Classroom Resources: States of Matter


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  • 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.

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Polarity, Covalent Bonding, 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, Solubility, Melting Point, Naming Compounds, Molecular Formula, Ionic Bonding, 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, Molecular Formula, Ionic Bonding, 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.

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion | High School, Middle School

    Simulation: States of Matter and Phase Changes

    In this simulation, students will participate in a 10 question quiz. Some questions will challenge students to analyze data to identify the correct state of matter for a specific sample, and then connect the chosen state with an animated particle diagram. In addition, students will examine the behavior of particles in an animated sample as they undergo a phase change, and must correctly identify the change that occurs.

  • Melting Point, Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Boiling Point, Molecular Geometry | High School

    Activity: Examining the Strength of Intermolecular Forces of Attraction

    In this activity, students will be able to understand the strength of the attractions of the three intermolecular forces (IMFs) and use this information to help identify physical properties of molecules (such as melting point, boiling point or states of matter).

  • Melting Point, Phase Changes, Phase Diagram, Molecular Motion, Calorimetry, Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Intermolecular Forces, Heating Curve, Boiling Point, Law of Conservation of Energy | High School

    Lesson Plan: Phase Changes and Heat Transfer

    The AACT high school classroom resource library and multimedia collection has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach the Phase Changes and Heat Transfer to your students.

  • Phase Changes, Radiation, Half Lives, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Activity: Radioactive Dating: The Demise of Frosty

    In this activity students will investigate the idea that carbon dating is based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past. Students will use a simple graph to extrapolate data to its starting point and then pool the data to make a graph that simulates half-life. Students will be introduced to solving mathematical problems that involve half-life.

  • Phase Changes, Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Activity: The Behavior of Solids and Liquids

    In this activity, students will be able to explore and explain behaviors of liquids and solids based on the individual particles in the states of matter

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: States of Matter and Phase Changes

    In this simulation, students will participate in a 10 question quiz. Some questions will challenge students to analyze data to identify the correct state of matter for a specific sample, and then connect the chosen state with an animated particle diagram. In addition, students will examine the behavior of particles in an animated sample as they undergo a phase change, and must correctly identify the change that occurs.

  • Density, Phase Changes, Specific Heat, Exothermic & Endothermic | High School

    Lab: Chemistry is Cooler Stress Test Challenge

    In this lab, students will design and build a device capable of insulating an ice cube submerged in boiling water for two minutes. In this open-ended inquiry based activity, students will be required to critically think about structure and function of the materials they wish to use to build a device to solve a complex real-world problem. Students must consider the thermal properties of the materials, density, and the need to form a non-permeable barrier between the ice cube and the boiling water.

  • Density, Molecular Motion | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Density Simulation

    In this simulation, students will investigate the effect of changing variables on both the volume and the density of a solid, a liquid and a gas sample. Students will analyze the different states of matter at the particle level as well as quantitatively. This lesson accompanies the simulation from the September 2015 issue of Chemistry Solutions.

  • Physical Properties, Molecular Motion | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Categorizing States of Matter

    In this activity students will analyze both written statements and images that describe the properties of a solid, liquid or gas. Students will determine which state of matter the description best describes and categorize it accordingly.

  • Mixtures, Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Freezing Point Depression | High School, Middle School

    Lab: How does Salt "Melt" Ice?

    In this lab, students will consider why salt is used to aide in snow clearing and to help keep icy roads safe. They will investigate how salt ‘melts’ ice and determine the best type of salt to do so. Additionally, students will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the various different types of salt.

  • Phase Changes, Elements, Mixtures | High School

    Activity: Visualizing States of Matter

    In this activity, students will view, sort and classify pure substances and mixtures into the 3 common states of matter found in the laboratory. Students will also discuss their classification system with their teacher and peers.

  • Melting Point, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Molecular Structure | High School

    Lab: Ionic vs. Covalent Compounds

    In this lab, students will compare two seemingly similar substances, salt and sugar. Through melting a sample of each substance and analyze of their chemical composition, students will draw conclusions regarding ionic and covalent compounds.

  • Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Freezing Point Depression | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Freezing Ice Cream

    In this lab, students will investigate changing states of matter, chemical reactions, and the properties of ice and salt while creating their own ice cream.

  • Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Conservation of Mass, Chemical Change | Middle School, High School

    Project: Law of Conservation of Mass Comic Strip

    In this project, students will work in groups to create a comic strip that illustrates understanding of the law of conservation of mass.

  • Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Heat, Temperature, Heating Curve, Graphing | High School, Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Modeling the Melting of Ice

    In this lesson, students will create a particulate model of matter that explains energy changes and transfer during a phase change.

  • Molecular Motion, Intermolecular Forces | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Molecular Motion

    In this simulation, students will have the opportunity to explore on the molecular level how particles move in three states of matter. They will compare two different substances.

  • Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Heat, Temperature, Exothermic & Endothermic, Intermolecular Forces, Heating Curve, Graphing | High School

    Lab: Heating & Cooling Curve

    In this lab, students will create a phase change graph by adding and removing heat to observe and record data during actual phase changes.

  • Observations, Density, Sublimation | High School, Middle School

    Lab: Dry Ice (High School)

    In this lab, students perform several small experiments using dry ice and record their observations.

  • Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Molecular Motion, Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Intermolecular Forces, Heating Curve, Boiling Point, Heat of Vaporization , Heat of Fusion | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: Heating Curve of Water

    In this simulation, students will investigate qualitatively and quantitatively what happens as water changes states.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Physical Change, Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Activity: Intermolecular Forces Activity

    In this activity, students will represent molecules and energy to investigate the different types of intermolecular forces.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Molar Mass, Intermolecular Forces, Boiling Point, Heat of Vaporization | High School

    Lab: Heat of Vaporization

    In this lab, students test whether a substance’s heat of vaporization is determined by its molar mass, the strength of its intermolecular forces, or both.

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