Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Measurements, SI Units, Dimensional Analysis, Scientific Notation, Molecular Structure , Elements, History, Interdisciplinary | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Discovery of Fullerenes

    In this lesson, students will learn about a class of compounds called fullerenes through a reading about their discovery. Metric conversions, organic chemistry, and allotropes are all touched on in this lesson. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Intramolecular Forces, Polymers, History, Interdisciplinary | High School

    Lesson Plan: Scotch Transparent Tape

    In this lesson, students will learn about how sticky tape was developed through reading an article. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, Polymers, Polymers, Condensation, Monomer, Monomer, Alloys | High School

    Lesson Plan: Synthetic Materials Through History

    In this lesson, students will learn about the history of synthesized materials through reading an article. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, Electromagnetic Spectrum | High School

    Lesson Plan: Isolation of Phytochrome

    In this lesson, students will learn about plant cycles of development in relation to the electromagnetic spectrum through reading an article. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Elements, History, Chemical Properties, Physical Properties, Identifying an Unknown, Ionic Bonding, Naming Compounds | High School

    Lesson Plan: Joseph Priestley, Discoverer of Oxygen

    In this lesson, students will read an article to learn about the discovery and identification of gases, specifically oxygen by Joseph Priestley. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, Solubility, Concentration | High School

    Lesson Plan: Legacy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

    In this lesson, students will read an article to learn about the impact Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring has had. Arguably, the U.S. EPA was formed as a result, and a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery was banned after the book was published. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher since most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Electromagnetic Spectrum, Heat, Radiation, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, History, Interdisciplinary, Functional Groups, Molecular Structure | High School

    Lesson Plan: Mars Exploration with Infrared Spectrometers

    In this lesson, students will learn about how space scientists used infrared spectrometers to explore Mars through an article reading. Space exploration involves a lot of chemistry, which many students are surprised to learn. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Pharmaceuticals, Molecular Structure , History | High School

    Lesson Plan: Discovery of Ivermectin: Preventing Blindness and Heartworm

    In this lesson, students will learn about the drug ivermectin by reading about the chemistry behind its discovery and applications. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher since most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Molecular Structure , Covalent Bonding, History | High School

    Lesson Plan: Steroid Medicines: A Profile of Chemical Innovation

    In this lesson, students will learn about developing medicine through the lens of hydrocortisone while reading an article. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Radioactive Isotopes, Half Lives, History | High School

    Lesson Plan: Radiocarbon Dating and Willard Libby

    In this lesson, students will learn about the development and application of radiocarbon dating through an article reading. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Heat, Boiling Point, History | High School

    Lesson Plan: Norbert Rillieux, Thermodynamics and Chemical Engineering

    In this lesson, students will learn about thermodynamics through a historical story of a budding Black chemical engineer named Norbert Rillieux. He is credited with creating the process for isolating sugar crystals from sugarcane because of his keen understanding of thermodynamics. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided. Rillieux’s story is interesting from a diversity standpoint. He was a free biracial scientist living in the South during pre-Civil War times. This story provides an opportunity to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the chemistry classroom.

  • Ionic Bonding, Covalent Bonding, Naming Compounds, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups, Polyatomic Ions, History | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Development of Baking Powder

    In this lesson, students will learn about the chemistry behind baking powder through reading about its history and development over time. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Periodic Table, Elements, History, Atomic Mass, Atomic Theory, Isotopes, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Periodic Table and Transuranium Elements

    In this lesson, students will learn about the transuranium elements through reading about some of their discoveries. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Orbitals , History, Matter | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Modeling Atomic Theories with Food

    In this lesson, students will create an initial model of an atom (using various food items) drawing from the knowledge that they brought into the class. They will then use the same materials to work through an interactive note-taking lesson on how the model of the atom evolved over time. Having completed the interactive notes, the students return to their original models and adjust as needed.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • History | High School

    Activity: Evaluating the Name Reactions in Chemistry

    In this activity, students will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in chemistry by exploring name reactions in organic chemistry. Students will engage in preliminary reflection, then listen to the podcast, Should organic chemistry’s name reactions go the way of the mouth pipet? from C&EN, and then share their perspective on a discussion board.

  • Atomic Radius, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, History, Inferences | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Indirectly Measuring the Atom

    In this lesson, students will try to determine the radius of one circle and the total area of multiple circles on a piece of paper by indirect measurement. They will relate this to the experiment done by Ernest Rutherford in which he bombarded a gold foil with Alpha particles.

  • Periodic Table, History, Elements | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Spellbound Episode 8 Helen Murray Free Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This eighth episode focuses on the childhood of Helen Murray Free, a former ACS president and pioneering woman in chemistry who developed self-testing diagnostic strips for diabetes and other diseases.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Spellbound Episode 7 Peter Agre Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video from the Spellbound series produced by ACS. Each episode focuses on a different notable scientist, recounting how their interest in science was sparked in their childhood and how they went on to make great contributions to the scientific community. This seventh episode focuses on the childhood of Peter Agre, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is noted for his work in the study of malaria, as well as scientific diplomacy and policy.

  • History, Interdisciplinary, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 1—A Sign on the Door: Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 2 —Finding Her Way: Kristala L. Jones Prather, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Kristala L. Jones Prather, Ph.D.

  • History, Chemical Change, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 3—A Yellow Sweater: Bassam Shakhashiri, Ph.D.

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Bassam Shakhashiri, Ph.D.

  • History, Interdisciplinary | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 4—When Girls Didn't "Do" Science: Mamie Moy

    Produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry, the video series Spellbound, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes and make other achievements. Their early childhood experiences may encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This episode features Mamie Moy.

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