Classroom Resources Highlight: Chemistry Basics

By AACT on August 14, 2023

As chemistry teachers around the country head back into their classrooms and begin planning activities for their students, AACT will be highlighting resources from our high school resource library that can be used to reinforce topics in different units throughout the school year. We’re beginning the year with articles, simulations, and activities that could be used to support a Chemistry Basics unit.

Throughout the years, AACT has shared news articles full of resources and articles that could be used to help teachers with topics they will teach throughout the school year. This article will highlight newer AACT resources to use during an introductory unit on the fundamentals of chemistry.

Laboratory Safety

The ACS Chemical Safety video series contains a selection of videos to introduce important safety concepts to your students. Choose from: Safety Mindset, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), How to Dress for the Lab and Personal Protective Equipment, Preparing for Emergencies, and RAMP for Students. The final video, RAMP for Teachers, outlines steps you can take to make sure your students are as safe as possible while exploring and experimenting in the lab.

The Cleaning up the Lab article and corresponding activity from the March 2022 issue of Chemistry Solutions teaches your students to be self-sufficient in the lab. To bring more kinesthetic movement and excitement to lab safety, try the Race to Safe resource.

Laboratory Equipment

Introduce your students to basic lab equipment through a game with the Lab Equipment Bingo activity. Students place bingo tiles on the names of laboratory equipment that corresponds to the pictures of equipment shown by the teacher.

Science Skills

Making precise and accurate measurements is one of the most important skills in the lab. Start students off with an awareness of chemistry units with the Units of Chemistry Animation. Have them practice making measurements with the Significant Figures and Lab Data activity. Follow this up with the Measuring Volume Simulation.

Graphing is a skill that often needs refreshing. Pair the Graphing Simulation with the accompanying lesson plan for a quick check-in to see where your students are at. 

Teach students to differentiate between observations and inferences using the Observations vs. Inferences activity where a piece of string cheese is made to look like a birthday candle. Students learn that the inferences they make automatically change as they make careful observations. 

Introductory Topics

Understanding the difference between physical and chemical changes sets the tone for a successful chemistry foundation.  Start this process off with the Observing a Chemical Reaction Lab. To help students recognize the differences between changes on a particulate level, the Physical, Chemical, and Nuclear changes classroom resource does a great job of breaking it down. 

We hope that these resources can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit about Chemistry Basics. Most of these lessons were made possible by great teachers who shared their own resources. We need your help to keep the collection growing. Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson related to this topic that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.