Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Chemical Change, Physical Change, Activity Series, Redox Reaction, Chemical Change | 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, 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.

  • Solubility, Physical Change, Solute & Solvent | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Crystallization of Sugar

    In this demonstration, students will observe how to make rock candy in order to understand how sugar crystals form. They will be able to explain what a supersaturated solution is and how it is relevant to sugar crystallization.

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Physical Change, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties, Molecular Geometry | High School

    Lesson Plan: An Exploration of Intermolecular Forces

    In this lesson students will explore intermolecular forces, and their associated effect on physical and chemical properties. Students will experiment with volatile liquids to investigate their predictions about intermolecular strength.

  • 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.

  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Introduction, Physical Change, History, Lab Safety, 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.

  • 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.

  • Separating Mixtures, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Distillation | Middle School

    Activity: Distillation in Survival Mode

    In this activity, students will investigate methods for purifying water as they consider a survival based situation that requires clean drinking water. Students will investigate processes such as boiling and distillation, as well as review the phase changes within the water cycle.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Physical Change, Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Demonstration: Intermolecular Forces & Physical Properties

    In this demonstration, students observe and compare the properties of surface tension, beading, evaporation, and miscibility for water and acetone.

  • 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.

  • Physical Change | High School

    Activity: Magic Bubble (High School)

    In this lesson, students will create and interpret particle diagrams that represent elements and compounds at the molecular level. They will also describe the process of dissolving and create particle diagrams that represent mixtures at the molecular level.

  • Phase Changes, Physical Change | Middle School

    Lab: I Can’t Believe It’s Butter!

    In this lab students will learn about the phases of matter and phase changes while making a small sample of butter.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    Lab: Little Miss Muffet Investigation

    In this lab, students will work in cooperative groups to conduct a chemical reaction by mixing vinegar with milk. This reaction will cause the curds to precipitate and separate from the liquid whey. The lesson can be extended by experimenting with different types of milk or by using different acids.

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

  • Chemical Change, Melting Point, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Scientific Method | Middle School

    Lab: S'more Change Please

    In this lab, students will be able to demonstrate the difference between a physical and chemical change by making ooey, gooey, yet yummy S’mores!

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

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lab: Gummy Bear Investigation

    In this lab students will write a plan then conduct an experiment using the scientific method to observe the physical and chemical changes that a gummy bear will experience when placed in a solution of their choice.

  • Separating Mixtures, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Exothermic & Endothermic | Elementary School

    Lab: Super Suds

    In this lab, students will investigate an endothermic chemical reaction by combining baking soda, hand soap and citric acid. The students will be tasked with differentiating between chemical and physical changes during this experiment.

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