Classroom Resources: Energy & Thermodynamics


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  • Colligative Properties, Boiling Point Elevation, Freezing Point Depression, Concentration, Solute & Solvent, Boiling Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Graphing, Physical Properties, Heat, Temperature | High School

    Simulation: Colligative Properties

    In this simulation, students will investigate the effects of different solutes, and different amounts of those solutes, on the boiling point and freezing point of a solution. Students will see particle-level animations of boiling and freezing with different types and amounts of solutes, as well as graphical representations of the results of each trial.

  • Colligative Properties, Boiling Point Elevation, Freezing Point Depression, Concentration, Solute & Solvent, Boiling Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Graphing, Physical Properties, Heat, Temperature | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Simulation Activity: The Effect of Solutes on Boiling and Freezing Point

    In this activity, students will use a colligative properties simulation to investigate the effects of different solutes, and different amounts of those solutes, on the boiling point and freezing point of a solution. Students will see particle-level animations of boiling and freezing with different types and amounts of solutes, as well as graphical representations of the results of each trial.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Interdisciplinary, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Molecular Structure, Chemical Bond, Radiation | High School

    Lesson Plan: Chlorofluorocarbons and Ozone Depletion

    In this lesson, students will learn about the history of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the harm they cause the ozone layer 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.

  • Temperature, Temperature, Heat, Photosynthesis, Isotopes | High School

    Lesson Plan: Climate Change and the Keeling Curve

    In this lesson, students will learn about climate change through reading about research behind carbon dioxide emissions, which led to the development of the Keeling Curve. Isotopic tracing as well as photosynthesis are briefly touched on. 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.

  • Physical Properties, Heat, Alloys | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • Heat, Temperature, Specific Heat, Law of Conservation of Energy, Enthalpy, Calorimetry, Exothermic & Endothermic, Balancing Equations, Chemical Change, Measurements, Mole Concept, Dimensional Analysis, Culminating Project, Interdisciplinary, Review, Graphing, Observations, Chemical Properties, Physical Properties | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • Galvanic Cells, Half Reactions, Anode, Cathode, Reduction, Oxidation, Redox Reaction, Electron Transfer, Electrons, Electricity, Spontaneous Reactions , Spontaneous vs. Non-spontaneous Reactions, Electrolytic Cells | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Galvanic Cells

    In this activity, students will use an animation to visualize how a galvanic cell works on a particulate level. Copper and zinc are the chemicals depicted in the spontaneous reaction. The transfer of electrons and involvement of the salt bridge are highlighted, in addition to the half reactions that take place for Zn (Zn -> Zn2+ + 2 e-) and Cu (2 e- + Cu2+ -> Cu).

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

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

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • Emission Spectrum, Atomic Spectra, Electrons, Atomic Theory, Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Identifying an Unknown | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Emissions of Light

    In this lab, students will examine three different ways to excite electrons to produce visible light found in the electromagnetic spectrum. The students will then see that this visible light has a specific color, wavelength, and frequency. They will use their knowledge of the speed of light and plank's equation to examine the energy involved in the emission of light. Finally, the students will then apply their knowledge of the emission spectrum to how the composition of stars is determined.

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Intermolecular Forces, Heat of Combustion, Temperature, Exothermic & Endothermic | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Investigating Condensation

    In this lab, students will explore the phase change of condensation and determine whether this process is endothermic or exothermic. Students will then investigate how water vapor condenses, what effect surrounding temperature has on the rate of condensation, and what is happening to the molecules when they condense.

  • Freezing Point Depression, Heat, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Sweet, Salty and Cold as Ice

    In this lab, students conduct a micro-scale investigation to explore how various solutes affect the freezing point of water. Because of the small volume of liquid used, results are visible within minutes. Students observe what happens to the liquids as they are cooled and use their observations to infer what is going on at the particle level. They will use the results to explain the familiar phenomena of why we salt our roads and sidewalks in the winter and why freshwater lakes and ponds freeze over more easily than saltwater oceans in the winter.

