Materials: Paper, pencils, unsweetened lemonade (or lemon water), small paper or plastic cups for students, spoon/straw (something to pour sugar and something to stir lemonade), and sugar
1. Break into pairs or groups and explain the activity.
a. Each person is going to get a small cup filled with lemonade.
b. Each pair or group will put sugar in their cups.
c. Students will write down two things: What they are drinking and how sweet it is.
d. Then students will come up to the teacher again and repeat. This will happen a total of three times. Students should have a total of three observations written down with the drink they are drinking and the sweetness of it written each time. Students’ work should look
something like this:
i. I am drinking lemonade. It is not very sweet.
ii. I am drinking lemonade. It is kind of sweet.
iii.I am drinking lemonade. It is very sweet!
e. VARIATION: Instead of having students come up front to add sugar, you can have 3 jugs with pre-mixed lemonade of varying sweetness and just pour a little in each cup when students come up during each trial.
2. Put a very small amount of sugar (if s/he has measure spoons, it might make it easier) in students cups the first time. A medium amount the second time. The last time put in a lot of sugar. Make sure the lemonade gets sweeter each time. Test your own glass before giving to students.
3. After all three trials are done and students have written down their sentences, ask what they wrote down for each time they added sugar.
a. What were they drinking on the first trial? How sweet was it?
b. Repeat for second and third trial.
4. Ask, “So, even though we kept adding sugar, it was still lemonade every time?”
a. Students should respond, “Yes”
5. Ask, “So then, even though something changed, it was still just lemonade?”
a. Students should respond, “Yes.”
6. Say, “Well this is just like skin. The lemonade is just like skin and the sugar is just like melanin. What does melanin do again?”
a. If students do not know, remind them that it gives skin color.
7. Ask, “So what did the sugar do to the lemonade? If we had more or if we had less?”
a. Students should respond that is makes it sweeter.
b. If students do not know, then ask a pointed question like, “Did it change the taste somehow? How?”
8. Say, “Sugar gives lemonade sweetness depending on how much there is. So if sugar is like melanin, and melanin gives skin color, what will it do to skin color depending on if a person has more or less melanin?”
a. If students cannot come to the conclusion that it will make skin darker or lighter, ask a direct question like, “Will it change the shade? Do you think it could change the color?”