Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Observations, Chemical Change, Polarity, Physical Change, 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, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Matter, Mixture, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle 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, Acid Base Reactions, Chemical Change | High School, Middle 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 | High School, Middle 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 | 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, Density, Measurements | High School, Middle 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 | High School, Middle 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 | High School, Middle 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, Chemical Change, Net Ionic Equation, Reduction, Activity Series, Redox Reaction, Oxidation | High School

    Lab: Fine Art of Redox

    In this lab, students will use the activity series to verify the outcome of a chemical reaction.

  • 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, Separating Mixtures, Balancing Equations, Percent Yield, Stoichiometry, Limiting Reactant, Mole Concept, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Error analysis, Error analysis | High School

    Lab: Limiting Reactant Lab

    In this lab, students react copper(II) chloride with aluminum to determine the limiting reactant. They then isolate one product to determine their percent yield.

  • Observations, Balancing Equations, Stoichiometry, Limiting Reactant | High School

    Lesson Plan: Limiting Reactant

    This lesson is intended to be used as an introduction to the concept of limiting reactants.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Solubility, Concentration, Precipitate, Identifying an Unknown, Molarity, Net Ionic Equation, Balancing Equations, Percent Yield, Stoichiometry, Limiting Reactant, Mole Concept, Dimensional Analysis, Graphing | High School

    Lab: White Lab

    In this lab, students use molarity concepts to review limiting reactant concepts mathematically, conceptually, and graphically. They can then carry out a follow up investigation to identify an unknown using concepts learned in the first investigation.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lesson Plan: What is Chemistry?

    In this lesson, students watch a video narrated by Bill Nye, and then complete a SOMA cube to enhance their perspective in the process of discovery.

  • Observations, Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Culminating Project, Matter | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Is a Picture Worth 1000 Words?

    In this activity, students will learn about early chemistry discoveries through a textbook reading as well as from a cartoon.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Interdisciplinary, History, Chemical Properties | High School, Middle School

    Lab: Top Secret

    In this lab, students will learn about the history of invisible ink and will have the opportunity to compare two types of homemade invisible ink recipes.

  • Observations, Naming Compounds | High School

    Activity: Ionic Compound Identification

    In this activity, students will practice naming and writing formulas of ionic compounds by looking at examples.

  • Observations, Density, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Mixtures | High School

    Lab: The Lovely Lava Lamp

    In this lab, students add food coloring to a mixture of oil and water and record their observations. They then add an Alka-Seltzer tablet, record their observations and answer a series of questions about the chemical and physical changes that took place.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Mixture | High School

    Lab: Test Tube Separation

    In this lab, students will mix four substances in a test tube and recreate the original four layers through chemical and physical means.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Redox Reaction, Electron Transfer | High School

    Lab: Test Tube Geology

    In this lab, students are introduced to experimental design and focus on collecting qualitative data.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Scientific Method, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Activity: How Do We Clean Up An Oil Spill

    In this activity, students simulate an oil spill and test different materials’ ability to “clean” the oil spill.

  • Observations, Reaction Rate, Reaction Rate, Chemical Change | High School, Elementary School, Middle School

    Demonstration: Simple Kinetics

    In this demonstration, students will see that different food dyes react with bleach at different rates.

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