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Classroom Activities

  • Violet Shines Blue Classic demo with a violet laser pointer may be used as a discrepant event to discuss light waves, fluorescence, or chemical quenching. View »
  • Bending Light Light travels in a straight path. Find out how get light to “bend” and follow a curved stream of water! View »
  • Periodic Table Mystery P is less dense than S. S is an alkali metal. E is a noble gas. In this activity, students generate a periodic table from clues and predict the missing properties of several elements based on the elements’ locations in the table. View »
  • Solar Cell Misconceptions All of your students have seen photovoltaic solar cells used in a variety of ways; however, students may have misconceptions in understanding what influences solar cell output. This activity sets the record straight and explores how ambient temperature and the angle of illumination can affect solar cell output in volts. View »
  • Imploding Soda Cans: An Inquiry Approach Your students have probably seen someone crush an empty beverage can with their bare hands, or have even crushed one themselves. But have they ever seen an open can seemingly crush itself, like magic, without the presence of a visible, physical force? View »
  • Make the Invisible Visible: Detecting IR Light with a Smart Phone When it comes to light, there’s more than meets the eye. But with a smartphone camera and a remote control, you can make the invisible visible and show your students infrared light. View »
  • More Paper Clip Chemistry Who knew the common paper clip could be such a versatile teaching assistant? This activity uses several paper clip styles to help students understand empirical formulas and relative masses. View »
  • Molecular Geometry with Balloons For some students, molecular geometry can be tricky to understand, but with this hands-on, engaging activity, it doesn’t have to be. View »
  • Teaching Chemistry with Manipulatives Manipulatives can help students (especially visual and tactile learners) understand abstract concepts by allowing them to “see” a chemical structure or process. We offer 2 ideas for creating manipulatives and how to use them. View »
  • A New Approach to Teaching Atomic Theory For chemistry teacher Siobhan Julian, teaching the history of atomic theory by lecture “was dry and tedious and boring for everyone involved.” Then she took a fresh approach—one that focuses on doing science to learn science history. View »
  • Optics of the Human Eye A cross-curricular lesson in biology and physics allows students to make a simple model of the human eye. Students investigate how geometric optics can be applied to this complex, biological structure in order to describe how the images we see are formed when special tissues in our eye, the cornea and the lens, refract the light entering the pupil to create an image on the back wall of the eyeball (the retina), like a miniature, organic movie projector. View »
  • A Visual Introduction to Ionic and Net Ionic Equations With this activity students explore the phenomenon of chemical precipitation and construct an atomic level model of precipitation using ionic and net ionic equations. View »
  • The Physics of Vision Get ready to investigate parallax and depth perception with 2 activities you can complete in less than 30 minutes. View »
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