  • Radiation, Molecular Structure, Polarity, Heat | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Why Does Carbon Get Such a Bad Rap?

    In this lesson, students will use a climate change scenario to understand the role that polar bonds play in whether a molecule can be considered a greenhouse gas, while learning the particle nature of matter-energy interactions.

  • Lab Safety, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Heat, Temperature, Polymers, Molecular Structure | 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.

  • Lab Safety, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Heat, Temperature, Polymers, Polymers | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. 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.

  • Electromagnetic Spectrum, Molecular Structure, Chemical Bond, Molecular Structure | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 2: What Birds Know About Color that You Don't

    We’ve been using pigments and dyes for thousands of years, but they’re not the whole story when it comes to making color. “Structural” color occurs when tiny nanostructures interact with light waves, amplifying certain colors and canceling others. From brilliant bird feathers to butterfly wings, mole hairs to octopus skin, structural color is everywhere in the natural world. Researchers have tried for years to harness this incredible natural phenomenon in a useful way. Because these colors are so small and complex, and therefore hard to copy, their efforts have met with little success. But novel research using a computer model based in repeated random sampling — a so-called “Monte Carlo” model — is showing promise. Using this approach, scientists have been able to mimic the gorgeous blue of the mountain bluebird in a thin film of reflective beads, leapfrogging millennia of evolution.

  • Molecular Structure, Chemical Bond, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Molecular Structure | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Ingenious: What Birds Know About Color that You Don't Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, What Birds Know about Color that You Don’t, 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 structural color, its complexities as well as how it differs from pigments and dyes.

  • Heat, Specific Heat, Phase Changes | Middle School, Elementary School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: The Insulation Investigation

    In this lab, students will think critically about the properties, structure and function of materials as they design and build a device used to insulate an ice cube to prevent it from melting.

  • Heat of Vaporization , Boiling Point, Intermolecular Forces, Phase Changes, Heating Curve, Heat of Combustion, Temperature, Specific Heat, Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Demonstration: Cooking an Egg in Chemistry Class

    In this demonstration, students will observe the very high latent heat of vaporization for water by boiling water over a Bunsen burner in a paper cup to cook a boiled egg. The discussion can be extended to incorporate intermolecular forces to explain the unusually high boiling point of water, as well as heat of vaporization and specific heat capacity.

  • Review, Culminating Project, Mixtures, Separating Mixtures, Beer's Law, Concentration, Conductivity, Redox Reaction, Half Reactions, pH, Titrations, Buffers, Indicators, Ionic Bonding, Covalent Bonding, Alloys, Percent Composition, Le Châtelier's Principle, Enthalpy, Calorimetry | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: AP Chemistry Experimental Evidence Review

    In this lesson, students will evaluate data from 16 simulated lab experiments that were designed to mirror the Recommended Labs from the College Board. Corresponding lab experiments and demonstration options have also been included for teacher reference.

  • Equilibrium Constants, Le Châtelier's Principle, Gibb's Free Energy , Enthalpy, Entropy, Solubility | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Relationship Between Free Energy and the Equilibrium Constant

    In this lesson, students will explore the relationships between solubility and Keq (specifically Ksp), as well as Keq and ΔG°. First, a guided inquiry activity will introduce the relationship between standard free energy and equilibrium constant with the equation ΔG° = -RTlnKeq. Then data collection regarding solubility of potassium nitrate at various temperatures will lead to the calculation of Ksp and ΔGo for the dissolution reaction at those temperatures. Students will manipulate the equations ΔG° = -RTlnKeq and ΔG° = ΔH° - TΔS° to derive a linear relationship between 1/T and lnKeq, which will then be graphed to determine values for ΔH° and ΔS°.

  • Heat, Specific Heat, Phase Changes, Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: "It's a Phase" Puzzles

    In this activity, students will complete either a crossword puzzle or a word search puzzle for common vocabulary terms related to the topics of phase changes and heat transfer. This activity provides an opportunity for students to increase their familiarity with the terms that they will be expected to use when learning about thermochemistry.

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