Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Physical Properties, Physical Change, Metallic Bonding | High School

    Lab: Molding Metal

    In this lab, students cast tin into molds and observe physical changes of metals while creating an ornament. They will apply their knowledge of metallic bonding to analyze and explain their observations.

  • Physical Properties, Heat, Alloys | High School

    Lab: Investigating Heat Treatments and Properties of Steel

    In this lab, students will take on the perspective of a material scientist working for a company that makes shocks and struts for car suspension by applying three different heat treatments to steel coils. Students will test how these heat treatments affect the properties of the high carbon steel.

  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Periodic Table, Review, Naming Compounds, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, VSEPR Theory, Electron Configuration, Stoichiometry, Limiting Reactant, Chemical Change, Subatomic Particles, Molecular Geometry, Lewis Structures | High School

    Activity: Chemistry Review Escape Room

    In this activity, students will work collaboratively to apply their chemistry knowledge in order to “escape the room.” They will work to solve four clues that span a plethora of topics ranging from Atomic Structure all the way up to Stoichiometry. These four clues will point them to four chemical reactions to conduct on a small-scale basis that will correspond with a four-digit combination to a lock. This engaging activity is not only fun for all students but also allows for interactive and collaborative review.

  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Mixtures

    Video: Ingenious Video 9: The World’s Smallest Water Treatment Plant Comes in a Packet

    About 800,000,000 people worldwide – that’s almost one in ten, more than the population of the U.S. – don’t have reliable access to clean water. Using a technology first developed to reuse dirty laundry water, scientists have developed a water treatment plant the size of a teabag. Inside, a potent chemical triple-threat removes microbes, heavy metals, silt and dirt to produce clean, safe water one bucket at a time.

  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Mixtures | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: The World's Smallest Water Treatment Plant Comes in a Packet Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video The World’s Smallest Water Treatment Plant Comes in a Packet 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 global shortage in accessing clean water. Using a technology that was first developed to reuse dirty laundry water, scientists have developed a water treatment plant the size of a teabag that contains a chemical triple-threat—it removes microbes, heavy metals, silt and dirt to produce clean, safe water.

  • Physical Properties, Physical Change, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Heat, Monomer | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 7: The World has a Receipt Problem

    The receipts you take home from the store – or stuff in your bag, or lose in your car -- employ a printing method that’s been around since the 1970s. Thermal printing involves heat-sensitive inks called leuco dyes that show up when they react with an acid developer embedded in the paper. Not only do these inks fade easily, but receipts that use them aren’t recyclable, and could even be dangerous to your health. Taking a cue from a failed experiment, scientists are developing a new kind of receipt paper that will use the same thermal printers without leuco dyes. Instead of acid developers, this paper is coated in reflective microspheres that collapse under heat, allowing regular ink underneath to show through.

  • Physical Properties, Physical Change, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Heat, Monomer | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: The World Has a Receipt Problem Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video The World has a Receipt Problem 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 process of thermal printing on receipts, and the limitations related to the paper that currently prints using leuco dyes. This heat-sensitive ink appears when it reacts with an acid developer embedded in the paper. Scientists are working to develop a new kind of thermal receipt paper, that can use the same printers, however it offers many additional benefits and potential uses.

  • Physical Properties, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Electron Configuration, Valence Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Lewis Dot Diagrams, Electrons | Middle School, High School

    Project: Atomic Holiday Ornaments

    In this project, students will design an atomic holiday ornament for a chosen element, along with a certificate of authenticity to display on a “Chemis-tree”. Students will also have the opportunity to vote on the ornaments created by their classmates.

  • 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, 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.

  • 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, 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, 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, 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.

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