Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Matter | Middle School, High School

    Animation: Atoms: The Building Blocks of Matter Animation

    In this animation, students will be introduced to the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. They will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Chemistry Kakuro Puzzle

    In this activity, students will use both math and logic to solve a chemistry themed kakuro puzzle. This puzzle differs slightly from a traditional kakuro by first requiring students to use a periodic table to find the atomic number for each element symbol appearing in the puzzle. Using the atomic numbers as starting clues, students then fill-in the empty squares with numbers 1-9 that sum to the value of the clue, but without reusing any digits. This activity is a fun challenge for students, and provides the opportunity to strengthen logic and reasoning skills.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Review, Model of the Atom, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles | Elementary School, Middle School

    Activity: Periodic Table Challenge Game

    In this activity, students will play an online game that quizzes their knowledge about the atomic structure of the first 20 elements on the periodic table. Students will be asked to identify different elements based on information related to subatomic particles, placement on the periodic table or from a provided Bohr model. This game has several options for students to choose from, and can be used to review content, or as a formative assessment.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Isotopes, Atomic Mass, Subatomic Particles, Electrons | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: Acting Out Atomic Structure

    In this lesson, students will model the location and behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the structure of atoms, focusing on the first 18 elements on the periodic table. Students will model different elements first by adding protons and neutrons (colored balls) to make the nucleus (a basket). Then, the students themselves will represent the electrons that are always moving around the nucleus yet remaining within their designated energy level. This activity is easiest to complete outside or in a large open room to allow for enough room.

  • Physical Properties, Elements, Review | High School

    Activity: Family Reunion Puzzle

    In this activity, students will be challenged to solve a collection of anagrams—but with a twist! Given 27 ordinary words, students must remove one letter and then rearrange the remaining letters to form a chemical term. Additionally, the anagrams are grouped into 3 families, with all of the chemical terms in each family sharing a common property or theme.

  • Separating Mixtures, Density, Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Introduction, Elements, Physical Change, History, Lab Safety, 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.

  • Physical Properties, Intermolecular Forces, Elements, 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.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Review, Atomic Mass, Atomic Radius, Ionization Energy, Ions | High School

    Activity: Reviewing the Periodic Table and Periodic Trends

    In this activity, students will use their knowledge of the periodic table and periodic trends to add fictional elements to a periodic table based on their properties. Once the elements are in the correct place they will reveal a hidden message. This review activity will help students prepare for a summative assessment such as a unit test or final exam.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Activity: Element Matching Puzzle

    In this activity, students will become more familiar with select elements from the periodic table. They will use the periodic table to determine the symbol for given elements, and recall any prior knowledge about each element. Then students will be challenged to solve a puzzle by organizing a set of cards that contain jumbled information about these elements. After all of the cards have been correctly organized, a secret message can be found.

  • Elements, History, Periodic Table | High School

    Activity: Periodic Table Trivia Crossword Puzzle

    In this activity, students will be presented with trivia questions related to the periodic table of elements. Many of the questions can be answered by examining a periodic table, while others are related to specific elements and may require additional research. Students will complete a crossword puzzle as they answer each of the questions.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | High School

    Activity: Element Bingo

    In this activity, students will play a Bingo game, crossing out the element symbol on their Bingo card that corresponds to the element name announced by the teacher. This will help students to identify element names by their symbol, and vise-versa.

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary | High School

    Activity: Investigating the Chemistry under Your School

    In this activity, students investigate the earth chemistry under their school by examining what rocks or other materials are found there use geological maps. Students determine how the rocks are affected by surface conditions, like the weather.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Elements, Interdisciplinary, Percent Composition | High School

    Activity: Investigating how the Chemistry of Plate Tectonics Affects Volcanoes

    In this activity, students will learn about the impact chemistry has on plate tectonics and volcanoes. Students will analyze graphs and charts in order to better understand these topics during this investigation.

  • Introduction, Elements, History, Review, Atoms, Isotopes, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes, Electrons | Middle School, High School

    Activity: What are Isotopes? Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about isotopes. They will learn about the discovery of isotopes, the difference between chemical and nuclear reactions, different kinds of radioactive decay, and some uses of radioactive isotopes.

  • Elements, Matter, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Animation: Classifying Matter Animation

    In this animation, students will become familiar with definitions and examples of several broad classifications of matter, including pure substances (elements and compounds) and mixtures (homogeneous and heterogeneous). Students will be given real-life examples as well as particle diagrams. **This video has no audio**

  • Elements, Periodic Table | Elementary School, Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Identify Your Elements

    In this lesson, students observe the teacher using a set of Russian Nesting Dolls to create analogies between structure and shape of the periodic table. Students are taught to navigate the periodic table, identify specific elements by atomic number, analyze several element samples, and determine the identity of a mystery material.

  • Elements, Matter, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Elements, Compounds, & Mixtures - Oh My!

    In this activity, students will define terms related to various kinds of pure substances and mixtures, as well as analyze and draw particle diagrams.

  • Density, Elements, Periodic Table, Atomic Mass, Atomic Radius, Electronegativity | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Organizing the Periodic Table

    In this activity, students are challenged to organize elements into the shape of the periodic table based on trends in data. Students are given a set of cards, each card representing an element, and containing five data points for consideration. The data that students will analyze includes atomic mass, atomic radius, melting point, density and electronegativity.

  • Elements, Matter, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Animation Activity: Classifying Matter

    In this animation, students will become familiar with definitions and examples of several broad classifications of matter, including pure substances (elements and compounds) and mixtures (homogeneous and heterogeneous). Students will be given real-life examples as well as particle diagrams.

  • Density, Elements, Interdisciplinary | High School

    Activity: Applying Density to Earth

    In this activity, students will analyze data related to elevation and rock composition, in order to better understand the impact that density has on earth chemistry.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary, Molecular Formula, Molecular Structure | High School

    Activity: Discovering Minerals as Naturally Occurring Compounds

    In this activity, students will learn about the basics of earth chemistry. Students will investigate and analyze the composition of various minerals, while drawing connections to their chemistry content knowledge. Additionally, students will examine the chemical make-up of the earth’s crust and interpret associated data.

  • Elements, Periodic Table | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Lucky Seven

    In this activity, students will use the periodic table and the clues provided to identify element names. Students will then attempt to find the element names that are hidden n the puzzle.

  • Introduction, Elements, Periodic Table, Temperature | High School

    Activity: An Element Fill-In Puzzle

    In this activity, students will solve a puzzle by using element symbols from the periodic table to fill-in missing letters in familiar chemistry terms related to energy and thermodynamics.

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