ACTIVITY in Polyatomic Ions, Chemical Change, Conservation of Mass, Precipitate, Conservation of Matter, Balancing Equations, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change, Conservation of Matter. Last updated January 20, 2021.
In this activity, students will learn how to count atoms and how to balance chemical equations using a simulation and games from PhET Interactive Simulations.
Middle School, High School
This simulation will help prepare your students to meet the performance expectations in the following standards:
- HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
- HS-PS1-7: Use mathematical representation to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.
- Scientific and Engineering Practices:
- Developing and Using Models
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- Balance a chemical equation.
- Understand that the number of atoms of each element is conserved in a chemical reaction.
- Recognize and explain the difference between coefficients and subscripts in a chemical equation.
- Translate between the written description of a chemical reaction and a symbolic representation.
This activity supports students’ understanding of:
- Chemical reactions
- Balancing Equations
- Conservation of Matter
- Chemical formula
Teacher Preparation: 10 minutes
Lesson: 45 minutes
- Computer, tablet, or Chromebook
- Student handout
- Balancing Chemical Equations Simulation
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- It is suggested that students work individually, and at their own pace through this activity. Instructions for working through the simulation are included on the student activity sheet.
- The accompanying activity also includes a “PhET Tips for Teachers” download with suggestion for using the simulation.
- See the student document below for background information, vocabulary, rules for balancing chemical equations, and sample problems.
- Here are some online videos that may help students balance chemical equations:
- Here are some alternate balancing chemical equations simulations and games suggestions:
For the Student
Download all documents for this activity, including the teacher guide, from the "Downloads box" at the top of the page.