Flash Freezing Ice Cream Spheres for a Lesson on Surface Tension

David Welch
Grade Level: 
Arizona State Science Education Standards: 
The Arizona High School Science Standards which are met through this lesson are: Strand 1 - The inquiry process. This includes forming observations, questions, and hypotheses, testing and analyzing, as well as communicating results. Strand 2, Concept 1 - The history of science as a human endeavor. Strand 4, Concept 1, PO3 - The importance of water to cells. Strand 4, Concept 3, PO2 - Analyzing how organisms are influenced by their environment by a combination of biotic and abiotic factors. Strand 5, Concept 1 - The structure and properties of matter.
We present a lesson on the fundamentals of surface tension to be presented to high school biology and earth science students at Superior High School. The students will complete the inquiry based lesson over three days by perform- ing experiments, actively engaging in lectures, and observing demonstrations. We hope every student will gain a better understanding of the scientific prin- cipals of surface tension while recognizing the importance of surface tension in scientific advancements from the past and in the future.

BioMEMS (biological microelectromechanical systems) and Lab-on-a-chip devices are becoming prominent systems for medical diagnostics as well as excellent platforms for biological testing. It is important to understand the effects surface tension has on these devices as they become smaller and surface tension forces dominate. Work towards the Grand Challenge of Engineering the Tools of Scientific Discovery using BioMEMS and Lab-on-a-chip devices requires an understanding of surface tension.

Surface tension, biology, earth science, ice cream, engineering history, liquid nitrogen.
DW_GK12_surface_tension_lesson-1.pdf493.94 KB