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Spellbound Episode 3 Bassam Shakhashiri Video Questions Mark as Favorite (0 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Chemical Change, History. Last updated January 29, 2024.


In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This third episode focuses on the childhood of Bassam Shakhashiri, whose early interest in colors led him to study chemistry and become a passionate chemistry educator and ambassador.

Grade Level

Middle School, High School


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Explain how childhood experiences can contribute to an individual’s scientific development.
  • Reflect on their own interests and role models.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of:

  • History of chemistry
  • Chemical changes


Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 10-20 minutes



  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • The Spellbound series of videos is about the childhood experiences that inspired important scientists to become scientists. They can help students understand that anyone at any age, anywhere in the world can be inspired by science. These videos would be appropriate at any point in the year and, as they are publically available, could easily be used as part of an emergency sub plan.
  • The running time of this video is about five minutes. As it is a short video and it moves pretty quickly, you may want to show it twice to ensure students can complete all the questions.
  • The student questions/answers are presented in sequential order in the video.
  • An answer key has also been provided for teacher reference.
  • The last three questions ask for students to reflect on the content of the video as it applies to their life. It could be interesting to have students share answers with a partner or with the class after they have had a few minutes to answer those questions.

For the Student



While watching the video, answer the following questions:

  1. Where did Bassam live as a child?
  2. What fascinated Bassam as a child?
  3. Why did Bassam choose to study chemistry in college?
  4. Who was Bassam’s influential professor at Boston University, and what class did he teach?
  5. How long has Bassam been teaching college chemistry, and where?
  6. What outreach effort did Bassam found?
  7. What does Bassam say about scientists communicating with the general public?

After you watch the video, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Bassam was very curious about colors as a child. What were you curious about or interested in as a child? Do you still have the same interest(s)? If not, what are you interested in now?
  2. Bassam tries to emulate the teaching approaches of a college professor who was influential to him. Who are two people in your life who you try to be like? What attributes of theirs do you admire and try to imitate?
  3. If you had the opportunity to ask Bassam one question (about anything – his work, his life, etc.), what would it be?