Activity 3.1: Predictions and Planning about Bread Molding (50 min)

Target Student Performance

Students (a) develop hypotheses about how matter moves and changes and how energy changes when bread molds and (b) make predictions about how they can use their investigation tools—digital balances and BTB—to detect movements and changes in matter.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Print one copy of 3.1 Predictions and Planning Tool for Bread Molding for each student. Prepare a computer and projector to display the PPT and the video. Print one copy of the Three Questions 11x17 Poster and display it on your classroom wall. Print one copy of the Three Questions Handout for each student. Retrieve the materials from Activity 1.2. This may include a ppt slide from the lesson in which you typed students’ responses or a photograph of their sticky notes as well as the students’ completed 1.2 Expressing Ideas and Questions for Bread Molding.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


The Three Questions will be a review from the Systems and Scale, Plants, and/or Animals units, but Level 2 students may still find the questions themselves hard to understand. In particular, they may be unable to connect the three columns in the Three Questions 11x17 Poster. Note whether students use facts about matter and energy as they try to answer the Three Questions.

During the class, listen to the ideas students offer in the final step of the activity. Do students’ predictions follow the rules? At this point, do not correct student ideas, but listen for what they say about matter and energy in the context of decomposition. After class, use the 3.1 Assessing the Predictions Tool for Bread Molding to compare your students’ ideas with what we would expect to see in Level 4 responses.

This discussion will show that some students are still at Level 2 with respect to both their ideas about energy and their understanding of the questions. For example, do students have a sense of necessity about the connections between mass changes and movement of atoms? Do they recognize that if the bread loses mass, then atoms must be moving out of the bread? Do students account for energy separately from matter, or do they suggest that some of the matter in the bread and mold might be converted to energy or disappear? You do not need to correct any problems now; they will be addressed through the investigation and Modeling in the Activities to come.


  • Have a designated place in the classroom where students store their 3.1 Predictions and Planning Tool for Bread Molding so they can easily refer back to their ideas at the end of the lesson.
  • Expect many students to make the right predictions for the wrong reasons. Note in particular whether they say that changes in the mass of the bread indicate that atoms are moving.

  • Refer back to Systems & Scale Predictions and Planning Tool as a model.
  • Use strategic grouping to distribute strong speakers.
  • Provide sentence stems for discussion and for filling in the Predictions and Planning Tool.
  • Read the Three Questions Handout as a group and referr back to Systems & Scale, Animals, and/or
  • Allow students to use their personal devices to watch the Carbon TIME Bread Molding Video with Nina and Daryl. This allows for slowdown and playback.
  • Give examples of predictions for each of the Three Questions and possibly post these as sentence stems for students to mirror.
  • Keep students’ Predictions and Planning Tools in a safe place (e.g., notebook or class file).
Extending the Learning
  • Have students plan and carry out their own investigations to answer the Three Questions. If groups get unreliable data, you may want to carry out the investigations as planned in this unit, at least as a demonstration.
  • Have students review their observations about mold growth that they have been collecting since the Pre-Lesson. Discuss what is similar, different, or surprising about this method of growing plants compared to more familiar methods.