Kitchen Chemistry - Middle School


This collection of AACT resources highlights all of the hands-on physical science and chemistry activities that are available in our middle school library, and require only tools and/or materials that are typically found in the kitchen. All of these resources include a list of required materials and detailed background information for teachers, or other adults, who are supervising the activity. There are also student activity sheets, and many include an answer key. There is an equipment list and a table of conversion factors available in the sidebar.
  • Resource lab acede7281e

    Lab

    Sweet Model of the Atom

    In this lesson, students will use different candies to represent electrons, protons, and neutrons to gain a better understanding of atoms, ions, and isotopes.

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    Lab

    Can it Float?

    In this lab, students will investigate the relationships between mass, volume, density and buoyancy in common objects. Students will be tasked with determining the volume of a variety of objects as well as interpreting the meaning of their buoyancy in water.

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    Lesson Plan

    Clean-Up Pond Pollution

    In this lesson, students will compare polluted and filtered water to observe how filtering can remove some kinds of pollutants. Students will also be asked to consider how people affect ecosystems and use the scientific method to conduct an experiment on polluted water.

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    Lab

    Comparing Density of Liquids & Irregular Solids

    In this lab, students will measure mass and volume, calculate density, and compare the density of given liquids and solids, inferring what causes objects to sink or float in a given liquid. 3-48

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    Giant Toothpaste

    In this demonstration, students will identify factors that indicate a chemical change has occurred while observing the production of giant toothpaste. This reaction uses simpler materials than those that are often used in the typical high school version of the Elephant’s toothpaste demonstration.

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    Demonstration

    Household Densities

    In this demonstration, students will make predictions about various household materials and whether or not each will sink or float when placed in water. Data will be collected and then used to calculate the density value of each item. Finally students will analyze the relationship between the density value and the observed outcome, and use their knowledge to identify unknown materials.

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    Lesson Plan

    How Fast Does it Flow?

    In this lesson students explore the viscosity of different mixtures. They measure viscosity of different mixtures and then have the opportunity to design a mixture to attain a particular viscosity. Students will relate their lab experience to the application of viscosity in the real-world as they consider the differences in viscosity between different types of paints.

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    Lab

    I Can’t Believe It’s Butter!

    In this lab students will learn about the phases of matter and phase changes while making a small sample of butter.

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    Lab

    Investigating Density within Lava Lamps

    In this lab students will make a simple yet spectacular lava lamp while focusing on the density of the components.

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    Demonstration

    Sinking Soda

    In this teacher led demonstration, students will compare their observations when unopened cans of diet and regular soda are placed in a large container of water. They will use their observations to help differentiate between several fundamental chemistry concepts: mass, volume, and density.

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    Demonstration

    What Causes Yeast to Ferment?

    In this lesson, students will observe and verify molasses sugar content as a result of its ability to ferment yeast. They will compare how molasses allows yeast to ferment with other sugar solutions as well as a sugar-free solution.

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    What is Temperature?

    In this demonstration, students will observe food dye mixing with water at different temperatures.

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    Demonstration

    Will it Float?

    In this demonstration, students will observe the relationship between the density of a solution and its impact on an object’s ability to float or sink. Uncooked eggs will be placed in a tap water sample and in a salt water solution so that students can make observations and compare the results in order to make a determination regarding the density value for each item.

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    Demonstration

    EGGsperiment

    In this demonstration, students will learn how temperature change affects air pressure, while observing an egg getting sucked into a bottle without being touched!

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    Lab

    Mega Marshmallows

    In this lab, students will investigate the Kinetic Molecular Theory and particle motion while experimenting with a marshmallow. Students will observe how an increase in kinetic energy will cause particles to increase in motion. This concept will be extended into a discussion about additional real world thermal expansion examples.

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    Demonstration

    Comparing Rates of Reaction

    In this demonstration, students observe the effect of temperature, concentration, and particle size on the rate of a chemical reaction.

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    Activity

    Cooking with Conversions

    In this activity, students will be given a common homemade recipe for German chocolate cake with measurements in English units. They will be asked to convert the English ingredients list to metric units through scientific calculations. Students will also be asked to identify the ingredients as solid, liquid or gas. While reviewing the cooking procedures, students will classify certain steps as containing compounds or mixtures as well as identify whether chemical or physical changes are taking place. The culinary chemistry involved in this lesson should be introduced throughout the activity.

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    Lab

    Apple's Oxidation

    In this lab students will learn about the chemical reaction, oxidation, using apple wedges. They will apply different substances to a number of apple wedges to determine if these applications have any impact on the oxidation process. Students will also use a control sample so that they compare their results with an apple wedge that has not had any substance added to it. Students will measure and record the time it takes to see the changes to the apple which indicate oxidation. 3-46

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    Soft Eggs

    In this demonstration, students will first observe a reaction between vinegar (acetic acid) and an egg shell (calcium carbonate) to produce a naked egg. Using these eggs, student will analyze how certain substances can move through a membrane and also determine if the membrane is affected.

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    Lab

    Teeth Eggsperiment!

    In this lab students will observe and analyze how different drinks can stain an egg’s shell. They will then associate the results with how these drinks can stain their teeth.

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    Lab

    Coffee Creamer Ice Cream

    In this lab, students will investigate how dissolving salt (sodium chloride) in water changes the freezing point of the solution. While investigating this, they will make ice cream from small coffee creamer cups.

