AACT Resources to Use During National Chemistry Week

By Kim Duncan on October 4, 2017

National Chemistry Week (NCW) will celebrate its 30th anniversary with the theme "Chemistry Rocks!" from October 22nd – 28th, 2017. The 2017 NCW edition of Celebrating Chemistry and other online resources are now available on the American Chemical Society website.

Teachers be sure to check out the following AACT cross-disciplinary resources that make connections between chemistry and geology and earth science:

Elementary School:

  • Chemical Weathering of Rocks – This lab allows students to explore reactions that contribute to chemical weathering in rocks as they appear in nature. During the activity they will observe and compare the effects of two different chemicals as they contact various rock and mineral samples. Teachers can set up this 30-minute activity in about 15-minutes.
  • Creating Finger-Paints from Rocks – For this activity, students explore the physical properties of different samples of rock. They also have the opportunity to physically change rocks and make them part of a mixture in order to create finger paint. This activity will take about an hour and requires about 20-minutes of teacher preparation.
  • Settle that Soil – This activity allows students to classify and distinguish between sand, silt, and clay by observing their physical properties. Note: The alignment to NGSS Standards is included. Teachers will need about 30-minutes to set up this 90-minute lab.

Middle School:

  • Chemical Weathering in Geology - This lab explores the differences between erosion, weathering and chemical weathering. Students will complete a lab experiment that simulates chemical weathering on four different types of rocks. They will also learn how to use the Mohs Hardness Test to analyze the results. This activity requires about 15-minutes of preparation time and takes students 50-minutes to complete.
  • Break It Down! Lab - Students will examine the physical and chemical changes that take place within a landfill by composting leftover fruits and vegetables from their lunches. They will also record pH and temperature measurements during the process. There is minimal teacher preparation time for this lab and should fill one class period.
  • Sandy Beaches—A Foray into ‘Magic’ Sand Lesson Plan - In this lesson, students investigate the properties of magic sand and learn about the concept of hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules. It also introduces students to the field of nanotechnology. Teacher preparation time is 10–15 minutes and the lesson can be completed in 40–60 minutes.

High School:

  • Test Tube Geology- This lab introduces students to experimental design with a focus on collecting qualitative data. It also shows students the connections between chemistry and geology and introduces them to a Scientific Writing Heuristic. The lab requires about 30-minutes to set up and will take students about 60-minutes to complete.
  • Extracting Copper From Ore – During this lab students will extract copper from copper carbonate using two different methods and then determine which method would be most effective in industry. This 100-minute activity requires about 1-hour of teacher preparation time.
  • ChemMatters Magazine - ChemMatters magazine is an award-winning magazine for high school chemistry that can be integrated into daily instruction. Every article includes a Teacher’s Guide with reading strategies, student questions and answers, anticipation guides, and background information. For example, several articles that connect chemistry with geology and earth science are:
    • December 2015 – Geothermal Power: Hot Stuff
      Most of the energy needed to light and heat our homes comes from burning fossil fuels, a process that generates pollution and contributes to climate change. But a clean and sustainable source of energy is also available under our feet, and it is called geothermal energy.
    • October 2015 – Dirt? Who Needs It? How Hydroponics Is Poised to Change the World
      The amount of land suitable for agriculture, and the stores of water needed to grow crops are shrinking. So, how will people feed themselves in the future? Hydroponics, a type of agriculture that does not use soil, may provide a solution.