Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • 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.

  • Physical Change, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Matter, Mixture | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Cooking with Conversions

    In this activity, students will be given a common homemade recipe for German chocolate cake with measurements in English units. They will be asked to convert the English ingredients list to metric units through scientific calculations. Students will also be asked to identify the ingredients as solid, liquid or gas. While reviewing the cooking procedures, students will classify certain steps as containing compounds or mixtures as well as identify whether chemical or physical changes are taking place. The culinary chemistry involved in this lesson should be introduced throughout the activity.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Is Air Matter?

    In this activity, students will conduct an investigation to discover whether or not air is a form of matter. Students will first gather data, and then make a claim. They will communicate their claim in writing, using their data to support their claim.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Describing Physical Properties

    In this activity, students will use their five senses to describe the physical properties of a variety of items. Students will also determine what state of matter the item is, and categorize it accordingly. Students will practice using vocabulary words as they record their observations in a data table.

  • Density, Chemical Change, Elements, Physical Change, Periodic Table, Review, Matter, Mixture | Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: Chemistry Basics: Crossword Puzzle

    In this activity, students will complete a crossword puzzle by solving each clue that is related to a basic, yet fundamental chemistry topic.

  • 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.

  • Mixtures, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Matter, Mixture | Elementary School

    Activity: Chemistry in the Kitchen!

    In this activity, students will describe the steps required to complete a recipe of their choosing. They will identify any physical and chemical changes that occur throughout the process.

  • Renewable Energy, Interdisciplinary, Conservation of Matter, Matter | Elementary School

    Lab: Reuse, Reduce and Recycle!

    In this lab students will explore ways to conserve natural resources. They will then have the opportunity to create their own recycled paper that can be used in the classroom.

  • Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Analyzing Root Beer Floats

    In this activity students will observe the states of matter while making a root beer float. They will also discover the differences between a solid, a liquid and a gas.

  • Periodic Table, Atoms, Matter | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: The Periodic Table of Elements

    In this lesson students will be introduced to the Periodic Table of Elements. Students will learn that matter is made of small particles called atoms, too small to see with the naked eye. They will also learn that there are more than 100 different types of atoms, which are presented on the Periodic Table of Elements.

  • Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Physical Change, Matter, Mixture, Separating Mixtures | Elementary School

    Activity: Creating Finger-Paint from Rocks

    In this activity, the students will explore the physical properties of different rocks. Students will have the opportunity to physically change the rocks, and make them part of a mixture in order to create finger paint.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Introduction, Matter, Mixture | Elementary School

    Activity: Sandbox

    In this activity the students will separate a mixture and classify objects by their physical properties.

  • Separating Mixtures, Density, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Matter | Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: The Castaway!

    In this activity, students use their knowledge of the properties of matter to create and/or design items needed for survival on a deserted island.

  • Density, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Matter, Chemical Properties | Elementary School, Middle School

    Activity: Astronaut on a Mission

    In this activity students will take on the role as a NASA employee on a mission to discover what resources humans need in order to survive on a planet outside of our solar system. Students will come up with a plan including a list of materials and resources needed to sustain life on another planet. They will need to compare each planet and determine which is most ready to support life.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Matter | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Comparing Density of Liquids & Irregular Solids

    In this lab, students will measure mass and volume, calculate density, and compare the density of given liquids and solids, inferring what causes objects to sink or float in a given liquid. 3-48

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Matter Can Taste Good!

    In this activity, students will be introduced to the general differences and organization of particles in each state of matter: solid, liquid and gas. They will have the opportunity to compare the samples and then will identify each state of matter during an edible activity.

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

    Animation: Density Animation

    "In this animation, students will visualize density on the particulate level. There are opportunities to make qualitative and quantitative comparisons between substances. **This video has no audio**"

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Introduction, Molecular Motion, Matter | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Introducing States of Matter

    In this lesson, students will investigate particle behavior in different forms of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Students will have an opportunity to examine a model of the particles in the different states of matter and will also participate in a kinesthetic demonstration of matter. They will also learn what makes the states of matter different from one another when changing from one form to another.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Sorting Buttons

    In this lab, students will investigate observable properties of matter. Students will use their knowledge of physical properties to create and separate mixtures of assorted buttons based on the characteristics of color, shape and number of holes.

  • Physical Change, Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Physical Change, Intermolecular Forces, Matter | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Sandy Beaches—A Foray into ‘Magic’ Sand

    In this lesson, students will investigate the properties of magic sand and learn about the concept of hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules. It also introduced students to the field of nanotechnology.

  • Physical Properties, Introduction, Matter, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Activity: Properties of Matter

    In this activity, students will focus on the properties of matter and distinguish matter by their physical properties

  • Density, Gas Laws, Matter | High School

    Lab: Pressure Bottle

    In this lab, students determine the relationship between volume and pressure of a gas and its temperature and address the common misconception that air does not have mass or density.

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary, Molecular Formula, Conservation of Mass, Conservation of Matter, Molecular Structure, Balancing Equations, Reversible Reactions, Chemical Change, Matter, Photosynthesis, Monomer | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Plant Chemistry

    In this lesson, students will explore a simple, but key, biochemical reaction: photosynthesis.

  • Density, Melting Point, Inferences, Elements, Periodic Table, Matter, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Mystery Metals

    In this lesson, students will make measurements, calculations, and inferences to help solve a mystery about the identity of an unknown metal.

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