Holiday and Winter Themed Classroom Resources from AACT

By Kim Duncan on November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving has passed and holiday decorations are starting to pop up all around us. Here are a few AACT winter and holiday themed classroom activities that you can use with your students in the coming months. Enjoy the upcoming winter break!

All Grade Levels

In the Winter Crystals lab, students at all levels can create snowflakes using pipe cleaners and a supersaturated borax solution. A snowflake shaped pipe cleaner suspended in the solution serves as a nucleation site for crystallization as the undisturbed solution cools. This lab gives students an opportunity to experience the crystallization process and can be differentiated to cover the topics of solutions, solubility, solute, solvent, concentration, saturation, and nucleation.

High School

Have your students learn how solutions and supersaturated solutions are formed with the Benzoic Acid Blizzard in a Bottle lab. During this activity, students create snow globes with benzoic acid and hot water. By the end of the lesson, they will be able to write the chemical equation for benzoic acid and identify a compound as either ionic or covalent.

Balancing chemical equations is a difficult concept that requires a lot of practice. Use the equation cards in the Snowman Challenge activity to help your students get the practice they need with this fun and interactive game. During the activity, student teams select a reaction, predict the products, and balance the final equation. Once they get the right answer, they earn a point and select another card. The group with the most points wins the game.

Middle School

The Dry Ice lab allows students to investigate how dry ice undergoes a phase change from solid to gas, skipping the liquid phase under normal temperature and pressure. Several experiments are performed during this 5E lesson plan, including sensing pressure from sublimation, thermal contraction of a penny, condensation of water vapor, and boiling in a cold-water environment. This lesson includes cross-disciplinary connections to math, reading, and writing, as well as alignment to physical science performance expectations in the NGSS.

Have your students create a festive Chemistree using a mixture of salt, hot water, ammonia and laundry bluing. After mixing the solution, they pour it into a petri dish and allow it to be absorbed by a tree cut from blotter paper. Observations over two days will show them that the liquids evaporate, leaving the colorful salts behind on the “branches” of the tree. This lesson supports students’ understanding of physical changes, solutions, solutes, and solvents.

Elementary School

With the Making the Connection lab, your students will have fun using holiday lights, a battery, and aluminum foil to learn about closed and open circuits . They'll create circuits that conduct electricity and identify examples of different types of circuits to support their understanding of electricity, electrons, and open and closed circuits.

Many students know that water freezes at 0 °C, and some think that all substances freeze at that same temperature. With the Salting Roads in Winter lesson, students investigate how the freezing point of water changes when salt is added. The activities help students understand why salt is spread on roads in cold and snowy conditions. This 5E lesson plan includes cross-disciplinary extensions to math, reading, writing, and social studies, as well as alignment to several performance expectations in the NGSS.

Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson with a winter or holiday theme that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.