Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties | Elementary School

    Lab: Under the Sea: A Density Aquarium!

    In this lab, students will create a density aquarium. They will develop a written response comparing and contrasting the densities of the various objects within the aquarium. This lab is designed for students to work in groups after they have an understanding of density and other physical properties.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 1: Safety Mindset

    The chemistry lab is an amazing place! Through experiments and demonstrations your high school students have been discovering that chemistry is more than just a collection of facts and formulas-- it’s a way of observing and understanding the very real properties of matter all around them. However, the lab can also be a dangerous place. Contrary to what your students might have seen in films and TV, safety is a core value of chemistry—it is essential to everything they do in the lab. It begins with their mindset, the attitudes and beliefs they bring to class with them every day. Use this video to introduce your students to elements of safe importance of safety mindset in the chemistry lab.

  • Concentration, Identifying an Unknown, Molarity, Balancing Equations, Classification of Reactions, Chemical Change | High School

    Lab: An Environmental Impact Study

    In this lab, students will test a water sample which comes from a local zoo, where, it is reported that many bird eggs are not hatching. Students will test the water for the presence of multiple ions. Once the type of ion in the water is determined, students will write balanced equations to illustrate their findings. Students will also conduct a serial dilution to determine the concentration, or molarity, of the ion in the water sample. This molarity will be compared to known values to determine if the materials in the water are at an unhealthy level.

  • Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: A Physical vs. Chemical Challenge

    In this activity, students will first complete a card sort to best categorize examples of change as physical or chemical change. Then they will compete in teams to identify whether given situations represent a physical change or a chemical change, or a physical or a chemical property.

  • Renewable Energy, Culminating Project | High School

    Project: Sustainable Energy Evaluation

    In this project, students will develop a presentation to compare the pros and cons of a sustainable resource. The explanation will involve researching the cost and benefits of the resource and analyzing if the resource should continue to be used.

  • Lab Safety | Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: Super Safety Scientists

    In this activity, students will brainstorm ideas for keeping people safe during lab activities and design personal protective equipment (PPE) suitable for a given situation.

  • Density, Concentration, Solute & Solvent | High School

    Lab: Test Tube Challenge

    In this lab, students will be challenged to create a density column, consisting of three distinct layers of sugar-water solution. This is an inquiry lab, where the students must apply their understanding of density and concentration in order to devise a successful plan for creating the column correctly.

  • Physical Properties, Lab Safety, Chemical Properties | High School

    Activity: Analyzing & Creating Safety Labels

    In this activity, students will understand and interpret the color and number symbols on an NFPA Safety Diamond and then apply their knowledge to interpreting a label for chemicals. Students will also demonstrate an understanding of the safety precautions recommended for safe handling of specific chemicals as indicated by the diamond.

  • History, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Subatomic Particles | High School

    Demonstration: The Hoopla about Atoms

    In this demonstration, students use a hula hoop that has a ball in the center (hung from a string) to simulate Rutherford’s gold foil experiment.

  • Interdisciplinary, Photosynthesis | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Investigating Photosynthesis

    In this lesson, students will build knowledge through reading an assigned passage, as well as analyze evidence produced from a teacher led demonstration to better understand the process of photosynthesis.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, Review | High School, Middle School

    Project: Create a Chemistry App

    In this project, students will use Google accounts to create chemistry-themed apps, with no programming required. They will create a Google Drive spreadsheet containing scientific information, and link it to a free account on Glideapps.com. They will personalize the app on the Glideapps website. The resulting app will be available to view on devices that have the correct link.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Lab Safety, You're Fired!

    In this activity, students will read an account of a laboratory tour which details numerous safety infractions. They will be charged with identifying the safety violations and determining which scientist working in the lab should be fired. This activity is designed to be used after both lab safety and Claim, Evidence, Reasoning framework has been introduced.

