« Return to AACT homepage

AACT Member-Only Content

You have to be an AACT member to access this content, but good news: anyone can join!

Need Help?

Teaching Methods

What is an easy to do lab for introducing chemical change vs physical change in elementary school?

Started about 4 years ago by AACTconnect Admin.


  • Diana Simpson

    Posted almost 4 years ago

    Jennifer, I do all of those as demos with my Chemistry students when we discuss Phys vs Chem changes. I also will take a wire or steel wool and show how it can bend and change shape as Physical and then heat it to show how it changes colors and ignites with a match. Another Physical change would be dissolving salt in water, then let the water evaporate off. There are a lot of examples for the Physical, jut not as many for the Chemical that are easy to do for immediate illustration.

  • Jennifer Bishoff

    Posted about 4 years ago

    A. Take a piece of paper and cut it, crumble it, color on it…then explain to the children that it’s still paper…this is a physical change. Then, using a tea light or lighter (adults only, and maybe outside), light another piece of paper and burn it. Explain that the ashes are no longer paper, and it has changed into something new and different. Not only that, but we can’t get the paper back after burning, or a chemical change. B. Have samples of water, ice, and boiling water (steam) to show that all three are still water, just different forms for a physical change. C. Baking soda and vinegar are always fun to show chemical changes…you can’t get the baking soda back!!

  • Kimberly Duncan

    Posted about 4 years ago

    Check out the AACT lesson plan, Alien Invasion, in our elementary school resource library. This activity can be done with students who already have some background with physical vs. chemical changes, or it can be modified to be an introduction to the topic. By the end of the lesson your students should be able to describe the difference between a physical change and a chemical change and identify examples of physical changes and chemical changes.