Sweet & Sour

Room 12 experienced that science is fun. As a follow up to our ‘In My Words’ collaborative inquiry, where we did some Home Science activities, I requested the use of the Science Box: Sweet & Sour. Inside this box were activities that students could carry out with teacher support.


Setting up the equipment

Science Box: Sweet & Sour

1. Making Sherbet

Learning Objectives:

Material World: Curriculum Level 1 -

  • Students explore and investigate chemical reactions in an everyday situation.

Nature of Science: Students explore, play, make things and discuss simple reactions. Students communicate about their own and other’s observations and experiences.

Students follow instructions and mix ingredients.

Individual bags were provided for each student to make their own sherbet. This also provided an authentic learning task to revise fractions. Just how do you measure ½ a teaspoon and ¼ of a teaspoon?


How do you measure 1/2 teaspoon?


Enthusiastic shaking ingredients to mix

I liked making the sherbet because it was fun and easy. I measured the spoon in ½ and then the first part I measured in ½ again and I found the tip was ¼. Lily


The faces say it all


Experiencing a chemical reaction


Stella's fizzing tongue

We discussed what changes to the amounts of chemicals used would make the sherbet sweeter, fizzier or more sour. What chemicals were making the fizzing on the tongue? Did saliva have anything to do with the reaction? The next time the students buy a packet of sour lollies they are going to read the list of ingredients and see if any are the same as in the sherbet.

2a. pH and indicators

Learning Objectives

Material World: Curriculum Level 2 -

  • Students seek and describe simple patterns in physical phenomena, they observe, describe and compare properties of common materials and changes that occur and they relate the observed characteristic properties of different materials.

Students follow instructions. Students explore colour changes as a result of pH and make links between the colour of an indicator and the pH of the substance.

The instruction was to place a small amount of the chemical on the spoon and add a few drops of water if the chemical was a powder. Next, they were to place ¼ of a piece of pH paper onto the spoon. Then they were to look at the pH paper’s colour and match it to the corresponding pH on the chart. Great excitement occurred in Room 12  as the pH paper turned shades of orange, yellow, green, and blue. Correspondingly, as the excitement grew so did the amount of chemical placed on the spoon. This demonstrated the ‘more is better’ principle.


Exploring changes


Checking the pH colour

2b. Make Your Own Indicator

Rip cabbage into very small pieces and cover with very hot water. Squeeze contents of bag gently for 10 minutes. Pour a little bit of the fluid in the bag into the test tubes. You have now made an indicator.

Add different chemicals to the test tubes to see what colour the indicator is with an acid, base or neutral solution.


Squeezing the cabbage


Concentration and careful pouring

I liked making the cabbage bags because it was fun. The water changed from clear to purple. Sofie

I liked when me and Bella were testing in the tubes with the cabbage water we made. Bella and I were experimenting and when we added the baking soda to the pink cabbage water it exploded. The cabbage water had turned pink because we added vinegar to the purple cabbage water. Evie

These chemical changes caused even more excitement in the room. Soon there were fizzing test tubes everywhere. The students have previously experienced vinegar and baking soda volcanoes in the sandpit. Having the same reaction occur in a test tube was a whole new experience. It was great to see the experimentation with different chemical combinations and the sharing of their excitement over their discoveries with their classmates. Watch this space as more Science Boxes have been ordered.


Keywords: inquiry, purposeful play, observe, describe, compare, discuss

Attributed to: Science Box

5. Experiencing a chemical reaction