Last fall, we did this super quick (but fun for the kids) fall themed 10 minute activity to review physical and chemical changes. This physical and chemical changes activity is ridiculously easy and cheap but also engaging. All you need is a bag of pumpkin shaped marshmallows (to go with the fall theme, regular marshmallows would work if you do this at any other time.)
I gave each student a marshmallow with the following prompt:
What is one change that the marshmallow could undergo that would be a physical change? What is one change that the marshmallow could undergo that would be a chemical change? Prove your answers with a detailed explanation and labeled diagram showing the changes.
We discussed the prompt and reviewed the types of changes and then the kids went to work. The students put the marshmallow on their paper so they could eat it when they were finished. Napkins would have been a better choice, though (hindsight’s 20/20 :D).
This simple activity was really effective for a nice quick review. The students loved it because it was different and involved food. They didn’t even realize how much explaining and reviewing they were doing in that quick 10 minutes. Also, I was able to take a look at their interactive notebooks and informally assess and leave feedback on their responses. I was able to assess their content knowledge and their ability to fully respond in a written format and with diagrams. All this with a single marshmallow!
One thing I would change about this activity as I reflect on it is that I should have added a share activity where the students paired up and compared and contrasted each others’ work. I always love having that student to student interaction to get the students talking and to deepen their understanding. If they can talk about it and explain it, then that shows a deeper understanding of the content.
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