Thursday, January 8, 2009

General Science: Iodine as indicator

This week the kids learned how to use an INDICATOR, a compound that will change color when it comes in contact with a particular substance. Without too much background on what starches are, the kids were given around 10 different foods to test using iodine, a compound which changes from orange to black on contact with starch. As they made their way through the food samples (testing them, not eating them), they were able to refine guesses about what starches have in common. Finally, we concluded that starches come from plants and are how plants store simple sugars.

Afterward we discussed how simple sugars are connected by chemical bonds to make complex sugars and conversely, how the chemical bonds within complex sugars are broken to produce simple sugars. The kids chewed on that for a few minutes...literally! I gave each one a cracker, and they observed how after a few minutes of chewing, they could taste the sugar that resulted from their saliva breaking down the starch.

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