Using AACT Resources to Teach Chemical Reactions and Equations

By Kim Duncan on April 1, 2016

Identifying a process as a chemical change, determining the type of reaction that occurred, and predicting the products of the reaction are also fundamental concepts of chemistry and mastery of this subject area is necessary for success in AP Chemistry. There are many Learning Objectives about this material in Big Idea 3 in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework: Changes in matter involve the rearrangement and/or reorganization of atoms and/or the transfer of electrons.

AACT has several classroom resources that can help your students master the material related to Learning Objectives 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3.

  • In the First Day Review demonstration, students see evidence of a chemical reaction. Usually done on the first day of school, this activity gets AP Chemistry students back into chemistry mode.
  • Identifying the type of reactions occurring helps students predict the products that will be formed. In the Classifying Reaction Types lab students make observations of several reactions, classify the type, and predict the products. This resource includes an additional practice activity.
  • Even though students do not have to know the complete list of solubility rules, they must be able to write net ionic equations for reactions involving aqueous solutions. In the Ions in Aqueous Solution lab students mix ionic solutions to determine the precipitates that form, and write both complete and net ionic equations. The resources include a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the concept of net ionic equations and the lab procedures.
  • In the Analysis of Carbonate Compounds lab students must identify three unknown substances by measuring the amount of carbon dioxide produced when the substances react with hydrochloric acid. In AP Chemistry, this lab can be used very early in the year during the study of stoichiometry. It helps review several key concepts from first-year chemistry.
  • In the Recycling Copper: Understanding Chemical Reactions lab, students demonstrate their understanding of writing, balancing, translating, and identifying types of chemical reactions. While doing so, they will learn about the process of recycling copper. A suggested extension to this lab is having students read an excerpt from The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean that focuses on the importance of copper in everyday life.
  • In the It’s Time to React lab, students conduct four chemical reactions and analyze each for indicators of a chemical change. Based on their observations students will write a balanced chemical equation for each reaction, identify the reaction type for each, and predict the products of the reaction.
  • Your students can use their knowledge of molarity to review limiting reactant concepts mathematically, conceptually, and graphically with the White Lab. They can then use their results to carry out a follow up investigation to identify an unknown.
  • AACT also has animations that can help your students master the learning objectives in Big Idea 3:
    Limiting Reactant
    Net Ionic Equations

Do you have a great AP demonstration, activity, or lesson about any topics relating to chemical reactions or equations that you would like to share with the community? We are proud to feature teacher-submitted activities in the classroom resource collection. If you want to share something you use in your classroom with the community, please send it along for consideration.