Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Reaction Rate, Chemical Change, Reaction Rate, Catalysts, Chemical Change, Experimental Design | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Investigating Fast and Slow Reaction Rates

    In this lesson, students will review the characteristics of chemical changes and then use a catalyst and an inhibitor to explore the reaction rate of the oxidation of iron.

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

    Lab: Mixture Separation Challenge

    In this lab, students investigate the composition of a given mixture. Using their content knowledge and a variety of provided materials, students are tasked with separating the mixture into its individual components.

  • Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Demonstration: Why Do We Have to Wear Goggles?

    In this simple demonstration, students will observe a reaction between an acid and an egg white and learn why is important to wear safety goggles in the lab. The reaction is similar to the damage that can be done to your eye if acid comes in contact with it.

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

    Lab: Comparing Physical and Chemical Changes

    In this lab, students will analyze different scenarios in order to determine if a physical or chemical change has occurred. This lab experience will provide students with the opportunity to record observations, as well as improve their ability to differentiate between physical and chemical changes.

  • Observations, Introduction, Lab Safety, Scientific Method, Graphing, Experimental Design | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Applying the Scientific Method to Stain Removal

    In this lab, students will explore the real scientific process by designing an experiment to solve a problem. Students will learn about basic lab equipment, safety, and the scientific process of trial and error while solving a common problem: What color of food coloring requires the most bleach to remove?

  • Physical Properties, Elements, Intermolecular Forces, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Polymers, Matter, Chemical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Project: The Chemistry of Toys

    In this project, students will study the chemistry behind a toy or novelty item of their choosing. They will look at the parts that make up their item and determine what materials each part is made of; the types of atoms, molecules, and bonds present in those materials; and their physical and chemical properties.

  • Observations, Lab Safety, Scientific Method, Graphing, Experimental Design | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Mentos and Soda Investigations

    In this lab, students will design their own experiment in which they manipulate a variable that relates to Mentos and soda. Students will generate a testable question, design an experiment, collect and analyze the data and present their findings.

  • Observations, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Specific Heat, Temperature, Heat of Combustion, Intermolecular Forces, Heating Curve, Boiling Point, Heat of Vaporization | Middle School, High School

    Demonstration: Cooking an Egg in Chemistry Class

    In this demonstration, students will observe the very high latent heat of vaporization for water by boiling water over a Bunsen burner in a paper cup to cook a boiled egg. The discussion can be extended to incorporate intermolecular forces to explain the unusually high boiling point of water, as well as heat of vaporization and specific heat capacity.

  • Observations, Solubility, Physical Change, Solute & Solvent, Precipitate, Identifying an Unknown, Chemical Change, Mixtures, Graphing, Error Analysis | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Chemicals, Chromatography, and Crime!

    In this lab, students will test “evidence” that has been collected from a crime scene. In order to determine if the victim was poisoned, students will perform a solubility and crystallization test on an unknown powder. Then, students will attempt to identify the culprit by using paper chromatography to analyze the lipstick from the potential criminals.

  • Observations, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | Elementary School, Middle School

    Lab: Introducing the Scientific Method

    In this lab, students will be introduced to and become familiar with the scientific method. They will apply their understanding by following the steps of the scientific method while investigating the amount of fat in potato chips.

  • Inferences, History, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Atomic Radius | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: Indirectly Measuring the Atom

    In this lesson, students will try to determine the radius of one circle and the total area of multiple circles on a piece of paper by indirect measurement. They will relate this to the experiment done by Ernest Rutherford in which he bombarded a gold foil with Alpha particles.

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

    Activity: Element Matching Puzzle

    In this activity, students will become more familiar with select elements from the periodic table. They will use the periodic table to determine the symbol for given elements, and recall any prior knowledge about each element. Then students will be challenged to solve a puzzle by organizing a set of cards that contain jumbled information about these elements. After all of the cards have been correctly organized, a secret message can be found.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 8 Helen Murray Free Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This eighth episode focuses on the childhood of Helen Murray Free, a former ACS president and pioneering woman in chemistry who developed self-testing diagnostic strips for diabetes and other diseases.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 7 Peter Agre Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This seventh episode focuses on the childhood of Peter Agre, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is noted for his work in the study of malaria, as well as scientific diplomacy and policy.

  • Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Race to Safe

    In this activity, students will be engaged in a kinesthetic activity to teach laboratory safety. They will be prompted with different laboratory safety and equipment scenarios and asked to demonstrate the correct safety protocols to follow.

  • Density, Physical Properties, Identifying an Unknown | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: The Shattered Glass Mystery

    In this lesson, students will take on the role of a Forensic Scientist to help solve a hit and run investigation. They will learn how physical properties of matter, such as density and refractive index, can be used to help identify evidence samples such as glass.

  • Review, Culminating Project, Molecular Structure | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Online Meeting Scavenger Hunt

    In this activity, students will work in teams on a virtual meeting platform to find as many objects as possible from a comprehensive scavenger hunt list within their homes during a given timeframe. The items on the list provided in this activity are related to organic chemistry topics, however the list can be easily modified for use with many chemistry topics.

  • Introduction, Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: ACS Chemical Safety Video: RAMP

    In this lesson, students will learn about a simple yet powerful tool for protecting themselves and their classmates in the lab, RAMP. It stands for: Recognize hazards; Assess risks; Minimize risks and Prepare for emergencies. Using a video, and multiple activities, students will become more knowledgeable and better prepared to assess risks and identify hazards in the lab.

  • Introduction, Review, Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Laboratory Equipment Bingo

    In this activity, students will play a Bingo game, crossing out the names of laboratory equipment on their Bingo card that corresponds to the pictures of equipment shown by the teacher. This will help students to identify common equipment found in a chemistry lab.

  • Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Experimental Design | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Understanding Specific Heat

    In this simulation, students will play the role of engineer in deciding which materials are the best candidates for a building project. They will calculate the specific heat capacity of various building materials to determine which ones meet the criteria for building an energy efficient home. Students will also do a cost analysis to determine which material to use in their building project. On the student activity sheet, they will answer additional conceptual and numerical questions related to specific heat capacity.

  • Density, Identifying an Unknown, Measurements, Scientific Notation, Error Analysis | Middle School

    Lab: A Chemistry Calculation Challenge

    Students will apply their knowledge to solve four challenging chemistry-based calculation problems involving mass, volume, density, and number of molecules.

  • History, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 1—A Sign on the Door: Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 2 —Finding Her Way: Kristala L. Jones Prather, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Kristala L. Jones Prather, Ph.D.

  • History, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 3—A Yellow Sweater: Bassam Shakhashiri, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Bassam Shakhashiri, Ph.D.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 4—When Girls Didn't "Do" Science: Mamie Moy

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Mamie Moy.

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