Using AACT Resources to Introduce Reaction Rates

By Kim Duncan on February 20, 2016

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the AP Teacher Community concerning Kinetics in the past week, so I thought that I would point to some classroom resources on the topic from AACT. We have several activities that can be used to introduce the concept of reactions rates to your students. This topic is covered in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework under Big Idea 4 (Rates of chemical reactions are determined by details of the molecular collisions), specifically in Learning objective 4.1: “The student is able to design and/or interpret the results of an experiment regarding the factors (i.e. temperature, concentration, surface area) that may influence the rate of a reaction.”

  • The Rate of Solution lab allows students to observe how particle size, solvent temperature, and agitation affect rate of solution.
  • A Simple Kinetics demonstration will show your students how chemicals in various food dyes react with bleach at different rates. This demo includes an extension activity that challenges students to explain their observations by using critical thinking skills.
  • Plop, Fizz: How to Affect the Rate of a Chemical Reaction lab will show students how changes in temperature, surface area, and concentration can affect the reaction rate.
  • Inquiry-based lab, Reaction Rates, allows students to devise a method to measure reaction rate and design a controlled experiment that will allow them to determine the effect of temperature, particle size, and concentration on reaction rates.
  • All of these and related resources are located in the High School Kinetics section of the AACT resource library.

While the discussion in the AP Teacher Community this past week focused on reaction mechanisms and intermediates, AACT doesn’t currently have resources on this topic—but 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 about reaction mechanisms that you would like to share? We are proud to feature teacher-submitted activities in the classroom resources collection. If you want to share something you use in your classroom with the community, please send it along for consideration.