The Chemistry Basics and Measurement Quick Start Unit Plan Mark as Favorite (129 Favorites)
LESSON PLAN in Separating Mixtures, Density, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Introduction, Elements, Physical Change, History, Lab Safety, Molecular Motion, Accuracy, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, SI Units, Chemical Properties, Mixtures. Last updated August 11, 2021.
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.
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.
This unit plan supports students’ understanding of:
- Laboratory Safety
- Laboratory Equipment
- Accuracy and Precision
- States of Matter
- Molecular Motion
- Pure Substances
- Separating Mixtures
- Physical Properties
- Chemical Properties
- Physical Change
- Chemical Change
- Quantitative Chemistry
- Metric Units
- Unit Conversion
- Dimensional Analysis
- Percent Error
- 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.
- 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:
- Day One:
- Your own specific classroom information
- Ira Remsen Demo: Nitric Acid Acts Upon Copper
- Discussion of testable questions and experimental design
- Safety Rules and Guidelines
- Demo: Why Do We Have to Wear Goggles?
- Video: Safety Mindset
- Video: How to Dress for the Lab? And what about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
- Day Two:
- Define “Matter” and Basic Chemistry Vocabulary
- Classification of Matter
- AACT Classifying Matter Animation
- Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter
- Intensive and Extensive Properties
- Physical and Chemical Changes of Matter
- Evidence of a Chemical Change
- Activity: A Physical vs Chemical Challenge
- Activity: Real World Particle Diagramming
- Day Three:
- Day Four:
- Day Five:
- Day Six:
- Separation Techniques of Different Mixtures Lecture (settling and decanting, filtration, evaporation, distillation, magnetism, density, chromatography)
- Lab/demonstration options: Distillation or Distillation of Common Soft Drinks
- Density animation
- Lab/demonstration options: Colors of the Rainbow or Density Tubes
- Lab/demonstration options: Using Paper Chromatography or Black Ink
- Day Seven:
- Day Eight:
- Day Nine:
- Day Ten:
- Additional questions/problems related to the content of this unit plan are available in a “Question Bank” document to use for additional practice or to put together assessments. The Question Bank is organized by the 10 days of this unit plan. An Answer Key has been included as well.
- The following list of AACT resources can be used as culminating activities at the end of this unit:
- Math and Measurement: Get your students ready for a unit assessment with this lab, which allows students to practice introductory math skills that will be used in chemistry all year. This includes metric conversion, significant figures, scientific notation, dimensional analysis, density, percent error, accuracy and precision, as well as using lab equipment.
- In the activity, Lab Safety, You’re Fired!, students read an account of a laboratory tour that details numerous safety infractions. They are then charged with identifying the safety violations and determining which scientist working in the lab should be fired.
- Nanoscale & Self-Assembly: An option for an advanced culminating lab or extension for the unit could be this lab, which incorporates measurements, and dimensional analysis. Students determine both the diameter of one single BB and the length of an oleic acid molecule using simple measurements and volume/surface area relationships.
- The Chemistry Composition Challenge: Your students will be challenged to design a method to solve three chemistry problems with this lab. One problem requires students to determine the thickness of a piece of aluminum foil and compare its value to the actual one. Another has them determine the identity of an unknown metal by calculating its density. This resource includes extensive teacher notes to help you guide your students through this inquiry activity.
- The lesson, Captivating Chemistry of Coins will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of physical and chemical properties of matter by comparing the composition of different pennies. This is done by determining the density of pre- and post-1982 pennies which will be compared to the density of different metals.
- Students research an actual industrial chemical accident in the project, Chemical Disasters: Good Chemicals Gone Bad! by examining the chemicals involved including uses, hazards, chemical and physical properties.
- ChemMatters: If you’d like to increase your students’ scientific literacy while connecting dimensional analysis to the real world, have them read “Recycling Aluminum: A Way of Life or a Lifestyle?” from the April 2012 magazine or “Drivers, Start Your (Electric) Engines” from the February 2013 issue.