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In this 4-6 day lesson, students explore how heat transforms butter through physical and chemical changes by making brown butter, and analyzing the process in stages. This culminates in a fun and easy brown butter rice krispie treat lab that includes a CER.


Note: This lesson has been recently updated in March 2024. 


We have two versions of this lesson (one for grades 5-7 and one for grades 8-11). Both are rooted in most of the same activities. Here are key differences:

  • Components: Grades 8-11 has a heavier emphasis on the individual components that make up butter.

  • Melting: Grades 8-11 compare melting points across different fats and learn the basics of molecular structure of saturated and unsaturated fats, while Grades 5-7 consider what melting really is, and evidence that the butter has become a liquid

  • Bubbles: Grades 8-11 do an additional lab and data analysis/math work to look at the percentage of water in butter. Grades 5-7 simply establish that bubbles occur due to the evaporation of water in butter.

  • Chemical Changes: Grades 8-11 learn more details about the Maillard Reaction. Grades 5-7 focus more on evidence of chemical changes.



This Lesson Includes:

  • Teacher Lesson Plan with Essential Questions, Objectives, and NGSS standards, Lab Preparation (Materials, Ingredients, Amazon Lists when appropriate, and Tips & Tricks) and day-by-day lesson plans
  • Classroom Slides with directions for lesson flow, turn and talk prompts, illustrations and graphics, embedded videos, and whole group reflection questions
  • Student Handouts with step-by-step lab directions and other activities
  • Anchor Reading that explains key concepts
  • Videos: an instructional lab video and a fun and informative Science Snack video


All materials are included in a Google Drive folder.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats (Grades 8-11)

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