SugarByHalf - The Power of pH

SugarByHalf - The Power of pH

Lesson 1 of 4 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Social
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • ...

Lesson summary

This lesson introduces the idea of acids and bases, using the context and framing of tooth decay. It offers a fun new hook into a very familiar, traditional part of the curriculum.
Students will come to understand how acids and bases work, but also learn about how it relates to the science of cavities, giving that knowledge an immediate and personal relevance in their everyday lives. The lesson ends with an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning; this learning in turn feeds into the science communication in the final lesson in this unit, Communicating the Science of Tooth Decay.

Learning intentions:

Students understand...

  • how to describe properties of acids and bases
  • the role hydrogen ions play in the acidic, neutral or alkaline properties of a substance
  • the pH scale and how to use it to determine a substance's acidity or alkalinity
  • how tooth decay occurs and what can be done to prevent or minimise it

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • identify the properties that make up an acid and a base
  • label all of the features of a pH scale
  • use a pH scale to help identify the strength of acids and bases
  • reflect critically on the practice of teaching and learning

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

  • This lesson is part of the wider unit of work SugarByHalf – Science – Years 9-10
  • Time required: 55 mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – As an introduction to the sequence of lessons on this topic, there will be more explicit teaching of concepts required in order to bring students up to speed on the science behind pH before some of the application material is presented.

To view our Australian Curriculum alignment click here.

To view our NZ Curriculum alignment click here.

Resources required

  • Data projector
  • PH chart

Additional Info

These lessons were developed in partnership with SugarByHalf and the Australian Dental Association

SugarByHalf  promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that we can live better, stronger and healthier lives.

Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half. Eating too much added sugar is a key driver of serious health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, dementia and mental health conditions. A poor diet also puts children behind their peers, affecting brain development, sleep and ability to learn. Poor diet choices ultimately mean that this generation of children could be the first in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents.

Much of the added sugar in our diet comes from the processed foods and drinks we consume. On average, we consume 14-16 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teenagers consume more than 20 teaspoons per day. The World Health Organisation says we should limit our daily added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons for good health. To put that in perspective, there are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. If something has 20 grams of sugar, that's 5 teaspoons of sugar. 
This English lesson focuses on developing the skills and knowledge students need to critically consider messages about food and drink they are exposed to, thereby equipping them to be able to make healthy choices.

Talking about health

  • Be mindful of students who may experience weight stigma. Some students may be sensitive to conversations around weight, body size or shape. Terms including obesity, weight issues, weight-problem and fat can be stigmatising for some people because they assign blame. It is important to note individual preferences around language vary. Research has shown using the terms ‘weight’, ‘weight gain’, ‘healthy weight’, ‘unhealthy weight’, and ‘high BMI’ are preferred as better alternatives.
  • Be mindful about how you use the word ‘diet’. We recommend focussing students on the positive impacts of healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles which help us to have stronger bodies and minds, feel good and sleep well.
  • Steer students away from any focus on appearances by communicating that appearance does not determine your worth. We recommend the fact sheets from the Butterfly Foundation on body image tips.
  • Avoid using labels such as obese or diabetic. Refer to people living with diabetes, people living with cancer, people with high BMI et
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