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    Lab

    Effect of Salt Concentration on Plants

    In this lab, students will observe how salt concentration can affect the structure of a potato tuber.

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    Lab

    Freezing Ice Cream

    In this lab, students will investigate changing states of matter, chemical reactions, and the properties of ice and salt while creating their own ice cream.

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    Lab

    Lemon Ice

    This activity explores the interaction between salt and water (ice) as a way to further investigate their impact on the state of matter of a substance. Students will use salt and ice to create a slushy lemonade drink without the use of a freezer. They will learn through this hands-on experiment how salt and ice can rapidly cool a liquid.

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    Lab

    Winter Crystals

    In this lab, students will create a supersaturated solution by dissolving borax in boiling water. They will create a snowflake using pipe cleaner to suspend in the solution, which will serve as a nucleation site for crystallization as the solution cools and remains undistributed overnight. This lab gives students an opportunity to experience the exciting crystallization process and become more familiar with an engaging chemistry spectacle!

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    Lab

    Can a Cabbage Distinguish an Acid from a Base?

    In this lab, students will first determine what colors the cabbage indicator turns in acidic, neutral, and basic solutions.

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    Lab

    Analyzing a Lava Lamp

    In this lab, students create a mixture of oil, water and food coloring, and then add an Alka-Seltzer tablet, to create a homemade lava lamp. Student will record their observations during each step of the process and answer follow-up questions about the chemical and physical changes that took place.

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    Activity

    Color-Works in a Jar

    Students will be using three ingredients to create a liquid color-works mixture in a jar. This is a fun chemistry project to do with young elementary students around the 4th of July or New Year’s Eve to get the children excited about fireworks.

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    Lab

    Condensation

    In this lab, students will explore the process of condensation. Students will investigate how water vapor condenses, and then they will conduct a comparison test to see if cooling water vapor has an effect on the rate of condensation.

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    Lab

    Greenhouse Gas Simulation

    In this lab, students will create two simulations of the Earth’s atmosphere. They will compare a control model with a one that has an increased presence of carbon dioxide gas in order to analyze how this effects temperature. They will also complete research in order to learn more about the makeup of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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    Activity

    How Do We Clean Up An Oil Spill

    In this activity, students simulate an oil spill and test different materials’ ability to “clean” the oil spill.

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    Lab

    Investigating Black Ink

    In this lab, students will discover that black ink is a mixture composed of a several different pigments through a chromatography investigation.

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    Lab

    Salad Dressing Science: Emulsions

    In this lab, students mix polar and nonpolar substances and then add various emulsifiers to encourage the mixing of the two substances. They use ingredients in salad dressing to relate science to real life scenarios.

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    Activity

    Tie Dye

    In this activity, students make tie-dye shirts and complete a worksheet about a reading from ChemMatters about how dyes work. It gives students the opportunity to apply chemistry to everyday life.

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    Lab

    Top Secret

    In this lab, students will learn about the history of invisible ink and will have the opportunity to compare two types of homemade invisible ink recipes.

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    Lesson Plan

    Watch the Baby! Superabsorbent Polymer

    In this lesson, students will learn about how polymers, specifically superabsorbent polymers, work. Through lab activities, students will investigate polymer properties.

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    Lab

    Plop, Fizz: How to Affect the Rate of a Chemical Reaction

    In this lesson, students will react Alka-Seltzer tablets with water. By varying the temperature of the water, particle size of the Alka-Seltzer, and concentration of the Alka-Seltzer they can see the effect on the rate and strength of the chemical reaction.

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    Simple Kinetics

    In this demonstration, students will see that different food dyes react with bleach at different rates.

  • Resource lab acede7281e

    Lab

    Alka-Seltzer Rockets

    In this lab, students will conduct a chemical reaction that will be used to launch a rocket.

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    Comparing Chemical Reactions

    In this demonstration, the teacher will perform two chemical reactions, one will be between acetic acid (vinegar) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and the other will be between Alka-Seltzer and water. Both reactions will produce gas and will be conducted in a Ziploc bag, causing it to inflate. Students will observe the reactions and analyze the results in order to understand indicators of chemical change. Students will also determine that these are both endothermic reactions based on their observations.

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    Demonstration

    Fire Extinguisher

    In this demonstration, students will observe a chemical reaction, and see how the product can be used to extinguish a fire.

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    Demonstration

    Inflating a Balloon with Chemistry

    In this demonstration, the teacher will perform a reaction between acetic acid (vinegar) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in order to inflate a balloon and to introduce the concept of a chemical reaction to students. Students will observe the reaction, and identify indicators of chemical change as well as discuss the different types of matter that are involved.

  • Resource demonstration 4628b202f8

    Demonstration

    Investigating Gas Density

    In this demonstration, students will observe a reaction between baking soda and vinegar in the presence of a burning candle. The initial environment has plenty of oxygen present in order to sustain the candle’s flame; however the reaction will produce carbon dioxide which will cause the lit candle to extinguish. Students will analyze the outcome and compare the presence of the gases in the container and make determinations about the densities of each.

  • Resource lab acede7281e

    Lab

    Chemistree

    In this lab, students will prepare a solution to observe a physical change.

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    Lab

    The Perfect Kool-Aid Concentration

    In this lab, the students will investigate how the concentration of a solution affects its properties such as color and taste.