Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Boom and Fizz

Cheryle Borsos
Santa Rosa District Schools


Boom and Fizz is a thrilling discovery of physical and chemical changes. It combines an engaging teacher demonstration with a hands-on student lab experience.


The student knows the difference between a physical and chemical change.

The student uses appropriate experimental design, with consideration for rules, time, and materials required to solve a problem.


-2 Sheets of paper
-A match
-Baking soda
-Heat source (Bunsen burner or lighter)
-One 500mL glass beaker
-Magnesium strip
-One marshmallow
-One cookie
-An aluminum ball and ring stick set (if available)
-A class set of Demonstration Observation Sheets (See Associated File)
-A class set of Student Lab Investigation Sheets (See Associated File)
-A teacher copy of the Goal 3 Standards Checklist (See Associated File)
-One petri dish for each lab station (8)
-One piece of chalk for each lab station (8)
-One small cup of vinegar for each lab station (8)
-One eye dropper for each lab station (8)
-Art clay
-One clean, non-rusty nail
-One rusty nail
-One small wooden mallet


1. Gather all materials, including safety goggles, for the teacher demonstration and the student lab investigations. Be sure to allow time for a nail to rust before the lesson.

2. Copy a class set of the Demonstration Observation Sheets and a class set of the Student Lab Investigation Sheets. (See Associated File)

3. Make one copy of the Goal 3 Standards Checklist located in the Teacher Assessment Tools. (See Associated File)

4. Set up 8 lab stations around the classroom complete with materials needed for the student lab.

5. Set up and organize the teacher demonstration table in the order of the demonstrations listed on the student demonstration observation sheet so that things run smoothly from demonstration to demonstration.


1. Activate student interest by telling them that in today’s lesson they are going to be making some BIG changes. Ask the students to brainstorm with a person sitting next to them ways in which they have observed changes. Then ask the students to share their ideas with the class. Accept all student ideas. They may mention anything from a recent change in a hairstyle to the changes in season.

2. Next, inform the students that they are going to be learning about two very specific types of changes in science, a physical change and a chemical change.

3. Explain that a physical change involves the alteration of a substance such as its shape, form, volume, etc. without changing the make-up of the substance. Show the students a ball of art clay. Then squash the clay into a flat form with your wrist. Ask the students, “Has the clay changed form?” (yes). Then ask them if the substance is still clay even though the form has changed. (yes)
Restate that the clay has undergone a physical change.

4. Explain that a chemical change involves the alteration of a substance in such a way that the original substance no longer exists in its previous form. It has become a new substance with different properties. Evidence of a chemical change could be a change in color, dissolving of a substance, gas or heat emission, etc. To model a chemical change, show the students a clean nail. Then hold up a rusty nail. Ask the students if the rust is the same substance that existed previously. (no) Ask the students to describe how the substance changed. (E.g. brownish black in color, crusty, bumpy, etc.) Inform the students that the nail has undergone a chemical change.

5. Next, tell the students that they are going to be observing a variety of demonstrations that involve physical or chemical changes. They will need to make a prediction about what change they think will occur before each demonstration. During the demonstration, the students will need to record all observations including what they see, hear, smell, etc. After each demonstration they will need to determine if the demonstration was a physical or chemical change and support their answers. Once they have written down their responses, the class will share and discuss each outcome.

6. Pass out a Demonstration Observation Sheet to each student before beginning. (See Associated File) Remind students that in this demonstration, proper lab safety is to be observed. Be sure to wear safety goggles and tie hair back if it is long.

7. Begin the demonstrations with Demonstration 1. In this demonstration, you will show the students a piece of notebook paper and tell them that you are going to use your hands to make a change in the paper. Have students predict if it will be a chemical or physical change on their observation sheet. Then make a loud tear down the sheet and crumple each half into a ball. Students should be writing down their observations then determining that this was a physical change. Remind students that they need to support their conclusions. Allow students to share and concur on the demonstration. (This is a physical change.)

Demonstration 2 involves burning a piece of paper. Show the students the second sheet of paper. Tell them that a match will be placed under the paper and have them write down their prediction. Then set one corner of the paper a flame long enough so that students can make observations. Place the burning paper into a 500mL glass beaker. It will burn itself out but you may want to smother it with a tile. Have students determine if this was a chemical or physical change and support their responses. Then allow students time to share and concur on the demonstration results. (This is a chemical change.)

