Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Concentration, Titrations, Indicators, Equivalence Point, Chemical Change, Accuracy, Error Analysis, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Comparison of Vitamin C in Juice Drinks

    In this lesson, students will use a color-changing indicator called indophenol and a simplified titration method to determine if vitamin C is present in a variety of store-bought juices. The indicator solution will turn from dark blue to colorless once all the indophenol has reacted with vitamin C in the juices. Students will count how many drops of juice it takes to produce this color change in a 5-mL sample of indicator solution. The greater number of drops it takes to cause the color change, the less vitamin C is present in each drop. They will use their data to compare the relative amounts of vitamin C in the juices to a solution prepared from a vitamin C tablet.

  • Elements, Review | Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Chemistry Pyramids

    In this activity, students will use the periodic table, combined with math and logic to solve several chemistry themed pyramid puzzles. In a traditional pyramid puzzle, there is a relationship between the numbers, which is used to determine the missing numbers. In all of these chemistry pyramids, each element symbol is determined by the sum of the two atomic numbers of the elements directly below it. Students are challenged with determining the missing element symbols in each puzzle, but first must use a periodic table to find the atomic number for each element symbol appearing in the puzzle. This activity is a fun challenge for students and provides the opportunity to strengthen logic and reasoning skills.

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary, Periodic Table | Middle School, High School

    Simulation: What Type of Element Are You?

    In this simulation, students will take a nine question personality quiz to determine which of four types of elements best matches their personality. The accompanying student activity provides students an opportunity to reflect on why their answers led to their final quiz results and to consider what the "personality profile" of other types of elements not included in this quiz might look like.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Simulation Activity: What Type of Element Are You?

    In this activity, students will take a nine question personality quiz to determine which of four types of elements best matches their personality. They will then have an opportunity to reflect on why their answers led to their final quiz results and to consider what the "personality profile" of other types of elements not included in this quiz might look like.

  • Chemical Change, Error Analysis, History, Exothermic & Endothermic, Chemical Change | Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: The Chemistry of Casts

    In this lesson, students will learn about the history of the chemistry involved in creating orthopedic casts. Students will then work in small groups to conduct a hands-on experiment in which they will determine the optimum plaster of Paris to water ratio for model casts.

  • Observations, Mixtures, Physical Properties, Molecular Structure | Elementary School, Middle School

    Demonstration: Investigating Hand Sanitizer and Soap

    In this demonstration, students will consider the purpose of using both hand sanitizer and soap to wash their hands. They will observe a model of the interaction between hand sanitizer particles and virus particles, as well as between soap particles and virus particles to gain a better understanding of how soaps and sanitizers work.

  • Separating Mixtures, Mixtures, Physical Properties, Distillation | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Separating Mixtures

    In this activity, students will view an animation that explores different ways of separating a variety of mixtures. The separation techniques addressed in this animation include filtration, evaporation, distillation, and chromatography (focusing on paper chromatography). Real-world applications as well as particle diagrams of the separation processes are included.

  • Photosynthesis, Interdisciplinary | Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Algae – The Good, the Bad, and the Tasty

    In this lesson, students will learn about the chemistry of algae, while working in a small group to become an expert on a specific type of algae. Divided into four parts the lesson is designed for students to investigate the process of photosynthesis, learn about the variety of uses for algae as well as products that contain algae, and the harmful effects of algae, such as red tides. As a culminating task, student groups will each complete a short presentation.

  • Solubility, Observations | Elementary School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Paper Flower Blossoms

    In this activity, students will investigate solubility by using a combination of washable markers and permanent ink to color a paper flower. The petals of the flower will be folded, and then placed in a shallow dish of water. Students will be intrigued by the outcome as they observe several changes occur. Using their knowledge of several fundamental chemistry topics, student will explain their observations using evidence and modeling.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Solubility, Ionic Bonding | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Microscopic Wonder

    In this lab, students observe and describe the shape, size, and arrangement of salt crystals at various magnifications under a microscope and then compare the properties of each microscopically.

  • Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Chemistry Reading Reflection

    In this activity, students will read a short informational science text about chemistry in the real-world (either pre-selected by the teacher, or chosen by the student from a collection of articles) and will briefly summarize and reflect on what they read. This activity could be reused many times with different articles (or even other types of media, like videos) and would be easy to incorporate into a sub plan.

  • Renewable Energy, Heat, Temperature, Specific Heat, Interdisciplinary, Graphing | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Solar Cookers

    In this lesson, students will learn about the use of alternative cooking fuels that could replace burning wood, coal, or other smoke-producing materials to heat and cook food in developing nations, focusing on solar cookers. They will watch a video and read an article that provide a general overview of the need for alternative fuels. Then, in small groups, students will research, design, build, and test a solar cooker to determine if it is an effective method of cooking food in a developing nation. They will give a presentation to the class on their design, test results, and any improvements they would make to their initial design, and they will answer some reflection questions about the solar cookers made by their class and their role in the group project.