  • Chemical Change, Physical Change, Activity Series, Redox Reaction, Chemical Change | High School

    Demonstration: Understanding the Discrepant Reactivity of Copper in the Presence of Strong Acids

    In this demonstration, students practice their observation skills during the additions of different acids to two test tubes containing copper. The activity is structured to allow students to make thoughtful remarks about what they observe, using rich indicators of both chemical and physical properties and changes. In subsequent lessons on new concepts, students can reflect back on their observations to rationalize the discrepant results of the reactions in the demonstration.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Lucky Seven

    In this activity, students will use the periodic table and the clues provided to identify element names. Students will then attempt to find the element names that are hidden n the puzzle.

  • Physical Properties, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Activity: Solving Problems like a Scientist

    In this activity, students will analyze several scenarios in order to better understand and apply their knowledge of physical and chemical properties.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Activity: Junior Technologist of Floor Care

    In this activity students will take the role of the Junior Technologist of Floor Care, whereby students have the opportunity to study the properties of a chemical used for finishing floor tile. They will examine the tiles appearance to discover which chemical provides the best sheen and durability.

  • Observations, Scientific Method | Middle School

    Lab: Which Paint is the most Cost-Effective

    In this lab, students will practice implementing the scientific method in order compare the properties of different paint samples through a variety of testing. Students will research consumer reports, hypothesize, and conduct specific tests in order to determine which brand of paint is the most cost effective.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Matter, Mixture, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Cupcake Conversions, Bench to Bakery

    This activity will help to reinforce the importance of scientific measurement and apply it to the introduction of chemical reactions. Using an example of baking a single batch of cupcakes, students will plan for a larger production scale in a commercial bakery. This will help to introduce the idea of producing a reaction at the lab bench and converting it to mass production. In addition this activity investigates how chemistry is used in everyday life and challenges students to consider potentials errors that may occur when completing chemical reactions in the kitchen.

  • Interdisciplinary, Polymers, Culminating Project | High School, Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Cleaning-up the Plastic Island

    In this lesson, students will develop an understanding of the chemistry of plastics and apply their knowledge in order to engineer a cost effective and environmentally friendly method to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

  • Solubility, Physical Change, Solute & Solvent | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Crystallization of Sugar

    In this demonstration, students will observe how to make rock candy in order to understand how sugar crystals form. They will be able to explain what a supersaturated solution is and how it is relevant to sugar crystallization.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 2: Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

    Preparation and planning are key to working in the chemistry lab. To be prepared, your students must understand the hazards of any chemicals they will be working with. The place to find that information is the Safety Data Sheet or SDS. The SDS provides detailed information about the properties of a chemical, its hazards, and how to protect yourself from those hazards. Use this video, to guide your students through 16 sections of the SDS for isopropyl alcohol to demonstrate importance of SDS information.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 3: How to Dress for the Lab? And what about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

    Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for short is one of the main ways for you and your students to stay protected from injury in the lab. PPE includes things like goggles, gloves, lab coats or aprons. These are designed to protect eyes, hands and skin, as well as clothing, from exposure to chemicals. PPE is the most obvious way of preventing contact with chemicals--but it is not the first line of defense. Use these video to teach your students that before they put on any PPE, why they should dress properly for lab.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 4: Preparing for Emergencies

    There is an old saying that you should always plan for the best, but prepare for the worst. This is good advice in the lab as well. Use this video to teach your students about two lab emergencies that carry a high risk of injury--spills and fires. The videos describes concrete steps to prevent these emergencies and goes over some of the safety equipment used to deal with them.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 5: RAMP (For Students)

    Use this video to teach your students a simple yet powerful tool for protecting you and your classmates in the lab. The tool is called RAMP. RAMP stands for: Recognize hazards; Assess risks; Minimize risks and Prepare for emergencies.

  • Lab Safety | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Video 6: RAMP (For Teachers)

    As a teacher, there are steps you can take to make sure your students are as safe as possible while exploring and experimenting in the lab. In this video, we discuss some ideas to help you to set up a safe lab experiment. We use RAMP, the acronym for lab safety. RAMP stands for Recognize hazards; Assess risks; Minimize risks and Prepare for emergencies. RAMP is a simple yet powerful tool to help you prepare for and safely carry out any lab activity with your students.

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