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In this activity, learners discover that sand is the major ingredient in glass. They carry out a guided investigation involving chocolate to see what happens when heat is applied to a material that appears solid at room temperature. They learn that glass has special physical properties that allow it to be formed into many different and beautiful objects. At the end, learners can eat the outcomes of the investigation! This activity is featured on pp.32-34 of the "Fireworks of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly" unit of study for grades 3-5.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Small container of play sand
  • Bag of chocolate chips
  • Thermometers
  • Hot plate or Bunsen burner
  • Notebooks
  • Pens/pencils
  • Small plastic containers or molds of different sizes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Images of blown glass, cut glass, etching and engraving, and stained glass
  • Heavy saucepan


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 2006