Demonstration 3 involves adding vinegar to baking soda. Once students have made a prediction, add a small amount of vinegar to a beaker containing baking soda. You only need a small amount of each to get a reaction. Students need to record their observations and make a determination. Share and discuss results of the demonstration. (This is a chemical change.)

Demonstration 4 requires scientific apparatus. You may wish to omit this if you do not have a ball and ring set. If you do, this is a great one! To start the demonstration, show the students that the metal ball fits easily through the metal ring. Slide it in and out to clearly demonstrate the ease by which it moves through the ring. Then apply heat to the metal ball using a Bunsen burner or a lighter if you do not have a burner. Allow the ball to heat for a few minutes. Students will not observe very much but will be amazed when you try to move the ball through the ring after it has been heated. The ball will not fit through the ring. Students need to record their observations and determine if this was a physical or chemical change. Allow students to discuss and share. (This is a physical change.) Be sure to tell the students that the ball increased in volume but did not change in composition. The heat caused the molecules in the ball to spread out, but it did not change the chemical properties of the ball.

Demonstration 5 involves bending a piece of magnesium strip into a W formation. Before bending the strip inform students that you will use your hands to change the strip so that they can make a prediction. Allow students time to record observations and determine the type of change. (This is a physical change.) Have the students share and discuss the results.

Demonstration 6 involves lighting the magnesium strip with a lighter. Have students make a prediction based on your informing them that you will light a flame to the strip. Have students write their observations as the strip is being set aflame. The strip will only burn for a brief moment before it burns itself out but the students will observe a very bright white light. This is a real thriller for the students. Allow time for them to conclude and to discuss their findings. (This is a chemical change.) Note: You may want to hold the strip with a pair of beaker tongs.

Demonstration 7 involves roasting a marshmallow. This is a fun demonstration because students have experience with this, but have never viewed roasting marshmallows as a science demonstration. Ask students to write their predictions then set the lighter to the marshmallow. Allow the marshmallow to burn until you can clearly see the marshmallow blacken then blow out the flame and place the marshmallow in the 500mL glass beaker with the burnt paper. Have students record observations. Remind them to record what they see, hear, smell, etc. Allow them time to share and discuss results. During this discussion, ask students to think about the reaction if the marshmallow did not burn but simply melted. (Burning the marshmallow is a chemical change, but melting it is a physical change.)

Demonstration 8 involves crushing a cookie with a small mallet. Inform the students that you will hit the cookie with the mallet so they can make a prediction. Then tap on the cookie to create a pile of crumbs. The students must record their observations and make a determination about the change. Provide an opportunity to discuss the results. (This is a physical change.)

8. After completing all eight demonstrations, you can continue with the Student Lab Investigation Sheet if time allows. (See Associated File) Otherwise, you can begin the lab investigation the following day. To engage the students in a hands-on experience, they will move to their lab stations to perform a lab investigation. The students will follow the procedures of the Student Lab Investigation Sheet.

9. As students are working in their cooperative lab groups, circulate to each lab station to monitor student progress and to facilitate critical thinking. Once students complete the lab investigation, they must answer the critical thinking questions located at the end of the lab.


1. The Demonstration Observation Sheet and discussion will be used as a formative assessment during the lesson. (See the Teacher Assessment Tools in the Associated File for further information.)

2. The Student Lab Investigation Sheet will be used as a summative assessment of student understanding of chemical and physical changes. The students will construct a response to two critical thinking questions that requires them to identify a physical and a chemical change that occur in nature. (See the Teacher Assessment Tools in the Associated File for further information.)

3. The Goal 3 Standards Checklist will be used to assess student success in Standard 6, Standard 4, and Standard 8. (See the Teacher Assessment Tools in the Associated File for further information.)


This lesson serves as a nice link into investigating the damages caused by acid rain. Acid rain is the cause of chemical changes to statues, tombstones, and buildings made of marble and limestone. Students can use the results of this lab investigation to make inferences about the potential damage and possible solutions to the acid rain problem.
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