Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ketchup Race Science

Today was the perfect day to do a ketchup race. The weather was a cold, rainy spring day in Ohio.

I hope the preschool classes across the hall were not awakened from their nap by our cheering. We can't help but root for our favorite brand.

The question we were thinking about was:
Which ketchup will win the race?

Each kiddo made a hypothesis about which ketchup would win the race. (We each tried to guess which would come in last also.

They marked their hypothesis on their recording sheets.

Next we made sure that the experiment would be fair by marking the wall and storage container (or table area) with tape so the incline would be consistent with each trial.

The tray rested on each long red piece of tape to assure the incline remained the same. I had trouble with the tray sliding so I used the folded up paper towels as a stopper.

(Be sure the tray you are using is totally smooth.)
1 tray marked with a starting line and a finish line (I drew it with sharpie)
4 different brands of ketchup
Tablespoon measure
Timer (we used a classroom iPad)
Recording sheets, one per student
Recording chart
Paper towels
Sink to wash tray between trials or baby wipes or some other cleanup method

Step 1
Put 1Tablespoon of the first brand of ketchup at the starting line of the tray, while flat. Say "GO,", as you place the tray on the designated marks so the student who is timing knows to start the clock.

Step 2
When the ketchup trail reaches the finish line say "STOP", so the timer knows when to push stop.
Record the time. (We recorded how many seconds it took. I told them the number after the decimal point would only be used if there was a tie between two brands.)

Step 3 Record the time it takes for the trial.

Step 4 Clean the tray between trials.

Step 5 Repeat with all brands.

Step 6 Then we recorded our observations by drawing a picture on our recording sheets.

If you didn't know better while walking by our room this afternoon, you would have thought we were betting on the horse races. The kids had a great time with this experiment.

We talked about what it means for ketchup to be thin/thick. My kiddos thought that if they REALLY
liked ketchup, a thicker one might be better because a lot would stick to your french fry. If you only
liked a little ketchup, you might like a thinner ketchup because less would stick to your french fry.

Since scientists like to ask questions, we couldn't help but wonder a few things. Here is what they wondered: Who would win a race between ketchup and mustard? Which restaraunt ketchup would win if we got packets from 4 different places? What other things in our refrigerator can we race?

For the years to come, I made a chart to laminate and reuse.

All I need to do each year is program the brands of ketchup we will be using and it will be ready to go.