Unit 1 – What is Science –
Lesson 2 – Using Salsa to Teach the Scientific Method
Hello, I’m so excited to share today’s lesson with you on Evergreen Elementary Environmental Education. If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to check out the vocabulary list and lesson one for this unit!
If you are distance learning and still want to complete a similar activity scroll down to the bottom to find the resources I created to change this lesson AND every other lesson in this series to be completed online!
For this experiment, we are going to see if we can replicate store-bought salsa! Bring in store-bought salsa and let your student observe it, this includes taste. Then set out different types of ingredients that could possibly be used to make that particular salsa, emphasis on could, make sure to add one or two ingredients that were not used (like olives, pickles, or banana) and include things that could be one or the other (purple onions or white onions, or both).
- Store-bought salsa
- Ingredients for homemade salsa (examples are as follows)
- Non-salsa ingredients (Examples are as follows)
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing Spoons
- Tasting Spoons (optional)
- Plastic cups (to put ingredients in)
- Mixing bowl (to mix ingredients in)
- Printed worksheet
- Science Journal
- Scientific Method Poster
- Create or a print scientific method poster
- Chop up ingredients and put them into separate bowls or cups for students to use (older students can help)
- Print or have students copy observation data log into their science journals
- Set up a station with scientific methods poster, ingredients, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, data log, and science journal
While we are learning the scientific method, we are going to be simultaneously making salsa! Have your students write down all the black texts into their notebook labeled under SCIENTIFIC METHOD! They will be using this method several times throughout the course, having it as a reference will help them follow future activities better and have a more structured view of the project. The activity instructions will be in blue.
- Scientific method – a tested way science is performed to create correct results.
- Make an Observation: Find something in the world and observe it for a bit. Use all your senses: sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste. Give them a sample of the salsa. Use this free Salsa Data Log .
- Ask a question: Ask a question about the thing you previously observed. Have students open their science journal to a new page. Title this page “Salsa Experiment.” Now have them write “QUESTION: What ingredients were used to make the salsa?”
- Research: Learning more about your topic before conducting an experiment. Let students observe (including taste) each ingredient. This way, they can make an informed decision. Make sure students chart all of their observations in the ingredient log.
- Hypothesis: Make a prediction that answers your question. On the “Salsa Experiment Page,” have you students write down which of the given ingredients are needed to make the exact same salsa.
- Methods: Writing your process down so other scientists can follow your exact steps and finish with the same results. It is important to write down your steps because if another scientist cannot replicate your results precisely, then your experiment is proven false. On the “Salsa Experiment” page have students write down the measurements for each ingredient they add into the bowl. I used measuring spoons to make sure my measurements were exact.
- Test and collect data: Write down notes about the experiment’s results. All you are doing is collecting the facts. Do not try to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Let students observe and write down their findings on the chart from earlier. Did it sound the same as the first? Does it look the same (color, constancy)? Does it smell the same? Touch (does it feel the same)? Taste the same!?
- Results: This is where you decide if your hypothesis is correct or not. It does not matter if the hypothesis was correct; all the matters is that you recognize the real results. Have students decide if their receipt made the same salsa or a different one. Which salsa is their favorite, and why? Ask students what they will do the next time differently? Have them write their answers on the “Salsa Experiment” Page.
- Retest: This is where either you (or other scientists) repeat the experiment and decide if the first test was accurate or not. If time and supplies permit, let students retest their salsa experiment. You can try to make the store bought salsa again or improve your recipe from the first time.
No Problem!! This activity is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Instead of salsa, we set up a virtual birthday dinner party! You can find not only this lesson but all lessons in my store. This way if you are jumping back and forth between in-person learning and socially distant learning you can feel confident knowing you are not going to have to change your entire unit around or scramble to find materials and ideas.