Using AACT Resources to Help Teach Aqueous Solutions

By Kim Duncan on February 4, 2019


As chemistry teachers plan activities for their students, AACT will highlight resources from our high school library that help to reinforce topics in different units throughout the school year. Our last news post highlighted resources from our high school library that could be used to support a Phase Changes and Heat Transfer unit. We will now focus on lessons and other activities that could be used in an Aqueous Solutions unit.

Since our original post in March 2018, 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 Aqueous Solutions.

Start this unit by exploring the concept of dissolving with the Basic Modeling of the Dissolving Phenomenon activity, which allows students to explore the process of salt dissolving in water. This resource includes cut-outs of ions and water molecules to help students model the interaction between them and then use their model to make predictions about the relative solubility of salt and isopropyl alcohol. This inquiry activity then has students design an experiment to test their prediction.

If you teach a higher level class, you might choose to use the Advanced Modeling of the Dissolving Phenomenon activity, which has students draw particle diagrams to construct a model of the dissolving process, predict the relative solubility of salt with water and isopropyl alcohol, design an experiment to test their predictions and use claim-evidence-reasoning to build an argument for their model based on evidence.

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Then use one or more of the following activities to further explore the vocabulary of solubility and the factors that affect it.

  • Students can explore how changes in pressure and temperature affect the solubility of a gas in an aqueous solution with the Exploring Gas Solubility demonstration. In addition, students will participate in a reflection activity to practice using the data and observations collected during the demonstration to make evidence based claims. This resource includes alignment with NGSS.
  • In the lab, What’s the Solution? students choose a factor, such as stirring, temperature, or particle size, that could affect the rate of dissolving. They then design a procedure that can be used to determine how the factor they chose will affect the solubility rate as supported by time required to dissolve the solute.
  • If you teach your students about conductivity and electrolytes, use the lab, Strong and Weak Electrolytes to show how the conductivity of different common household solutions varies. They can determine the strength of the electrolyte from the brightness of the light on the conductivity diode tester. This resources includes instructions for making your own testers with inexpensive and easy to find materials. This resource includes alignment with AP Chemistry learning objectives.
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We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit about aqueous solutions. 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