AACT Classroom Resources with Cross-Disciplinary Concepts: Connections to Physics

By Kim Duncan on September 15, 2016

AACT offers its members many classroom lesson plans, activities, labs, demos, and multimedia resources that will help teachers to make interdisciplinary connections for their students in specific content areas. In our first three posts we explored the links between geology, earth science, biology and the environment with chemistry. Now we’ll take a look at resources that connect chemistry with physics.

What Powers Your World? Activity [High school] In this activity, students will assess the battery power sources for electronic devices they use each day, and then relate the information to their study of oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry. By the end of this activity, students will be able to determine the advantages and disadvantages of different battery types. This one hour activity requires about 5 minutes of teacher preparation.

Electrolysis of Water Lab [High school] In this lab, students will perform electrolysis using a battery, test tubes, thumbtacks, and a plastic cup to understand how the process chemically separates water into hydrogen gas. This one class lab requires 15 minutes of teacher prep time.

Alka-Seltzer Rockets – [Elementary school]
In this lab, students will conduct a chemical reaction that will be used to launch a rocket. This activity incorporates the principles of reactions, conservation of matter, gas pressure, and Newton’s Law of Motion. This 45 minute lab requires about 20 minutes of teacher preparation time.

Rocket Challenge Lab[Middle or elementary school]
In this lab, students will have the opportunity to construct a rocket, with the challenges of both designing it and preparing a chemical reaction for its “fuel” in order to propel the rocket the highest possible distance. Students will investigate available materials, quantities and ratios during allotted planning and testing phases. Student will record their plans, modifications and designs during the process. The lab will culminate with a competition among students to see whose rocket will travel the highest distance. You will need 30 minutes to prepare for the two to three hour activity.

Launching Rockets Lab[High school]
In this lab, students create a stoichiometric mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases to launch a soda bottle rocket. This lab activity is designed to be run as a one-week project incorporating several (stoichiometry, combustion, limiting reactant, catalysts, activation energy, gas laws) chemical concepts. The lab can be shortened (possibly to as little as two days) by cutting out the activation energy and catalysis concepts. You should plan for two hours of teacher preparation time for this three hour lab.

Understanding Specific Heat Lab[High or middle school]
In this inquiry lab, students investigate the mixing of two liquids at different temperatures. In one case, the same liquids will be mixed, in another case different liquids will be mixed. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to recognize that all liquids do not behave the same when it heated. This 45 minute lab will require 20 minutes of teacher preparation time.

Heating & Cooling Curve Lab [High school]
In this lab, students will create a phase change graph by adding and removing heat to observe and record data during actual phase changes. Instead of just memorizing a heating/cooling curve they see in a textbook, students create their own. You will need 30 minutes of teacher preparation time for this 60 minute lab.