Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Observations, Physical Properties, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lab: Determining Physical and Chemical Properties

    In this lab, students will determine the physical and chemical properties of several different substances through testing and observation. Additionally, they will further their understanding of chemical and physical changes, and their ability to recognize each type of change.

  • 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?

  • 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, Chemical Change, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Predicting Products | High School

    Lab: Activity Series of Unknown Metals

    In this lab, students will create an activity series of metals from a series of reactions involving unknown metals. They will then compare their activity series and a list of metals used in this lab (supplied by the teacher after data collection) to a published activity series to identify the unknown metals.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Electron Transfer, Electrons, Predicting Products | High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Metals in Aqueous Solutions

    In this activity, students will run simulated tests of various metals in aqueous solutions to determine the relative reactivity of these metals. A total of eight metals will be observed in various combinations with the corresponding metal nitrate solutions and hydrochloric acid. Students will interpret the data collected to construct an activity series of the elements used in this simulation.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Acid Base Reactions, Electron Transfer, Electrons, Predicting Products | High School

    Simulation: Metals In Aqueous Solutions

    In this activity, students will run simulated tests of various metals in aqueous solutions to determine the relative reactivity of these metals. A total of eight metals will be observed in various combinations with the corresponding metal nitrate solutions and hydrochloric acid. Students will interpret the data collected to construct an activity series of the elements used in this simulation.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Predicting Products | High School

    Project: Wastewater Recovery

    In this project, students will analyze test results in order to design a procedure for recovering certain metals from wastewater using their knowledge of the Activity Series of Metals and single replacement reactions. Based on their analysis, students will create a proposal for presentation in an effort to recommend the best plan for reclaiming the metals from the wastewater.

  • Observations, Inferences, Chemical Change, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | Middle School, High School

    Demonstration: What Causes Yeast to Ferment?

    In this lesson, students will observe and verify molasses sugar content as a result of its ability to ferment yeast. They will compare how molasses allows yeast to ferment with other sugar solutions as well as a sugar-free solution.

  • Observations, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Molecular Structure | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Determining a Chemical or Physical Change

    In this lab, students will follow a laboratory procedure that instructs them how to heat a small sample of copper(II) sulfate pentahydrate. Students will make observations in order to determine if a chemical or physical change occurs.

  • Observations, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Chemical Change, Lewis Structures | High School

    Lab: DIY Triiodide

    In this lab, students will investigate how iodine interacts with various substances. They will use color changes to justify whether a chemical or physical change is taking place. This activity is referenced in the October 2019 ChemMatters article called “Cash, Chemistry, and Counterfeiting.”

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

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Acid Base Reactions | Middle School, High School

    Lab: How do Sinkholes Form?

    In this lab students will learn how acidic groundwater reacts with limestone, causing it to erode. Sinkholes form when eroded limestone underneath the surface of the earth can no longer support the ground above it. Students will test how acid reacts with a variety of rocks and determine which rocks would be best to build a city on top of in order to reduce the chance of sinkholes forming.

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

    Activity: Lavoisier Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video about Antoine Lavoisier, who many consider to be the father of modern chemistry. They will answer questions as they learn about oxygen, hydrogen, and the first proposal of the Law of the Conservation of Mass.

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

    Lab: Penny Boats

    In this lab, students will explore Archimedes’ Principle and how it relates to density. Each student will be given a piece of aluminum foil and asked to design and build a boat that will hold as many pennies as possible without sinking when placed in water.

  • Observations, Catalysts, Classification of Reactions, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Demonstration: Catalyst in Motion

    This demonstration allows students to visualize how a catalyst can impact a chemical reaction. Students will also identify the products of a decomposition reaction, as well as determine if the reaction was endothermic or exothermic based on their observations.

  • Observations, Mixtures, Inferences, Intermolecular Forces, Scientific Method | High School

    Lab: Magic Milk

    In this lab, students will investigate the addition of detergent to a mixture of whole milk and food coloring. Students will attempt to explain the cause of their observations. Also, students will have the opportunity to manipulate the experiment and determine how other variables may impact the results.

  • Observations, Physical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Abe Goes Swimming

    In this lab, students will investigate surface tension by comparing the number of liquid drops of water and of alcohol that can be held on the surface of a penny. An optional opportunity to investigate surfactants is also provided.

  • Observations, Scientific Method | High School

    Lesson Plan: Is it Real Science or Pseudoscience?

    In this lesson, students will deepen their knowledge of the scientific method by learning how to determine if researched information is valid and if it should be used for gaining or furthering our scientific knowledge. Students will view the documentary “Mermaids: The Body Found”, a pseudo-documentary that was later reported to be a hoax by the Discovery Channel. They will then use a “Baloney Detection Kit” to analyze the authenticity of information presented through different media as scientific fact.

  • Observations, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change, Stoichiometry, Conservation of Mass, Limiting Reactant, Chemical Change | High School

    Demonstration: Understanding Limiting Reactants

    In this demonstration, the teacher will perform a series of reactions between acetic acid (vinegar) and varying amounts of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in order to inflate several balloons. Students will observe the reactions and analyze the quantities of reactants used as well as the results in order to understand the concept of limiting reactants.

  • Observations, Inferences, Conservation of Mass, Matter, Error Analysis | High School

    Lab: Investigating Mass Change

    In this lab, students perform seven different investigations in order to develop an understanding of conservation of mass.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Net Ionic Equation, Reduction, Activity Series, Redox Reaction, Oxidation | High School

    Lab: Fine Art of Redox

    In this lab, students will practice writing and balancing redox reactions and use the activity series to verify the outcome of a chemical reaction.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | High School

    Lesson Plan: Not Breaking Up is Hard to Do: the Properties of Glass

    In this lesson students will learn about the properties of glass, and relate those properties to the new engineering design of glass in a car.

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