Activity 4.3 - Evidence-Based Arguments for Ethanol Burning (50 min)

Target Student Performance

Students (a) use data from their investigations to develop evidence-based arguments about matter movements, matter changes, and energy changes when ethanol burns; and (b) identify unanswered questions about matter movement, matter change, and energy change that the data are insufficient to address.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Print one copy of 4.3 Evidence-Based Arguments Tool for Ethanol Burning for each student. Make sure that the 4.2 Ethanol Burning Class Results 11 x 17 Poster (or spreadsheet) (1 per class) from the previous activity is available.


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


During the class discussion, listen for students making connections to the investigation and their arguments. Are they drawing on observations from the investigation, or from other sources of knowledge and experience? Use the 4.3 Assessing the Evidence-Based Arguments Tool for Ethanol Burning to assess your students’ thinking at this point in the unit. At this point they have concluded their “up the triangle” inquiry journey, and are headed “down the triangle” for the application sequence.



Have the students store their 4.3 Evidence-Based Arguments Tool for Ethanol Burning in the same place as their Expressing Ideas and Questions and Predictions and Planning Tools so they can be easily revisited.

Extending the Learning
  • Students can use their investigation tools to collect data on changes in mass and CO2 for other fuels (e.g., candle, butane lighter, can of Sterno, paper, matches or wood).
  • Use cobalt chloride indicator paper to test for the presence of water after ethanol burning.
  • Burn steel wool (which gains mass) to help students conceptualize movement of matter/mass changes.