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Ms. Angela Reinke's eighth grade science students learned about acids and bases in two inquiry labs on Friday.

Acids taste sour, react with metals and carbonates, and turn blue litmus paper red.  Bases taste bitter, feel slippery, and turn red litmus paper blue.  Starting with lemon juice, students used medicine droppers to put drops of each substances on each colored piece of litmus paper, recording their observations.  This process continued with ammonia, coke, coffee, vinegar, baking soda solution, citric acid, and a saltwater solution.  After completing each test, students collaborated to classify the substances based on how they made the litmus paper change color.  They then formed conclusions about other properties the substances in each group have in common.

In the second lab called "pHone Home," students examined samples to determine whether they have low or high pH.  The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with the most acidic substances at the lower end and the most basic substances at the higher end.  Students used pH indicator paper to test the pH of different substances.  First, they filled plastic cups partially with water, then dropped antacid tablets in to create an additional substance.  Next, they observed the same materials provided in the first lab to predict which are most acidic and most basic.  Using droppers, they transferred individual samples onto fresh strips of pH paper, waiting to test the antacid until the tablet had completely dissolved.  Next, they compared the color of the strip to the provided pH test scale, recording the pH of each substance on the data table.  Students then listed their substances from lowest to highest, reflecting on which results surprised them.

When it comes to science, many students learn best through hands-on labs, and Mrs. Reinke gives her learners as many of these opportunities as they can.  The tribe is rising with STEAM experiences like these.