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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 »
  • Petri Dish Electrolysis Activity Introduce your students to reduction-oxidation reactions and some of the basic terms of electrochemistry (such as electrode potential, anode, and cathode) with this activity—creating electrolysis in a petri dish. View »
  • Plate Tectonics Activity Here is a fascinating activity that will help you give your students a better understanding of Earth's structure and how it creates tectonic plate movement. View »
  • Stoichiometry and Limiting Reactant Develop a model for a limiting reactant in a chemical reaction, analyze combining ratios for reactions, and write balanced equations for them. Activity supports NGSS instruction. View »
  • Chemoween and Other Spooky Science Treat your students to some spirited demos and hands-on activities, and celebrate Halloween as the finale to your October science explorations. View »
  • Volcano in the Classroom Here’s a safe, easy, and vivid interpretation of a classic activity that won’t break the budget. All you’ll need are a few common items—a beaker, sand, water, a candle, and a hot plate. View »
  • Energy Is Energy Energy that we use has to come from somewhere. Even though one form of energy may seem different from another form, it really is all the same. Energy is energy. 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 »
  • The Lava Lamp Lab: A Guided-Inquiry Approach to Intermolecular Forces Remember that lava lamp you had? You and your students can use this lab to explore the fascinating world of intermolecular forces firsthand. 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 »
  • Chemistry Holiday Hoopla! If the approaching holidays are causing student minds to wander, try these holiday-oriented demonstrations to recapture their attention. The activities acknowledge the season while helping students understand important chemistry concepts. 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 »
  • One in a Million: Using Serial Dilutions to Understand Concentration In this activity, students will learn about concentration while performing a serial dilution. View »
  • Evaluating a Scientific Claim: Evaluating Lemonade as a Buffer Students can use this graphic organizer to evaluate a scientific claim about adding buffers to medicines. View »
  • Thermochemistry: An Endothermic Reaction In this thermochemistry demonstration, students observe an extreme, spontaneous endothermic reaction between 2 solid compounds, measure changes in temperature, and make observations. View »
  • Carbon Snake In this teacher-directed demonstration of an exothermic reaction, students observe the dehydration of a carbohydrate using concentrated sulfuric acid. 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 »
  • Elephant Toothpaste This demonstration showing the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, catalyzed by iodide ions, provides students with visual evidence of a chemical reaction. View »