Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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

    Lab: Comparing Physical and Chemical Changes

    In this lab, students will analyze different scenarios in order to determine if a physical or chemical change has occurred. This lab experience will provide students with the opportunity to record observations, as well as improve their ability to differentiate between physical and chemical changes.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School

    Lab: Investigating the Physical Properties of Everyday Items

    In this lab, students will collect and analyze ordinary, everyday items in order to learn more about physical properties. Students will record data about each item, and then classify their items according to their properties.

  • 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, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Physical 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, Physical Properties, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | Elementary School

    Lab: Stains, Stains, Go Away

    In this lab, students will become more familiar with the scientific method as they investigate what type of cleaning product is best. Students will identify variables as they carry out a controlled test to compare the ability of different products to remove a ketchup stain.

  • Observations, Solubility, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Precipitate, Identifying an Unknown, Solute & Solvent, Graphing, Mixtures, 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, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | Elementary School, Middle School

    Lab: Introducing the Scientific Method

    In this lab, students will be introduced to and become familiar with the scientific method. They will apply their understanding by following the steps of the scientific method while investigating the amount of fat in potato chips.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Balancing Equations, Activity Series, Chemical Change, 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, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Mixtures, pH | Elementary School

    Demonstration: The Chemistry of Cheese

    In this demonstration, students will observe the chemical process that occurs when making cheese. Students will be become more familiar with fundamental chemistry terms while making important observations.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Balancing Equations, Activity Series, Chemical Change, 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, Acid Base Reactions, Balancing Equations, Activity Series, Chemical Change, 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, Inferences, Molecular Motion, Temperature | Elementary School

    Demonstration: How Does Temperature Affect Water Molecules?

    In this demonstration, students will observe models to better understand that temperature affects molecular movements.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Activity Series, Chemical Change, 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, Chemical Change, Inferences, 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, Chemical Change, Physical 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, 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, Density | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Understanding Density

    In this lesson, students will explain phenomena using their knowledge of how changes in mass and volume can affect the density of an object.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties | Elementary School

    Lab: Under the Sea: A Density Aquarium!

    In this lab, students will create a density aquarium. They will develop a written response comparing and contrasting the densities of the various objects within the aquarium. This lab is designed for students to work in groups after they have an understanding of density and other physical properties.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Activity: Junior Technologist of Floor Care

    In this activity students will take the role of the Junior Technologist of Floor Care, whereby students have the opportunity to study the properties of a chemical used for finishing floor tile. They will examine the tiles appearance to discover which chemical provides the best sheen and durability.

  • Observations, Scientific Method | Middle School

    Lab: Which Paint is the most Cost-Effective

    In this lab, students will practice implementing the scientific method in order compare the properties of different paint samples through a variety of testing. Students will research consumer reports, hypothesize, and conduct specific tests in order to determine which brand of paint is the most cost effective.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Physical 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, 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.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Acid Base Reactions, Chemical Change | 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.

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