As mentioned in the introduction to this unit, there are no chemistry standards for 2nd grade. In fact, chemistry standards do not come along until 6th grade. However, this unit was designed for introducing chemistry to younger students and is aligned with the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. There are eight practices, and this unit aligns with six of them. Two of the eight practices, Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking do not necessarily apply to this unit. The applicable practices include:
1) Asking Questions and Defining Problems. This unit is guided by the question “How can we make the best playdough?” and from there, many more questions will arrive. The problem students are asked to define is built into the main question.
2) Developing and Using Models. Students will be creating a process for making playdough. This process, while in cooking is a recipe, is what students are developing.
3) Planning and Carrying Out Investigations. Students test different ingredients and, under careful teacher guidance, form an investigation to determine the results of each added or modified ingredient.
4) Constructing Explanations and Developing Solutions. Students gather empirical evidence based on their experimentation to determine the best process for making playdough.
5) Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Students can argue the effectiveness of each ingredient based on evidence they collect from individual experiments and comparing their results to those of other students.
6) Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information. After determining the best process for making playdough, I have students share their findings with younger classes and make playdough for them. It is an exciting way to communicate results.