Using AACT Resources to Help Teach Thermochemistry and Thermodynamics

By Kim Duncan on February 19, 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 an Aqueous Solutions unit. We will now focus on lessons and other activities that could be used in a Thermodynamics 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 Thermodynamics. This includes endothermic and exothermic processes, enthalpy, Hess’s Law, entropy, and free energy.

Many teachers start their thermodynamic unit with a study of heat transfer, specific heat capacity, and calorimetry. These topics were covered in our January 22, 2019 news post about Phase Changes and Heat Transfer.

Different temperature units are often used during a thermochemistry unit. The Temperature Guys video tells the story of how the concept of temperature has evolved and how thermometers have changed since the 1600s. This will give your students a better understanding of the different temperature units. Provided with this video is an question sheet for your students to complete while they watch the video.

The Thermochemistry Infographic is a great culminating activity to use to check student understanding of the principles of thermochemistry and thermodynamics. Student groups select a real world phenomenon involving a type of energy change and explain the process using the concepts learned during this unit. This project supports student understanding of exothermic and endothermic reactions, bond energy, energy flow in systems, the Law of conservation of Energy, and temperature. It also includes NGSS alignment.

We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit about thermochemistry and thermodynamics. 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.