The Ultimate Fizzby: Mary Heckscher

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Many recipes for elementary science activities suggest making carbon dioxide from baking soda and vinegar; however, they often do not give exact measurements of the ingredients. The author was able to turn this “drawback” into a plus by challenging her fifth-grade students to find the ultimate fizz—i.,e., “What amount of baking soda added to a set amount of vineagar gives the maximum reaction without having leftover baking soda?” As students investigated this question with enthusiasm, graphing and measurement skills developed in the process.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (5)
  • on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:04 PM

After I read this article, I learned that students should need practice to analyze data and make graphs. When they are doing experiments, they will develop their graphing and measurement skills in the process. The author used the classic elementary science example of a chemical change to be a hook. Therefore, students will be interested in this experiment to do the measurements. It is a good idea that starting with students’ familiar and interested thing to encourage students to explore the science. When students see that the soda mix vinegar, they will feel excited and impressed. Then students do the test and record the results of each time experiment to make a graph. They can do this step individually or in a group. Then, they discuss their results and analyze the data to get their answers. “This lesson demonstrates to the students the importance of using math in analyzing the results of a science experiment.” (Heckscher, 2008, p.27) Thus, this lesson is very important. In my future class, I will use the same lab to motivate students to participate into class activity. I like to let students explore the lesson first and conclude their own ideas. Teachers can record students lab and give them suggestions to help hem become better.

Yu Ni
Yu Ni

  • on Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 PM

I like this article and the lesson plan that it provided. It's a standard elementary school chemistry lesson in which baking soda is combined with vinegar. It demonstrates a chemical reaction and gives the students a sensory experience. They can see, hear, and even smell it. Great for young scientists.

Samantha Brent
Samantha Brent

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:21 PM

After reading this article by Mary Hecksher, I was curious how some of these activities would work with my daycare students. It would be nice to test them out before I am in the full swing of teaching. This artile encouraged students to push themselves further and think outside of the box! Also, this article is a great tool for teachers because it gives detailed instructions, an activity, a table to record date, and discussion questions for the class to talk about! This is a good tool to use when teaching your students about physical science.

Caroline Bellant
Caroline Bellant

  • on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:06 PM

I was interested in reviewing one resource I had came acrossed called The Ultimate Fizz by: Mary Heckscher. This was a lesson planned for fifth graders so they could explore the baking soda and vinegar reaction and practice their graphing and measurement skills. In the beginning of this journal article, the author really explains why she chose to conduct this lesson the way she has. She also explains what knowledge students should have before doing this lesson, which I believe is extremely important. I think it is awesome that students have the opportunity to not only see a chemical change but they are creating the ultimate fizz. In doing so, students have to determine what amount of vinegar they need to add to baking soda to create the ultimate fizz without having any baking soda left over. This allows students to analyze, collaborate, and critically think about what they should do to get this result. I really liked the instructions she wrote out for her students because they are well written with a lot of good detail. I also liked that she had an observation section where she took note of students actions, thoughts, and reactions. I believe this is important for a teacher to take note of because a lot of times these type of notes can be used as a critique for what she may want to change or keep the same for next time she teaches the unit. Students had the opportunity to create a chemical reaction, find these measurements, graph their results, and predict other measurements. Lastly, I loved that the overall format was easy to follow with good subheadings and font size. Since I am a visual learner, I would have liked if there were more visuals to display what students were doing throughout this unit, so I would give this document 4 stars because of that. Overall, I believe this was a well thought out unit, and I believe it is very effective in meeting the common core standards provided at the end of the document.

Nicole Shouse  (Hanover, MD)
Nicole Shouse (Hanover, MD)

  • on Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:59 AM

Who doesn't use baking soda and vinegar in their primary science classes? This article describes a new approach to this demo/hands-on activity that engages upper elementary students in solving a meaningful question about how to maximize the fizz. Mathematics, and specifically graphical analysis, is well integrated into the activity. Although the article encourages the teacher to engage students in a discussion of the value of compiling and comparing data collected by different scientists, it suggests that human error is the only reason for discrepancies in data.

Lara  (New Haven, CT)
Lara (New Haven, CT)

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