hit counter

Changes and the Gingerbread man

Target Audience Key Stage 2

Link to the National Curriculum

Sc3 (Materials) Yr.4

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled*

* Preliminary activity prior to this investigation( See Gingerbread Man recipe)

Sc3 (Materials) Yr5.

  • Compare and group materials together on their basis of Solubility


  • To enable children to understand that certain materials change state when they are heated or cooled.(Making Gingerbread Men)
  • To enable children to understand that only the physical structure of materials changes when coming into contact with a solvent (water) in this case.

Download worksheet

What you need

  • Gingerbread men of three sizes,
  • equal scale balances….see infant dept
  • weights for weighing gingerbread men
  • forks…..see canteen staff
  • empty icecream containers
  • recording sheets/ graph paper

What you do

  • See the video clip on the website: www.practicalprimaryscience.co.uk
  • Weigh each Gingerbread man dry and record this on the investigation sheet.
  • Now weigh the smallest Gingerbread man after it has been submersed in water and record this on the investigation sheet. For fair testing purposes it should be agreed that that the gingerbread man should not be weighed until he is completely saturated and will not rise to the surface of the water.
  • Repeat the process for the other two Gingerbread men
  • Get the children to fill in the final column on the investigation sheet……difference in weight.
  • Gather the children for a group / class discussion and discuss the findings before getting them to finish writing up the investigation sheet with their own individual findings in their own words

Group /Class organisation

  • Depending on the number of adult helpers and apparatus available will determine how many groups of three / four children will take part in this practical activity.
  • If limited help is available then other children not involved directly in the practical activity should be engaged in associated work with the topic e.g. making up an alternative end to the Gingerbread man story

How it works

  • The gingerbread changes state as a result of absorbing water and therefore disintegates into small fragments, but does not dissolve, but forms a mixture.
  • In the case of making the gingerbread men from raw materials this change cannot be reversed as the materials have been chemically changed as a result of the heating process……making of gingerbread men would be an ideal introduction to changes for this investigation…see recipe in downloads for making the gingerbread men.

Preliminary Activity

  • Read the story of the Gingerbread Man to the children to revive their memories of the traditional tale and discuss the alternatives for him to cross the river.

Follow up work

  • Investigate other materials that are affected by water
  • It would also be beneficial to undertake investigations to distinguish between dissolving and melting

Share Your Thoughts