Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Physical Properties, Physical Change, Culminating Project, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Mixture, Chemical Properties, Chemical Structure | High School

    Project: Analyze a Family Recipe

    In this project, students will select a family recipe, or a favorite recipe to investigate. They will analyze several of the ingredients in order learn more about the chemistry of each one, as well as their purpose in the recipe. Additionally, students will examine several ingredient interactions to learn more about the chemistry of cooking.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Review, Culminating Project, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Exothermic & Endothermic, Calorimetry, Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Mole Concept, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Law of Conservation of Energy, Chemical Properties, Enthalpy, Graphing | High School

    Project: Handwarmer Design Challenge

    In this project, students will use their knowledge of thermodynamics to design a handwarmer for a manufacturing company that can maintain a temperature of 30-40°C for at least 5 minutes and is designed for the average human hand. Students will create a final product after rounds of testing and an advertising poster that summarizes the results of their testing and promotes their design.

  • Polymers, Interdisciplinary, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties

    Video: Ingenious Video 10: Oversexed Moths are Ruining Apples for Everyone

    Codling moths may look harmless, but their larvae wreak havoc in orchards, burrowing into fruit and eating them from the inside out. Pesticides have always been the solution to the old “worm in the apple” problem, but pesticides kill all the insects in the field, even the good ones. Instead of pesticides, farmers may soon use pheromones, those scented chemical messages animals release at mating time. Spreading synthetic, species-specific pheromones keeps male codling moths from finding females to mate with. No mating means no eggs, no larvae, and no more bad apples. Scaling up agricultural pheromones has proved difficult, but innovative approaches to pheromone production (using yeast cells) and distribution (with the help of customized weather stations) are starting to make it happen.

  • Polymers, Interdisciplinary, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: Oversexed Moths Are Ruining Apples for Everyone Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video Oversexed Moths are Ruining Apples for Everyone from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates how the larvae of codling moths wreak havoc in orchards—burrowing into fruit and eating them from the inside out. Scientists are developing synthetic, species-specific pheromones as an alternative to pesticides. Pheromones are scented chemical messages that animals release at mating time and can help to prevent male codling moths from finding females to mate with. No mating means no eggs, no larvae and no more bad apples!

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Solubility, Physical Change, Precipitate, Identifying an Unknown, Chemical Change, Indicators, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lab: Using Qualitative Analysis to Identify Household Compounds

    In this lab, students will be introduced to common laboratory techniques, safety procedures, lab reagents, and terminology, all while identifying unknown household substances. Students will learn how to use qualitative analysis techniques as a systematic way to identify unknown materials. As part of this process, they will practice careful observation and documentation, as well as identifying relevant physical and chemical properties and changes, including solubility, color change, gas formation, and precipitation of solids.

  • Physical Properties, Identifying an Unknown, Indicators, Chemical Properties, pH | High School

    Lab: Pigment pH Puzzles

    In this lab, students will use their scientific detective skills to determine the identity of pigments used in various types of pH test strips based on how they each interact with several solutions of different pH values.

  • Physical Properties, Polymers, Interdisciplinary, Lab Safety, Polymers, Heat, Temperature, Chemical Properties | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: This Sandwich Will Save Your Life in an Arc Flash Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, This Sandwich will Save your life in an Arc Flash, from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates the composite fabrics that protect lives of many people, like industrial workers, firefighters, and soldiers. When these workers encounter a fiery situation, they rely on protective clothing, designed using multiple layers of chemistry, to keep them safe.

  • Physical Properties, Polymers, Interdisciplinary, Lab Safety, Heat, Temperature, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 3: This Sandwich Will Save Your Life in an Arc Flash

    It’s never fun when your clothes catch on fire. And while “stop, drop, and roll” may be a good idea sometimes, in more extreme cases, you need a better plan. Every day, industrial workers, firefighters, and soldiers risk fiery situations that might seem hard to imagine. In an arc flash event, for one, temperatures can jump to metal-melting levels in milliseconds. How can anyone possibly survive that? Well, take a tip from a club sandwich, because it’s all about the layers. The composite fabrics that protect life and limb in these situations rely on some incredible, multilayered chemistry, including the ability to quickly form a protective carbonaceous crust around the wearer.

  • Physical Properties, Lab Safety, Chemical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Activity: ACS Chemical Safety Video Questions

    In this activity, students will learn about safety, a core value of chemistry, through watching related videos produced by the American Chemical Society, Students will complete guided notes and questions during the activity. This chemical safety video series includes five videos: Safety Mindset, Safety Data Sheets, How to Dress for the Lab, and PPE, Preparing for Emergencies, and RAMP (Recognize hazards, Assess risks, Minimize risks, Prepare for emergencies).

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Solubility, Identifying an Unknown, Polyatomic Ions, Chemical Change, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Chemical Properties, Experimental Design | High School

    Lab: Determining the Composition of Bridge Straw Stalactites

    In this lab, students will investigate “straws” that hang from a local bridge, and then determine various tests that can help to determine their chemical composition. Evaluating both the test results, as well as given information students will then make a claim about the composition, while providing evidence and supporting it with reasoning.

