AACT Resources to Help Teach Chemical Equations

By Kimberly Duncan on November 29, 2018

As chemistry teachers around the country plan 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. Our last post highlighted resources that could be used to support a Chemical Names and Formulas unit. We will now focus on articles, videos, simulations, and activities that could be used in a Chemical Equations unit.

Since our original post on December 13, 2017, we have added a few more resources that you might consider trying with your students. Additionally, we have created a unit plan that uses many of our resources to help you teach a unit on Chemical Equations.

The activity, Balancing Equations with Note Cards is a great way to practice the law of conservation of matter and balancing reactions once you have introduced these two topics. Students balance equations and get immediate feedback on whether they are accurate or not while challenged to solve a mystery quote. This resource includes completed notecards that you can print and use with your students.

Do you teach reaction types? We have two new demonstrations and a lab based lesson plan to help your students observe and differentiate between the types of chemical reactions:

  • Demonstrate two chemical reactions that produce gases inside a balloon with the Firefighter or Fireball demo. Students observe and record data as each balloon is ignited. This demonstration helps students better understand how to predict products, as well as familiarize themselves with double replacement and combustion reactions.
  • Students observe precipitation reactions and create particle diagrams based on their observations during the Precipitation Reaction demonstration. It is designed to help students fully understand what is occurring on the atomic level during the chemical reaction. This demonstration is highlighted in the article Part II: Rethinking Common Practices in High School Chemistry from the March 2018 issue of Chemistry Solutions.
  • Students perform and analyze two single displacement reactions and prepare particle diagrams to show what is happening at the molecular level during the Single Displacement Reactions with Test Tube Diagrams lesson plan. In addition to a student activity sheet with answer key, this lesson includes reactant, product, and test tube cutouts.

Once you have covered the topics of balancing equations and reaction types, use the lab, It’s Time to React to help your students put all of these concepts together. After carrying out four chemical reactions and identifying evidence of a reaction, students write balanced chemical equations and identify the reaction type for each. You can read more about this lab in the article, Keys for Success in Teaching Chemistry from the March 2016 issue of Chemistry Solutions.

We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit on Chemical Equations. 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.