Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Mixture Separation Challenge

    In this lab, students investigate the composition of a given mixture. Using their content knowledge and a variety of provided materials, students are tasked with separating the mixture into its individual components.

  • 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.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School

    Lab: Investigating the Physical Properties of Everyday Items

    In this lab, students will collect and analyze ordinary, everyday items in order to learn more about physical properties. Students will record data about each item, and then classify their items according to their properties.

  • 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.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Scientific Method, Experimental Design | Elementary School

    Lab: Stains, Stains, Go Away

    In this lab, students will become more familiar with the scientific method as they investigate what type of cleaning product is best. Students will identify variables as they carry out a controlled test to compare the ability of different products to remove a ketchup stain.

  • 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, Physical Properties, Identifying an Unknown | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: The Shattered Glass Mystery

    In this lesson, students will take on the role of a Forensic Scientist to help solve a hit and run investigation. They will learn how physical properties of matter, such as density and refractive index, can be used to help identify evidence samples such as glass.

  • 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, Intermolecular Forces, Covalent Bonding, Polarity, Molecular Geometry, Lewis Structures | High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Intermolecular Forces

    In this simulation, students will review the three major types of intermolecular forces – London dispersion forces, dipole-dipole interactions, and hydrogen bonding – through short video clips and accompanying text. They will then answer quiz questions using the relative strengths of these forces to compare different substances given their name, formula, and Lewis structure, and put them in order based on the strength of their intermolecular forces, their boiling point, or their vapor pressure. The simulation is designed as a five question quiz for students to use multiple times.

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Covalent Bonding, Polarity, Intermolecular Forces, Molecular Geometry, Electronegativity | Middle School, High School

    Activity: The Chemistry of Water Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about how the molecular geometry and polarity of water give rise to many of its unusual physical properties, including its relatively high boiling point and its ability to dissolve some substances but not others.

  • 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, Solubility, Melting Point, Naming Compounds, Ionic Bonding, Molecular Formula, Ionic Radius, Ions | High School

    Activity: My Name is Bond, Ionic Bond

    In this lesson, students will demonstrate their knowledge of ionic bond strength using a “brackets” activity. Pairs of students start the activity playing a game of “Ionic Compound War” to build eight compounds. Then then transfer the compounds to a “bracket” and use their knowledge of ionic bonding, along with a solubility chart, to predict the strongest and weakest bond between four pairs of ionic substances.

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Melting Point, Naming Compounds, Ionic Bonding, Molecular Formula, Ionic Radius, Ions | High School

    Activity: Ionic Bonding Brackets

    In this lesson, students will demonstrate their knowledge of ionic bond strength and its relationship to the properties of melting point and solubility using a “brackets” activity. After analyzing the ionic charge and radius to predict the strongest and weakest bond between four pairs of ionic substances, they will then determine which will be the least soluble.

  • 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, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Molecular Formula | High School

    Lesson Plan: Investigating Properties of Ionic and Covalent Compounds

    In this lesson, students will use a PhET simulation in combination with Safety Data Sheets in order to analyze specific ionic and covalent substances. Students will then use the collected data in order to identify trends in the properties of similar substances.

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Intermolecular Forces, Molecular Structure | Middle School, High School

    Lesson Plan: Structure Matters

    In this lesson, students will explore the atomic level structure of various elements and compounds to determine how arrangement of atoms at the microscopic level affects macroscopic material properties.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Intermolecular Forces, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Chemical Properties, Metallic Bonding, Intramolecular Forces | High School

    Project: Problem-Solving with Materials

    In this project, students will develop a presentation to explain how and why a specific material can solve a problem. The explanation will involve researching the properties of the material and how its properties are suited for solving a specific problem.

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