Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: It's Alive

    In this lab, students will practice making and recording observations, analyzing data, and identifying chemical change. They will transfer dirt, germs, and bacteria from their hands onto a piece of white bread and observe the changes that occur during the following days. Students will analyze the results, make comparisons between clean and dirty samples of bread and learn about the importance of hand-cleaning.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, History, Matter | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: Ancient Chemistry Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video about the history of chemistry. They will answer questions while learning about the history of chemistry, starting with the discovery of fire, progressing through the various metal ages, and be introduced to the great philosophers.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change, pH, Chemical Change, Indicators | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Explorations of Baking Soda and Vinegar

    In this lesson, students complete a series of simple lab experiments to better understand chemical reactions as well as differentiate between chemical change and physical change. Students will also be introduced to the pH scale, and have the opportunity to understand how chemical reactions can be used in real-world scenarios.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Physical Change, Polymers | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Paper or Plastic?

    In this lab students will research and compare the physical properties of various types of plastic bags. The recorded data will be analyzed by students, and they will use the results to design a plastic bag to meet a given set of criteria.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lab: Changing Shape

    In this lab students will analyze the physical properties of different materials in order to investigate their elasticity. They will learn how to differentiate between objects that can easily change shape and those that cannot. Also they will see that some objects can change shape, but can also return to their original shape. As the students learn about material properties, they will also determine what materials can be recycled.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Conservation of Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: How is Chemistry Used in Your Everyday Life?

    In this lesson the students will become familiar with some ways that chemistry is present in their everyday lives. The teacher will read a book and show a short video about how a plastic bottle is made. Following these activities, students will interact with a variety of materials made of plastic, ultimately organizing them according to the recycling code printed on the bottom of each or by physical properties. Finally students will collect data and have an opportunity to construct a graph based on their data.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures | Elementary School

    Lab: Ferromagnetic Fluid

    In this lab students will investigate the properties of ferromagnetic fluid and magnetism. Students will also have the opportunity to complete research about magnetic properties to help answer analysis questions.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Polarity | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Colorful Milk

    In this demonstration, students will observe as the teacher creates several colorful mixtures. Using food coloring, water and milk, students will watch the colors swirl and mix. Students will have the opportunity to make a prediction about what will happen to the colors when a sample of soap is introduced to the mixture.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary | Elementary School

    Lab: Soil Permeability

    In this lab, students will learn about the draining properties of different types of soil and how it affects the type of plants that can grow in those soils.

  • Observations, Interdisciplinary, pH | Elementary School

    Lab: The pH of Soil

    In this lab, students will determine and compare the pH of different types of soil from their school, homes, or neighborhoods. Students will then decide what types of plants can grow in acidic or alkaline soils.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures | Elementary School

    Lab: Settle that Soil

    In this lab, students will learn about what properties constitute soil and how it is different than “dirt.” Students will also be able to distinguish the difference between sand, silt, and clay.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Make a Cake!

    In this demonstration, students will learn about chemical reactions by observing the differences when 4 small cakes are baked. Each recipe will differ slightly in that one important ingredient will be left out in 3 of the 4 mixtures. Students will observe and discuss what happens when things are missing or left out of a mixture and how that effects the chemical reaction.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Chemical Properties, Separating Mixtures | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Clean-Up Pond Pollution

    In this lesson, students will compare polluted and filtered water to observe how filtering can remove some kinds of pollutants. Students will also be asked to consider how people affect ecosystems and use the scientific method to conduct an experiment on polluted water.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Introduction, Matter, Mixture | Elementary School

    Activity: Sandbox

    In this activity the students will separate a mixture and classify objects by their physical properties.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Will it Float?

    In this demonstration, students will observe the relationship between the density of a solution and its impact on an object’s ability to float or sink. Uncooked eggs will be placed in a tap water sample and in a salt water solution so that students can make observations and compare the results in order to make a determination regarding the density value for each item.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Matter | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Comparing Density of Liquids & Irregular Solids

    In this lab, students will measure mass and volume, calculate density, and compare the density of given liquids and solids, inferring what causes objects to sink or float in a given liquid. 3-48

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Oxidation | Elementary School

    Lab: Apple's Oxidation

    In this lab students will learn about the chemical reaction, oxidation, using apple wedges. They will apply different substances to a number of apple wedges to determine if these applications have any impact on the oxidation process. Students will also use a control sample so that they compare their results with an apple wedge that has not had any substance added to it. Students will measure and record the time it takes to see the changes to the apple which indicate oxidation. 3-46

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Matter Can Taste Good!

    In this activity, students will be introduced to the general differences and organization of particles in each state of matter: solid, liquid and gas. They will have the opportunity to compare the samples and then will identify each state of matter during an edible activity.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lab: Gummy Bear Investigation

    In this lab students will write a plan then conduct an experiment using the scientific method to observe the physical and chemical changes that a gummy bear will experience when placed in a solution of their choice.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Acid, Acid Base Reactions, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: The Chemistry of Eggs

    In this lesson students will learn that vinegar can react with the Calcium in an egg shell to make it rubbery. First, the students will listen to the teacher read a book about eggs. The teacher will then put an egg in a jar with vinegar and let it set for two days. Students will make a prediction about what they think will happen to the egg, and then together they will investigate the final results.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Mixture | Elementary School

    Activity: Discovery Tubes

    This is a fun, visual activity for young students. It allows for understanding of fundamental chemistry topics, including mixtures, miscibility, density and viscosity while analyzing a handheld colorful toy.

  • Observations, History, Conservation of Mass, Measurements, SI Units | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Antoine Lavoisier Video

    This video tells the story of Antoine Lavoisier who many consider to be the father or modern chemistry. Lavoisier discovered oxygen and hydrogen and first proposed the Law of Conservation of Mass.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, History, Model of the Atom | High School, Middle School, Elementary School

    Video: Ancient Chemistry Video

    This video traces the history of chemistry from the discovery of fire, through the various metal ages, and finally to the great philosophers.

  • Observations, Melting Point, Phase Changes, Introduction, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Let's Get Physical About Water

    In this lesson, students will learn about the phase changes of matter. During the course of two days students will perform several short experiments in order to change the state of water and they will record their observations.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Introduction, Mixture | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: What is Density

    In this two-part lesson, students will learn about density through a teacher-led demonstration and a hands-on activity. The demonstration will give students the opportunity to observe the formation of a density tower made from common drinks. Students will then create their own density tower using simple ingredients, and then further investigate differences in density when solid objects are added to the tower.

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Grade Level: Elementary School

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