Replicating bile…

Body Systems was our focus for the second term in grade 5.  Each 1-3 weeks we focused on a specific system.  This week it was the digestive system!  After going over some notes on the digestive system and and having some giggling and “yucks” about the whole process, we put on our imaginary lab coats and got down to work as scientists.

Our focus in this experiment is to analyse what happens to fats in the small intestine.  After handing out all required supplies, the students’ first step was to place 5 drops of olive oil into each test tube with a dropper (the oil is the fat).  Then, they added water to each test tube so that each was half full.  The students began to notice what happened to the olive oil in each test tube right away.

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Next, they used a clean dropped and added 5 drops of lemon juice to the first test tube, and with another dropper add 5 drops of  liquid detergent (I used blue – easier to see) to the second test tube.  They didn’t add anything to the third test tube (left it with only oil & water).

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Now the interesting part!  The students were to seal the top of the test tubes with the palm of their hands and vigorously shake for about a minute.  The variety of shaking was academy award-winning!  Some students even started to sing!  Definitely a creative class! 😉

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They returned the tubes to their holders, washed their hands and then waited.  After 5 minutes the students compared the contents in each of the tubes and recorded their results. We came together in the end and had a discussion about what we discovered.

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Does olive oil mixed with water?  How do you know?

Does olive oil mix with water if lemon juice is added?  How do you know?

Does olive oil mix with water if liquid detergent is added?  How do you know?

Which substance, lemon juice or liquid detergent, seems to act like bile and split fat into small blobs?

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Clean-up was quick and effortless with everyone pitching in and I enjoyed reading over all their discoveries after our class discussion.  A fun experiment to do with a group – kids LOVE experiments at any grade level!

The school I am at has test tubes, but no test tube holders.   I searched around various stores for holders and had a hard time locating any, so I called upon my gracious friends to save any egg cartons they add over the weekend.  I flipped them upside down and made inexpensive test tube holders out of them!  Just an idea… 🙂