February 10, 2021

Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon + STEM Activity

February is National Children's Dental Health Month... a month-long observance that raises awareness of dental health and promotes the importance of proper oral hygiene.  During this time, early elementary school students learn and practice the right way to brush and floss their teeth.  Quite often dentists will visit their classrooms as guest speakers and pass out toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.  Fun times!

Not too long ago, Michael Gordon published his book Dragon's Breath which emphasizes why having proper oral hygiene is so important.  Dragon's Breath is about Joe the Dragon who does not want to brush his teeth.  His teeth turn green... his breath starts to smell... and people don't want to be near him because of it.  Eventually, Joe brushes his teeth and feels good about himself.  Hooray!  But, what if Joe didn't make the smart choice to brush his teeth?  What would have happened to them over time?  Read Dragon's Breath and complete the following STEM activity to find out.  The results are GROSS!

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Author's Summary

What happens when a dragon doesn't brush his teeth? Well…we all heard about the ''dragon's breath’’. That's why learning proper dental care is really important for a little boy and his friend Dragon Joe.
  • Teach the importance of brushing teeth in a cute and fun way
  • Create more positive attitudes in preschoolers
  • Perfect book for kids who love dragons
  • Solutions that help keep teeth clean and healthy

🍎 Title: Dragon's Breath
🍎 Author: Michael Gordon
🍎 Illustrator: Michael Gordon
🍎 Publisher: self-published
🍎 Date: October 6, 2018
🍎 Pages: 28

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Language Arts

Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon is a fun story written in rhyme.  We learn about Joe the Dragon and why he doesn't want to brush his teeth... dragons aren't supposed to have clean teeth!  As you read Dragon's Breath with your students, spend some time talking about Joe.  Why was Joe so unhappy?  What happened to his teeth when he decided not to brush them?  What happened to his breath?  How did George trick Joe into brushing his them?  How did Joe feel once his teeth were clean?  What can we learn from this story?  What do you think would happen if Joe hadn't brushed his teeth at all?

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Science Experiment

You will need:
  • jar with a lid (glass or plastic)
  • hard-boiled eggs (both cracked and uncracked)
  • dark soda such as Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste

Day One

Day one of this science activity focuses on background development and setting up the experiment.  If you've followed this lesson plan, you've already read Dragon's Breath and discussed why it's important for us to brush our teeth.  Do we want our teeth to look like Joe's?  No!  Brushing our teeth keeps them looking and smelling clean.  But what happens if we choose NOT to brush our teeth for a day or two?  What kind of problems can pop up?

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Eggs and teeth are similar in that they both have layers and contain calcium. They both have a protective outer layer that protects the delicate insides where nerves, blood vessels, etc. are located. Teeth are protected by enamel, and eggs are protected by a cuticle (or 'bloom').  Have you ever had a cavity? Have any of your students have cavities? Cavities happen when a hole forms in a tooth's enamel. When these protective coatings are broken or worn away, bacteria can get into the inner layers and cause infections. Ouch!

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Take a look at some unbroken hard-boiled eggs with your students.  Remind the students that these eggs represent our teeth.  What do they look like?  What do they feel like?  How do they smell?  Now take a look at some cracked hard-boiled eggs.  They are still clean and smooth, but the protective coating has been broken... kind of like what happens when we get a cavity.

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Many children enjoy drinking soda.  Heck, many adults do too.  Take your hard-boiled eggs... both cracked and uncracked... place them in your jar, pour your dark soda over them, and close the lid for safekeeping.  What do your students think will happen to the eggs?  Do they think the soda will affect the cracked and uncracked eggs differently?  If you have time, record their comments on an anchor chart.  Let the eggs soak in the soda for a couple of days or over a weekend.

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Two Days Later

After a couple of days, remove the eggs from the soda and let them air dry on a paper towel.  How did these eggs change?  They are stained and have dark spots.  How do they smell?  In some cases, the texture of the eggs may have changed if the soda dissolved the eggs' protective cuticle.  Take a closer look at the cracked eggs.  What happened to the cracks?  Unpeel some of the cracked eggs.  Oh no!  What happened to the egg whites?  

Note: Do NOT eat or taste these eggs.  Since these eggs haven't been refrigerated for a few days, you and your students can get food poisoning from them.

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

Someone in your class will almost certainly ask what would happen if you were to try to get rid of the stains.  That's why you need the toothpaste and toothbrush.  (If they don't ask, pose the question for them.)  Put some toothpaste onto the brush and 'brush' one of the eggs in the same way you'd brush your teeth.  Hmmm... some of the stains will come out... but not all of them!  What can be learned from this activity?

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

This dental health STEM activity can be modified to meet your learning needs.  You can introduce variables by using different types of eggs, liquids, and toothpaste.  Another variable you can change is the length of time the eggs are soaked in the soda.  What are some other ways you can modify this experiment?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

Learn why it's important to brush your teeth with Dragon's Breath by Michael Gordon & this STEM activity. What happens when you soak eggs in soda?

To learn more about Dragon's Breath, watch this quick book teaser by Michael Gordon:


Dragon's Breath can be purchased from the following retailers:
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