ALEX Lesson Plan


Cool Kool-Aid Experiment

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Petra Kositzke
Organization:Birmingham-Southern College
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 9860


Cool Kool-Aid Experiment


Seventh grade students have had wide-ranging experiences with fractions and operations on fractions, but ratios and rates may be new concepts for them. This activity introduces students to the idea of rates via a familiar and tangible product: Kool-Aid. Students will add varying amounts of Kool-Aid powder to a set amount of water, thereby producing a sensory experience of rates. The Kool-Aid example also provides a base experience upon which other examples can build.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (7)
1. Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas, and other quantities measured in like or different units. [7-RP1]
MA2015 (7)
2. Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. [7-RP2]
a. Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin. [7-RP2a]
b. Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships. [7-RP2b]
c. Represent proportional relationships by equations. [7-RP2c]
Example: If total cost t is proportional to the number n of items purchased at a constant price p, the relationship between the total cost and the number of items can be expressed as t = pn.
d. Explain what a point (x, y) on the graph of a proportional relationship means in terms of the situation, with special attention to the points (0, 0) and (1, r) where r is the unit rate. [7-RP2d]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

All seventh grade math students will experiment to determine the best-tasting rate of Kool-Aid powder to water and practice writing rates.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Preparation: • Check that no student is allergic to Kool-Aid in general and the flavor(s) you choose in particular. Possible substitutions include tea mix, lemonade mix, or milk and chocolate powder. • Note: Choose Kool-Aid powder that does not require additional sugar. • Each group of four students needs the following materials: 2.5 quarts of water, 4 paper cups for sampling mixture, measuring cup (1 cup size), pitcher for mixing and pouring, teaspoon, stirring spoon, bucket or sink for disposal of extra liquid, paper towels, colored pencils to match hue of drink, ½ cup or so of Kool-Aid powder. • Each student needs a datasheet.

Technology Resources Needed:



1.)Begin by asking students if they have any knowledge of rates. Most students should be familiar with the rates miles per hour and miles per gallon. Explain that rates are comparisons of two unlike measures, e.g., miles and gallons.

2.)Explain that they are going to make small portions of Kool-Aid of varying strengths and then taste their results. Give students the datasheet and explain how to perform the activity.

3.)Procedures for the activity: a. Groups decide on an amount of Kool-Aid powder to add to 2 cups of water. b. Students then add the desired amount of powder to 2 cups of water, stir thoroughly, and pour a sample of the mixture for each group member to taste. They then fill out the row for trial 1 on their datasheets. c. Students should dispose of extra liquid in the sink or bucket provided. d. Students repeat steps a-c for trials 2-5. Each trial should consist of a different amount of powder added to the set amount of water.

4.)After groups are finished, gather the class together. Ask each group which rate produced the best tasting drink. Compare groups’ findings by looking at their strongest and weakest mixtures. Did any groups use equivalent rates?

5.)Define rate and ratio. Give several examples of each, such as comparing the number of boys to the number of girls in the class, number of birthdays in May to number in December, number of students with a pet to those with no pet, speeds on the interstate to those in a neighborhood, and measurement ratios. Ask students to give additional examples of ratios and rates that occur in everyday life.

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Assessment Strategies

Students are expected to complete the datasheet thoroughly and correctly.


Given that 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, convert your rates from teaspoons to tablespoons.



Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.