpaste again and record their observations.
8. Is toothpaste a liquid or a solid based on your observations? Students note answer on their record sheet.
Note to KK & NC: On record sheet: ask if you used a different kind of toothpaste, would your results be the same? different? why or why not?

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