  • Identifying an Unknown, Chemical Properties, Solute & Solvent, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Local Water Analysis

    In this lab, students use simple pool test strips to collect water samples from local water sources, such as area faucets, pools, lakes, rivers, puddles, etc. They will compile all of the collected data to allow students to collectively make observations and ask testable questions. After determining a question of interest, groups of students will organize the related data, research relevant background information, form reasonable conclusions, and present their arguments.

  • Measurements, SI Units, Mole Concept, Physical Properties, Density | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Units of Chemistry

    In this activity, students will view an animation that explores the importance of including units to communicate the value of measurements effectively. The animation presents definitions, units of measurement, and measuring tools for physical properties that are commonly measured or calculated in chemistry class: mass, length, temperature, volume, amount (moles), and density.

  • SI Units, Mole Concept, Measurements, Physical Properties, Density | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Units of Chemistry Animation

    This animation explores the importance of including units to communicate the value of measurements effectively. It presents definitions, units of measurement, and measuring tools for physical properties that are commonly measured or calculated in chemistry class: mass, length, temperature, volume, amount (moles), and density. This animation was featured in the November 2022 issue of Chemistry Solutions. **This video has no audio**

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary | Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Fashionable Chemistry

    In this lesson, students will explore the characteristics of different types of natural and synthetic fabrics. Students will learn how synthetic fabrics are made and review the chemical formulas for various fabrics. Finally, students will demonstrate their knowledge by holding a chemistry fashion show.

  • Colligative Properties, Boiling Point Elevation, Freezing Point Depression, Concentration, Solute & Solvent, Boiling Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Graphing, Physical Properties, Heat, Temperature | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Simulation Activity: The Effect of Solutes on Boiling and Freezing Point

    In this activity, students will use a colligative properties simulation to investigate the effects of different solutes, and different amounts of those solutes, on the boiling point and freezing point of a solution. Students will see particle-level animations of boiling and freezing with different types and amounts of solutes, as well as graphical representations of the results of each trial.

  • Interdisciplinary, Polymers | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Puzzling, Twisted Fibers

    In this activity, students will attempt to solve clues related to the chemistry of fabrics. Starting at the center of the maze, students will fill in each word suggested by the 20 given clues. Answering each clue correctly will help students solve the riddle provided at the end of the activity. This puzzle can be used in the classroom as part of the Fabulous Fibers theme celebration for 2022 National Chemistry Week.

  • Molecular Structure, Covalent Bonding, Molecular Formula, Review, Atoms | Elementary School, Middle School

    Activity: Atom Catcher Game

    In this activity, students will make several different molecules out of four types of atoms: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen in an online game. In order to be successful, the student must move a beaker on the screen to catch the correct type and number of atoms needed to form a particular molecule. Students can score points by making as many correct molecules as possible in a given amount of time.

  • Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Matter, Elements, History, Introduction, Periodic Table | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Atoms: The Building Blocks of Matter Animation

    This animation explores the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. Students will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton. This animation was featured in the May 2022 issue of Chemistry Solutions. **This video has no audio**

  • Interdisciplinary | Elementary School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Discovering Entomology

    In this activity, students will first work in small groups on a card sort aimed to activate their prior knowledge about insects and attempt to match the name of several common insects with a corresponding scientific fact. Students will then watch a short video while answering several questions to discover more about the field of entomology.

  • Interdisciplinary, Graphing | Middle School, High School

    Simulation: Graphing

    In this simulation, students will be introduced to good graphing techniques and how to interpret data presented in a graph. They are introduced to the TAILS acronym (Title, Axes, Intervals, Labels, Scale) to help them remember how to set up a graph and the concepts of line of best fit, positive and negative correlation, and interpolating and extrapolating. Then students complete a six-question quiz on these topics.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Chemistry Kakuro Puzzle

    In this activity, students will use both math and logic to solve a chemistry themed kakuro puzzle. This puzzle differs slightly from a traditional kakuro by first requiring students to use a periodic table to find the atomic number for each element symbol appearing in the puzzle. Using the atomic numbers as starting clues, students then fill-in the empty squares with numbers 1-9 that sum to the value of the clue, but without reusing any digits. This activity is a fun challenge for students, and provides the opportunity to strengthen logic and reasoning skills.

  • Graphing, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Graphing

    In this activity, students will use a simulation to learn good graphing techniques, as well as how to interpret data presented in a graph. They will take a quiz in the simulation, and then have an opportunity to put their graphing skills to work and generate their own graph using sample data.

  • Density, Observations, Inferences | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Activity: Animation Activity: Density

    In this activity, students will view an animation that explores density on the particulate level. There are opportunities to make qualitative and quantitative comparisons between substances.

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