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Home : 2002 : Jan : 11

    The Incredible Edible Comet
    By Lori 2

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    I do this with my class after the dry ice comet demo. I am in a private school at the moment. Due to health regs in some public schools it may not be possible to do this because of student allergies.

    Materials:

    Enough ice cream to provide one scoop for each student (represents the ice of the comet)

    Crumbled chocolate and butter-crunch candy bars (for the look of silicon)

    Finely chopped nuts (for rock and dust within the comet nucleus) -- if nuts are still allowed at your school.

    Caramel syrup (for the organic molecules in the comet -- caramel is made from sugar which is an organic compound)

    Whipped topping (for a tail)

    1 liter of ginger ale

    mixing bowls

    mixing spoons

    ice cream scoop

    individual bowls, spoons and napkins

    I divide my class into cooperative groups of 4. Give them enough ice cream for for their group plus enough of the crumbled up candy bar, nuts and syrup for the group. Mix these ingredients together as thoroughly as possible.

    Using an ice cream scoop, place single scoops of the ice cream mixture into a bowl and freeze immediately.

    When time for demo arrives, get teacher's ice cream nucleus (or an extra one) for demo purposes.
    Pour a small amount of ginger ale into the demo bowl. The carbonation in the ginger ale represents the carbon dioxide, one of the many gases that have been observed escaping from comets. This outgassing causes a comet's coma to appear.

    Squirt a bit of whipped topping on the ice cream to represent the tail. Distribute additional comet model dishes and eat up! Students may elect not to add the ginger ale or whipped cream to their models representing comets far away from the sun.

    While eating ask reflection questions below. (I usually just have the groups do a demo comet and then just give them plain ice cream when the time comes to eat -- saves alot of allergy worries).

    1.What does the ice cream represent? The crumbled candy bar? The ginger ale? The chopped nuts? THe whipped cream?

    2. Was there a dust tail for your comet? Why or why not?

    3. How was our comet model like a real comet? How was it different?

    4. How would this comet nucleus change as it entered the inner Solar System?



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