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This Quick Start Unit Plan includes all the materials that a teacher will need for the first 10 class meetings of the school year. Each day is outlined with teacher notes, and includes slide presentations as well as directions for demonstrations, activities and labs to use. The fundamental topics covered in the 10 days of lessons are: laboratory safety, laboratory equipment, experimental design, classification of matter, chemical properties, physical properties, chemical change, physical change, phase changes, separation techniques, dimensional analysis, unit conversions, factor label method, accuracy, precision, significant figures, and percent error calculations. This Quick Start Unit plan aims to help students to build a foundation of understanding, and master important topics before moving deeper into the chemistry curriculum.

Grade Level

High School


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

  • Distinguish between safe and unsafe behavior in the chemistry laboratory.
  • Understand the importance of following safety rules in a chemistry laboratory.
  • Responsibly follow safety guidelines presented in a chemistry laboratory.
  • Correctly identify and name common pieces of laboratory equipment.
  • Associate a hazard symbol with its meaning.
  • Understand the importance of hazard symbols.
  • Accurately use laboratory equipment to gather data.
  • Explain how the accuracy of a measurement will change depending upon the measuring tool used to measure.
  • Determine the correct measurement based on the markings on the device used.
  • Identify the uncertainty value for a measurement based on the markings on a measurement device used.
  • Distinguish between the states of matter at the particle level.
  • Explain, using examples how matter is different in one state versus another.
  • Identify examples of different states of matter.
  • Classify the three states of matter found in the laboratory by molecular level particle representations.
  • Identify differences in the particle representations to classify them as pure substances, both elements and compounds, as well as mixtures.
  • Understand fundamental chemistry vocabulary.
  • Identify whether a physical or chemical change has occurred.
  • Provide evidence supporting which change has occurred.
  • Identify physical properties of substances.
  • Identify appropriate methods for separating mixtures.
  • Define density, and complete appropriate calculations including for mass and volume.
  • Take measurements using metric units.
  • Calculate the percentage error of their results using both the experimentally determined value and the accepted value.
  • Convert very large and very small values into proper scientific notation.
  • Recognize the benefit of using scientific notation to solve large-scale problems.
  • Use the Factor Label Method (dimensional analysis) for mass, length, volume, temperature, and density unit conversion problems.
  • Convert between units of measurement using the Factor Label Method.
  • Understand the purpose of using dimensional analysis for converting between units of measurement.

Chemistry Topics

This unit plan supports students’ understanding of:

  • Laboratory Safety
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Accuracy and Precision
  • States of Matter
  • Molecular Motion
  • Pure Substances
  • Elements
  • Mixtures
  • Separating Mixtures
  • Physical Properties
  • Chemical Properties
  • Physical Change
  • Chemical Change
  • Quantitative Chemistry
  • Measurement
  • Metric Units
  • Unit Conversion
  • Dimensional Analysis
  • Uncertainty
  • Percent Error
  • Density
  • Significant Figures
  • Scientific Notation


Teacher Preparation: See teacher notes for daily outlines
Lesson: Ten 45–60-minute class periods (additional time may be added for student practice, assessment, and/or extra activities)


  • Refer to the materials list given with each individual activity.


  • Refer to the safety instructions provided with each individual activity.

Teacher Notes

  • This Quick Start Unit Plan has extensive teacher notes provided as a Word document for each day. Additionally, the same teacher notes are provided in the comments section of the PowerPoint presentation slides for each day. The notes contain helpful tips for the teacher, as well as links to AACT resources that will be used each day.
  • This unit plan is designed as a resource to be used by new teachers, or those with less experience teaching chemistry.
  • There is a student activity sheet for each day that has a lecture component that includes guided notes and practice problems. There are also student activity sheets for the AACT resources that are linked to this unit.

The following concepts are covered during each of the ten days: