Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Conservation of Mass, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Law of Conservation of Energy | High School

    Activity: Building a Nuclide

    In this activity, students will construct a model of a nuclide and use this model to investigate why the mass of the nuclide is less than the summative mass of the individual nucleons (protons and neutrons). Additionally, the constructed nuclide will be used to help students conceptualize and differentiate between key lesson terminology (mass defect, strong nuclear force, and nuclear binding energy).

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

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

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

  • Periodic Table, Half Lives, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Activity: Why are Some Isotopes Radioactive?

    In this activity, students use periodic trends and data to make predictions about what makes an isotope radioactive. They will then verify or refine their predictions using a PhET simulation.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 8—The Winds of War: Helen Free, 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 Helen Free, Ph.D.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 7—Heroes Made the Difference: Peter Agre, M.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 Peter Agre, M.D.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 6 —Mentors Made the Difference: Nancy Jackson, 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 Nancy Jackson, Ph.D.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 5— A Born Chemist: Isiah Warner, 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 Isiah Warner, Ph.D.

  • Chemical Change, Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, 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.

  • Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Properties | High School

    Project: Working for NASA

    In this project, students will take on the role of a NASA employee on a mission to discover what resources humans need in order to survive on another planet inside of our solar system as well as an exoplanet outside of our solar system. Students will research the materials and resources needed to sustain life on Earth and compare these to another planet and exoplanet to determine if they can possibly be habitable and sustain life.

  • History | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 6 Nancy Jackson 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 sixth episode focuses on the childhood of Nancy Jackson, who was the 2011 president of ACS. She worked for the U.S. Department of State to create the Chemical Security Engagement Program and has been involved in research, scientific policy, and mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented minorities and women in science.

  • History | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 5 Isiah Warner 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 fifth episode focuses on the childhood of Isiah Warner, who is an African American chemistry professor and researcher at LSU. He has won awards for his decades-long teaching career and for the programs he founded to encourage and mentor African American students pursuing advanced chemistry degrees.

  • History | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 4 Mamie Moy 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 fourth episode focuses on the childhood of Mamie Moy, who was one of few women in her time to study chemistry and get a master’s degree. She has been a devoted professor for decades, is involved in outreach, supports K-12 science educators, and mentors young women pursuing science careers.

  • Chemical Change, History | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 3 Bassam Shakhashiri 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 third episode focuses on the childhood of Bassam Shakhashiri, whose early interest in colors led him to study chemistry and become a passionate chemistry educator and ambassador.

  • Interdisciplinary, Periodic Table | High School

    Project: Repurpose the Periodic Table

    In this project, students will take the principles governing the organization of the periodic table and apply them to a periodic table of their own creation. Students will choose a category of objects and organize them into a “periodic table,” establishing trends across a period and within a group and creating a poster to present their table to the class.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 2 Kristala L. Jones Prather 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 second episode focuses on the childhood of Kristala L. Jones Prather, who went on to become a chemical engineer and award-winning professor.

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

    Activity: Spellbound Episode 1 Ahmed Zewail 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 first episode focuses on the childhood of Ahmed Zewail, who went on to become the 1999 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.

  • Interdisciplinary, Electromagnetic Spectrum | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Animation: The Electromagnetic Spectrum Animation

    In this animation, students will learn about the electromagnetic spectrum, with a focus on the visible spectrum. It addresses the relationship between color, wavelength, frequency, and energy of light waves, as well as how an object absorbs and reflects certain wavelengths of light to contribute to the color we perceive.

  • Interdisciplinary, Electromagnetic Spectrum | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Activity: Animation Activity: Electromagnetic Spectrum

    In this animation, students will learn about the electromagnetic spectrum, with a focus on the visible spectrum. It addresses the relationship between color, wavelength, frequency, and energy of light waves, as well as how an object absorbs and reflects certain wavelengths of light to contribute to the color we perceive.

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary | High School

    Activity: Investigating the Chemistry under Your School

    In this activity, students investigate the earth chemistry under their school by examining what rocks or other materials are found there use geological maps. Students determine how the rocks are affected by surface conditions, like the weather.

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