  • Separating Mixtures, Density, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Introduction, Elements, Physical Change, History, Lab Safety, Chemical Change, Molecular Motion, Accuracy, Dimensional Analysis, Measurements, Scientific Notation, Significant Figures, SI Units, Chemical Properties, Mixtures | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Chemistry Basics and Measurement Quick Start Unit Plan

    This Quick Start Unit Plan includes all the materials that a teacher will need for the first 10 class meetings of the school year. Each day is outlined with teacher notes, and includes slide presentations as well as directions for demonstrations, activities and labs to use. The fundamental topics covered in the 10 days of lessons are: laboratory safety, laboratory equipment, experimental design, classification of matter, chemical properties, physical properties, chemical change, physical change, phase changes, separation techniques, dimensional analysis, unit conversions, factor label method, accuracy, precision, significant figures, and percent error calculations. This Quick Start Unit plan aims to help students to build a foundation of understanding, and master important topics before moving deeper into the chemistry curriculum.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Physical Change, Chemical Change, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lab: Determining Physical and Chemical Properties

    In this lab, students will determine the physical and chemical properties of several different substances through testing and observation. Additionally, they will further their understanding of chemical and physical changes, and their ability to recognize each type of change.

  • Physical Properties, Elements, Intermolecular Forces, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Polymers, Matter, Chemical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Project: The Chemistry of Toys

    In this project, students will study the chemistry behind a toy or novelty item of their choosing. They will look at the parts that make up their item and determine what materials each part is made of; the types of atoms, molecules, and bonds present in those materials; and their physical and chemical properties.

  • Molecular Structure, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Chemistry of Vaccines

    In this lesson, students will read the article, Can a Vaccine End the Pandemic? by Wynne Parry from the December 2020 edition of ChemMatters magazine. Students will answer questions based on the content of the article and also have the opportunity to do additional research. Finally, they will create a podcast discussing the chemistry of vaccines.

  • Density, Physical Properties, Inferences, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lesson Plan: Murder Mystery

    In this lesson, students will use their knowledge of the properties of ionic and covalent compounds to examine the evidence from a crime scene. Students will conduct several tests, and compare their data with known data in a collection of SDS documents. Using the evidence from their investigation, students will write a claim, evidence and reasoning statement detailing whether the victim was murdered or died accidentally.

  • Density, Polymers, Polymers, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lab: The Big Six Plastics

    In this lab students will use data and chemical tests to better understand different types of plastics and their properties. Ultimately, students can choose the best plastic material to construct a compost bin.

  • Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Properties | High School

    Project: Working for NASA

    In this project, students will take on the role of a NASA employee on a mission to discover what resources humans need in order to survive on another planet inside of our solar system as well as an exoplanet outside of our solar system. Students will research the materials and resources needed to sustain life on Earth and compare these to another planet and exoplanet to determine if they can possibly be habitable and sustain life.

  • Physical Properties, Introduction, History, Periodic Table, Valence Electrons, Chemical Properties, Electrons | Middle School, High School

    Activity: How the Periodic Table Organizes the Elements Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about the organization of the periodic table. They will learn about how the elements on the periodic table are organized and what their location on the table can tell us about them.

  • Physical Properties, Concentration, Chemical Properties, pH | Middle School

    Activity: Would You Drink it?

    In this activity, students are provided with data regarding the water quality at multiple locations throughout a city. Students will determine which location should be prioritized for cleaning of contaminates. Students will utilize Claim Evidence and Reasoning (CER) to develop a claim that is supported by the data provided.

  • Physical Properties, Elements, Chemical Bond, Chemical Properties, Alloys | Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Behind the Metal

    In this lesson, students will learn about the properties of metals. The students will work in small groups to create a video to anthropomorphize their selected metal as though it were a heavy metal musician and share the video with their peers.

  • Physical Properties, Elements, Matter, Chemical Properties, Mixtures, Alloys | High School

    Lesson Plan: Observing Properties of Those Marvelous Metals

    In this lesson, students will see how metals, both pure metals and alloys, may have different physical and chemical properties. They will investigate how these properties contribute to their usefulness in manufacturing and construction.

  • 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, Lab Safety, Chemical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: Lab Safety and Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

    In this lesson, students will identify various safe lab practices with a focus on the importance of labeling and knowing the background safety information for all reagents used in a lab. Students will design a series of tests to determine the identity of an unknown substance using properties found on safety data sheets.

  • 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 Properties, Lab Safety, Chemical Properties | High School

    Activity: Analyzing & Creating Safety Labels

    In this activity, students will understand and interpret the color and number symbols on an NFPA Safety Diamond and then apply their knowledge to interpreting a label for chemicals. Students will also demonstrate an understanding of the safety precautions recommended for safe handling of specific chemicals as indicated by the diamond.

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