Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • 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.

  • 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, Chemical Change | 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.

  • History, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Change | 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.

  • 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.”

  • Density, Physical Properties, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Chemical Properties, Graphing, Alloys | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: The Captivating Chemistry of Coins

    In this lesson, students will develop a better understanding of physical and chemical properties of matter by comparing the composition of different pennies. This is done by determining the density of different pennies which will be compared to the density of different metals.

  • Physical Properties, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Chemical Properties | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Activity: A Physical vs. Chemical Challenge

    In this activity, students will first complete a card sort to best categorize examples of change as physical or chemical change. Then they will compete in teams to identify whether given situations represent a physical change or a chemical change, or a physical or a chemical property.

  • Physical Change, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Redox Reaction | High School

    Demonstration: Understanding the Discrepant Reactivity of Copper in the Presence of Strong Acids

    In this demonstration, students practice their observation skills during the additions of different acids to two test tubes containing copper. The activity is structured to allow students to make thoughtful remarks about what they observe, using rich indicators of both chemical and physical properties and changes. In subsequent lessons on new concepts, students can reflect back on their observations to rationalize the discrepant results of the reactions in the demonstration.

  • 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.

  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Introduction, Physical Change, History, Lab Safety, Chemical Change, Measurements, Significant Figures, SI Units, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lesson Plan: Chemistry Basics Unit Plan

    The AACT High School Classroom Resource library and multimedia collection has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We searched through our resource library and constructed a unit plan for introducing the basic chemistry concepts to students: Laboratory Safety, Equipment, and Reports, Periodic Table Basics, Physical and Chemical Properties and Changes, Endothermic and Exothermic Changes, and Classification of Matter. These topics are very important for your students to master before they dig into other chemistry concepts. This unit is designed to be used at beginning of the school year.

  • Physical Change, Chemical Change, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Chemistry in a Bag

    In this lab, students will observe and identify chemical and physical changes contained inside a plastic bag. Students will also use this lab to understand the Law of Conservation of Mass.

  • 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.

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

    Lab: Chemical and Physical Changes

    In this lab, students will observe and analyze a number of examples in order to determine if a chemical or physical change occurred.

  • Phase Changes, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Chemical Change, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Project: Law of Conservation of Mass Comic Strip

    In this project, students will work in groups to create a comic strip that illustrates understanding of the law 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.

  • Density, Density, Chemical Change, Combustion, Chemical Change, Kinetic Molecular Theory | High School

    Demonstration: Liquid and Gas Burning Comparison

    In this demo, students will witness the burning of a substance in its gas and in its liquid states. They will carry out the demonstrations themselves, and compare the results of the two reactions.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change, Exothermic & Endothermic, Heat, Temperature | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Kitchen Reaction

    In this lab students will observe an endothermic chemical reaction involving baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid). Students will investigate the signs a chemical reaction has occurred (gas production, change in temperature). Students will perform the lab in an open system so they can see the change of mass due to gas production. This lab is a lead into the topic of conservation of mass. After the lab is completed, the teacher should do a demonstration of the exothermic reaction Hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide.

  • Chemical Change, Molecular Formula | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: Valentine's Day Chemistry

    In this lesson, students learn about the chemistry of love. They see chemical structures of compounds involved in the biological process of love and learn about some of the chemical changes associated with love.

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Subtopics: Chemical Change

Grade Level: High School

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