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.

  • Interdisciplinary | Elementary School, Middle School

    Activity: Discovering Entomology

    In this activity, students will first work in small groups on a card sort aimed to activate their prior knowledge about insects and attempt to match the name of several common insects with a corresponding scientific fact. Students will then watch a short video while answering several questions to discover more about the field of entomology.

  • Interdisciplinary, Graphing | Middle School, High School

    Simulation: Graphing

    In this simulation, students will be introduced to good graphing techniques and how to interpret data presented in a graph. They are introduced to the TAILS acronym (Title, Axes, Intervals, Labels, Scale) to help them remember how to set up a graph and the concepts of line of best fit, positive and negative correlation, and interpolating and extrapolating. Then students complete a six-question quiz on these topics.

  • 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, Graphing | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Graphing

    In this activity, students will use a simulation to learn good graphing techniques, as well as how to interpret data presented in a graph. They will take a quiz in the simulation, and then have an opportunity to put their graphing skills to work and generate their own graph using sample data.

  • Observations, Density, Inferences | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Activity: Animation Activity: Density

    In this activity, students will use an animation to visualize density on the particulate level. There are opportunities to make qualitative and quantitative comparisons between substances.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Review | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Vocabulary Learning Made Simple

    In this activity, students write definitions for vocabulary words using only the 1000 most common English words. Then students interact with the simplified definitions in order to try to guess the vocabulary words correctly.

  • 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).

  • 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 | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    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.

  • Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Race to Safe

    In this activity, students will be engaged in a kinesthetic activity to teach laboratory safety. They will be prompted with different laboratory safety and equipment scenarios and asked to demonstrate the correct safety protocols to follow.

  • Introduction, Review, Lab Safety | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Laboratory Equipment Bingo

    In this activity, students will play a Bingo game, crossing out the names of laboratory equipment on their Bingo card that corresponds to the pictures of equipment shown by the teacher. This will help students to identify common equipment found in a chemistry lab.

  • Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Experimental Design | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Understanding Specific Heat

    In this simulation, students will play the role of engineer in deciding which materials are the best candidates for a building project. They will calculate the specific heat capacity of various building materials to determine which ones meet the criteria for building an energy efficient home. Students will also do a cost analysis to determine which material to use in their building project. On the student activity sheet, they will answer additional conceptual and numerical questions related to specific heat capacity.

  • Review, Culminating Project, Molecular Structure | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Online Meeting Scavenger Hunt

    In this activity, students will work in teams on a virtual meeting platform to find as many objects as possible from a comprehensive scavenger hunt list within their homes during a given timeframe. The items on the list provided in this activity are related to organic chemistry topics, however the list can be easily modified for use with many chemistry topics.

  • Interdisciplinary, History, 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Chemical Change, Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 5— A Born Chemist: Isiah Warner, 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 Isiah Warner, Ph.D.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 6 —Mentors Made the Difference: Nancy Jackson, 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 Nancy Jackson, Ph.D.

  • Interdisciplinary, History | Middle School, High School

    Video: Spellbound Episode 7—Heroes Made the Difference: Peter Agre, M.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 Peter Agre, M.D.

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