Using AACT Classroom Resources to Teach AP Chemistry

By Kim Duncan on May 11, 2017

From February through April 2016 I shared a list of AACT classroom activities that could be used to teach many concepts in AP Chemistry. Since that time we have added over 100 new resources to our High School Resource Library and several of them could be used in an AP or advanced chemistry class.

You can introduce the concept of electrolytes with our Strong and Weak Electrolytes laboratory. Your students will analyze the conductivity of several common household solutions to determine if they are strong or weak electrolytes by interpreting and comparing the brightness of the lightbulb. They will also explore the connection between conductivity and bond type during this lab. By the end of this lab, students will be able to use a conductivity tester to analyze the strength of an electrolyte and make correlations between ion concentration of a solution and its ability to conduct. This lesson was published with the March 2016 issue of Chemistry Solutions article, Keys for Success in Teaching Chemistry.

Our Energy in Hot and Cold Packs demonstration allows students to observe temperature changes in chemical hot and cold packs while also introducing the processes of endothermic and exothermic changes. Students will also learn that common household products can be used to make a hot and cold pack. This demonstration will help your students better understand what happens in terms of energy when a substance dissolves and also teach them how to classify a change as either endothermic or exothermic. A related lesson plan, Particle Modeling of Hand Warmers, connects the same concept to the particle diagram level. Your students will create diagrams that show the energy changes in physical processes. The lesson also includes alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The following two laboratory activities were brought to us by Amiee Modic, who uses them as take home labs with her AP Chemistry classes. You could use them during the year as summative activities, or as post AP Chemistry activities. Find out more about her take home labs in the March 2017 issue of Chemistry Solutions or in the AACT Webinar archive.

  • In the lab, Aspirin Tablets: Are they all the Same? students design an experiment to test how long it takes various types of aspirin to fully dissolve in different pH environments. After designing the lab, students collect relevant qualitative and quantitative data to help them determine the dissolution capabilities of each type of aspirin tablet. They will also determine the relationship between the tested materials and how aspirin interacts with the human body. This lab was designed to offer experimental design and research of a new material.
  • Carbonate Identification is a lab that can be used as a summary assessment of chemical reactions, stoichiometry, and the gas laws. Your students apply their knowledge of the gas laws and stoichiometry, using balloons and simple measuring tools, to identify a metal carbonate from a short list of possibilities. The activity requires students to write chemical equations, predict products for the reaction between potential carbonate compounds with an acid, design an experiment to collect carbon dioxide, use in stoichiometric calculations, and identify an unknown based on results of their experiment and thorough analysis.

We are working hard to expand our library of classroom resources for AP Chemistry teachers. Do you have a great AP demonstration, activity, or lesson that you would like to share with the community? We are proud to feature teacher-submitted activities in our classroom resource collection. If you want to share something you use in your classroom with the community, please send it along for consideration.