This Valentine’s Day Science Project is the perfect way to incorporate Science, Valentine’s Day, a lab and lots of learning. The kids think your the “coolest teacher ever” because you just made a chemical reaction happen in class!
We had so much fun exploring with these chemical reactions and the prep I made ahead of time was worth it after hearing the shouts and screaming in amazement.
My class loves doing Science experiments and I do too! Well, that’s kind of a lie. I don’t. I love seeing them have fun and learning and the excitement is like no other subject. But I honestly don’t like buying all the parts to it, planning it, setting it up and cleaning it when we are done. We usually make a mess too.
This one though was really easy. The ingredients, besides the Valentine Hearts, which are the Conversation Hearts, all came from my house. I even used the lemons from my lemon tree. So it was super easy to gather the night before.
Here is what we used:
4 clear cups or glasses
** If your doing this in small groups, each group will need the above supplies
Whole Group Vs. Small Group
We did the Experiment as a Whole Group Activity, because I am a little cheap and the last thing I want to do on Friday after school is to clean up from the aftermath of each group having their own supplies, the risk of spilling and possible stickiness. I do think that doing this one in a small group would be much more engaging, but it would be difficult to monitor all the groups.
In deciding to do this experiment as a whole group or small group, it all depends on the dynamics of the class, what experience you want the students to have, and how many supplies you want to round up or buy.
The advantages of doing it whole group is that it is easier. Less supplies. Less mess. Less clean up.
The advantages of small groups is students get to experience the impact of the experiment more first hand, they can watch the process happen right in front of their eyes, it can change quickly and some students may miss out on that. The big chemical reaction is harder to see if the kids are all circled around.
If you have the time and the resources, I definitely recommend doing this as a small group activity of 4-6 students.
Steps to Setting up the Experiment
- Get out all the supplies
- Copy and make the Student Lab Books. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LAB BOOK RESOURCE
- Set out the 4 glasses. Label each glass with a number 1-4.
Once the Students Arrive
SCIENTIFIC METHOD. My class always needs a reminder of the Scientific Method.
(Included in the unit is a Poster and there are also matching posters that fit in their lab books for the students to refer back.)
OBSERVATION : I didn’t tell the students what were were doing, but I had them look at the supplies and let them come up and smell the cups and then they made a guess of what we were doing. This is good INFERRING Practice!
Then I told them what we were doing. We came up as a class with our lab question.
We made our HYPOTHESIS. Each year I have students feel the need to change their hypothesis mid-experiment or after. Always remind students that it is OK to be wrong. This is an “educated guess” and they need to really think about it. It is not the time to make a funny one to make the class laugh. I now have them write it in pen to avoid the changing. There is a spot at the beginning in the lab book to write their hypothesis.
The EXPERIMENT. I invited 2 students to come up and juice the lemons with a lemon juicer (or you can bring in lemon juice). My students enjoyed juicing the lemons. They were surprised that only a little bit of juice came out. We poured the juice of the 2 lemons in 2 cups.
The other two cups had vinegar. Then I invited 4 students to come up and drop in the candy hearts. Then all students came up a few at a time to view the cups, they went back to their seats to draw their observations in their lab books.
A few minutes later, I had them come and look again and draw the changes that they saw. In the lab book are follow up questions for each step of the experiment. This keeps them busy between coming up to view the cups.
Next part is the exciting part. I have 1 student at a time come up for this part. It is important that all students are able to see the glass. Also, put a plate or towel under the cup. You may want to hold it up for all to see. Have the student put in 1 tsp of baking soda into the 1st cup. Let the students experience the chemical reaction for a bit.
I think it is important for them to record each cup into their books each time, this way they don’t forget what happened. Each cup will be a little different. Pick a new student to add the baking soda next.
Which liquid had the biggest chemical reaction? What happened to the candy hearts?
We then worked on our lab books to RECORD WHAT WE LEARNED from our observations and to do the REFLECTION SHEETS. As the students finished up, I had them work on the VALENTINE’S DAY COLOR SHEETS and the included WORD SEARCH.
I walked around quickly to make anecdotal notes on who completed the experiment, and inspected their books, I actually gave them a grade right there. This way they could take their lab books home that day and discuss it with their families. It is much better than sitting on my desk for a week and then it going home in a weekly folder and forgetting the lesson.
After everyone was finished, we went over the Scientific reasons for why there was a chemical reaction. It can be a little difficult to explain to students why, but I break it down quite a bit. I am always able to connect it to the States of Matter for them.
The clean up was easy since I just had the 4 cups and what was left of the candy hearts. The cups make a bit of a mess, but all of it ends up on the plates.
I always have quite a few extra candy hearts, so each student got to have a few as they were leaving for home. As they were leaving, I handed them a few candy hearts and said “Tell someone you love today what happens when you mix candy hearts, lemon juice and baking soda.
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