Classroom Resources: Molecules & Bonding


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  • 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.

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

    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.

  • Molecular Structure, Catalysts | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: The Strange Chemistry Behind Why You Get Sick on Planes Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, The Strange Chemistry Behind Why You Get Sick on Planes, 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 compound ozone and why it might be responsible for some of the discomforts associated with air travel.

  • Molecular Structure, Molecular Formula, Measurements, Molecular Structure , Significant Figures, Saturated vs. Unsaturated | Middle School, High School

    Project: Discovering Chemical Elements in Food

    In this project, students will analyze nutrition labels of some of the foods and drinks that they recently consumed. They will identify which type of macromolecule (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins) is mainly supplied by the item and they will compare their consumption with the daily recommended intake for that type of macromolecule. Students will also investigate salt and added sugar as well as vitamins and minerals in the item. Finally, students will present their findings through short, spoken messages that are recorded and presented through a QR code. These can become a source of information for the school community at large upon completion of the project.

  • 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.

  • Introduction, Molecular Structure, Matter | High School

    Activity: Real World Particle Diagramming

    In this activity, students illustrate everyday objects on the particulate level. To do this, students pick an object around the school (or their home) and then take a picture of the object, research its composition, and draw a particle diagram representation of the object. This helps students to gain confidence in representing matter at a particulate level by starting with familiar objects.

  • Law of Definite Proportions, Percent Composition, Molar Mass, Law of Multiple Proportions | High School

    Lesson Plan: Exploring the Laws of Definite and Multiple Proportions

    In this lesson, students will review the concept of percent composition and then apply it to the laws of definite and multiple proportions.

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

    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.

  • Molecular Structure, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Chemistry of Vaccines

    In this lesson, students will read the article, Can a Vaccine End the Pandemic? by Wynne Parry from the December 2020 edition of ChemMatters magazine. Students will answer questions based on the content of the article and also have the opportunity to do additional research. Finally, they will create a podcast discussing the chemistry of vaccines.

  • Gas Laws, Pressure, Measurements, Ideal Gas, Molar Mass, Partial Pressure, Error Analysis | High School

    Lab: Molar Mass of Butane

    In this lab, students will experimentally determine the molar mass of butane using Dalton’s law and the ideal gas law. They will also calculate the percent error and explain possible sources of error.

  • 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.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity | High School

    Lesson Plan: Potential Energy Introduction

    In this activity, students will follow a guided inquiry introduction to potential energy. Students begin by investigating a video model of magnetic water molecules and review their ideas about charge, and attraction or repulsion due to charge. Then, using a Google Drawing manipulative box, students place their digital water molecules into attraction and repulsion orientations. Next, they indicate the direction of force and show how potential energy is increasing when the molecules are moved in a direction opposite to the force.

  • Polyatomic Ions, Ionic Bonding | High School

    Activity: Common Ion Memory Game

    In this activity, students will play a modified version of the classic Memory Game in order to help identify common ions by name and symbol. This activity provides an opportunity for students to increase their familiarity with the names and formulas of common ions that they will be expected to properly use when they begin writing chemical formulas and reactions.

  • Interdisciplinary, Lab Safety, Identifying an Unknown, Molecular Structure | High School

    Lesson Plan: How Modern Instrumentation Revolutionized the Poison Game

    In this lesson, students are introduced to the world of Forensic Chemistry using the prologue of Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook. Discussion revolves around why murder by poison was so prevalent during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and why it is so rare today.  Students create their own Safety Data Sheet on a poison of choice, and learn about how mass spectroscopy has helped revolutionize the modern analysis of toxins. 

  • Density, Polymers, Polymers, Chemical Properties | High School

    Lab: The Big Six Plastics

    In this lab students will use data and chemical tests to better understand different types of plastics and their properties. Ultimately, students can choose the best plastic material to construct a compost bin.

  • Separating Mixtures, Density, Polymers, Polymers | High School

    Activity: Identifying Plastics with Density Data

    In this activity, students will familiarize themselves with different types of plastics. Using data analysis, students will determine how to use the density values of a variety of plastic samples in order to separate a specific sample from a mixture.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Lab: The Chemistry of Hand Sanitizer and Soap

    In this lab, students will model the interaction between hand sanitizer particles and virus particles, as well as between soap particles and virus particles. They will apply their understanding of molecular structure and intermolecular forces to analyze their observations and behavior of the particles, in order to gain a better understanding of how soaps and sanitizers work.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Molecular Structure, Measurements, SI Units | High School

    Activity: Designing an Effective Respiratory Cloth Mask

    In this activity students will use unit conversion to help compare sizes of molecules, viruses, and droplets and then use them to interpret graphical data. They will then use their findings to design a cloth mask that helps protect its wearer against infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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

    Demonstration: Interactions Between Particles

    In groups of six to eight, students will observe the behavior of substances and mixtures to determine the relative strength of intermolecular forces between the particles in each substance or mixture. They will then arrange different cards representing ions and molecules based on intermolecular forces to determine the best molecular level representation of the physical samples they observed.

  • Percent Composition, Stoichiometry, Limiting Reactant, Percent Composition, Lewis Structures | High School

    Lab: Untouchable Key Escape Room

    In this lab, students are presented with a key wrapped in aluminum foil a quantity of solid copper (II) chloride, a balance, distilled water and a selection of standard laboratory glassware and equipment. Without using their hands to touch the key, students must react the key with a copper (II) chloride solution in order to free the key and use it to escape from the chemistry classroom!

  • Elements, Interdisciplinary, Intermolecular Forces, Percent Composition | High School

    Activity: Investigating how the Chemistry of Plate Tectonics Affects Volcanoes

    In this activity, students will learn about the impact chemistry has on plate tectonics and volcanoes. Students will analyze graphs and charts in order to better understand these topics during this investigation.

  • 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.

  • Periodic Table, Atomic Radius, Ionization Energy, Electronegativity | High School

    Activity: Periodic War

    In this activity, students play a card game to apply their knowledge of the periodic trends of the main group elements.

  • Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Simulation: Intermolecular Forces

    In this simulation, students will review the three major types of intermolecular forces and answer quiz questions using the relative strengths of these forces to compare different substances given their name, formula, and Lewis structure.

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