Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • 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, 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, 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, pH, 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, Chemical Change, Chemical Change | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: It's Alive

    In this lab, students will practice making and recording observations, analyzing data, and identifying chemical change. They will transfer dirt, germs, and bacteria from their hands onto a piece of white bread and observe the changes that occur during the following days. Students will analyze the results, make comparisons between clean and dirty samples of bread and learn about the importance of hand-cleaning.

  • 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, Chemical Change, Physical Change, pH, Chemical Change, Indicators | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Explorations of Baking Soda and Vinegar

    In this lesson, students complete a series of simple lab experiments to better understand chemical reactions as well as differentiate between chemical change and physical change. Students will also be introduced to the pH scale, and have the opportunity to understand how chemical reactions can be used in real-world scenarios.

  • 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, Physical Properties, Physical Change, Polymers | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Paper or Plastic?

    In this lab students will research and compare the physical properties of various types of plastic bags. The recorded data will be analyzed by students, and they will use the results to design a plastic bag to meet a given set of criteria.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lab: Changing Shape

    In this lab students will analyze the physical properties of different materials in order to investigate their elasticity. They will learn how to differentiate between objects that can easily change shape and those that cannot. Also they will see that some objects can change shape, but can also return to their original shape. As the students learn about material properties, they will also determine what materials can be recycled.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Solute & Solvent, Mixture | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: How Fast Does it Flow?

    In this lesson students explore the viscosity of different mixtures. They measure viscosity of different mixtures and then have the opportunity to design a mixture to attain a particular viscosity. Students will relate their lab experience to the application of viscosity in the real-world as they consider the differences in viscosity between different types of paints.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Polymers, Mixture, Scientific Method, Chemical Properties | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Exploring the Chemistry of Oil and Acrylic Paints

    In this lesson students learn about the chemistry of oil and acrylic paints. They make their own paint, and complete an experiment to collect qualitative and quantitative data through a series of tests. Students will also apply the concepts of physical and chemical change to the results of this controlled experiment.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Conservation of Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: How is Chemistry Used in Your Everyday Life?

    In this lesson the students will become familiar with some ways that chemistry is present in their everyday lives. The teacher will read a book and show a short video about how a plastic bottle is made. Following these activities, students will interact with a variety of materials made of plastic, ultimately organizing them according to the recycling code printed on the bottom of each or by physical properties. Finally students will collect data and have an opportunity to construct a graph based on their data.

  • 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, Physical Properties, Mixtures | Elementary School

    Lab: Ferromagnetic Fluid

    In this lab students will investigate the properties of ferromagnetic fluid and magnetism. Students will also have the opportunity to complete research about magnetic properties to help answer analysis questions.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Polarity | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Colorful Milk

    In this demonstration, students will observe as the teacher creates several colorful mixtures. Using food coloring, water and milk, students will watch the colors swirl and mix. Students will have the opportunity to make a prediction about what will happen to the colors when a sample of soap is introduced to the mixture.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary | Elementary School

    Lab: Soil Permeability

    In this lab, students will learn about the draining properties of different types of soil and how it affects the type of plants that can grow in those soils.

  • Observations, Interdisciplinary, pH | Elementary School

    Lab: The pH of Soil

    In this lab, students will determine and compare the pH of different types of soil from their school, homes, or neighborhoods. Students will then decide what types of plants can grow in acidic or alkaline soils.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures | Elementary School

    Lab: Settle that Soil

    In this lab, students will learn about what properties constitute soil and how it is different than “dirt.” Students will also be able to distinguish the difference between sand, silt, and clay.

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

    Demonstration: Make a Cake!

    In this demonstration, students will learn about chemical reactions by observing the differences when 4 small cakes are baked. Each recipe will differ slightly in that one important ingredient will be left out in 3 of the 4 mixtures. Students will observe and discuss what happens when things are missing or left out of a mixture and how that effects the chemical reaction.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Chemical Properties, Separating Mixtures | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Clean-Up Pond Pollution

    In this lesson, students will compare polluted and filtered water to observe how filtering can remove some kinds of pollutants. Students will also be asked to consider how people affect ecosystems and use the scientific method to conduct an experiment on polluted water.

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