Embrace Challenge Chemistry section

Links to:

Other people's stuff

Melissa's stuff

Chemistry links


Other people's stuff

Chabot Space and Science Center July 24-25, 2007 (Tanya Phillip's Workshop)

Chabot Space and Science Center June 20-21, 2006 (Tanya Phillips's Workshop)

Melissa's crap

Below are links to documents on various lessons or topics.

Disclaimer- all of these activities may need revising for your situation. Also check for accuracy.

If you see a document and you know someone else should get the credit for it, please email me to tell me who deserves credit. I may have typed up these documents, but many of the ideas came from someone else.

Long term projects Standards based tests (CA)    

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Yes, there is still a lot of old code here. When I have time, I intend to update it to HTML5.

Beginning documents (links are to doc)

Wake Up!- the paper used to gather answers for warm up questions

Gotta Clue- the paper used to gather answers for the end of the period quiz

Backside to Wake Up and Gotta Clue

Symbols they had to memorize for class- I did not believe students were meant to memorize the periodic table because it is analygous to a piece of equipment. They were in class to learn how to use this equipment. However, to be proficient with the language of chemistry, they needed to learn enough of the alphabet to be literate.

General Class Rules- I went overboard with giving out class rules. My grading system is somewhat explained here, too.

Example of a Pre-lab- their pre-labs were pretty poor to begin with, so after doing this lab I gave them a copy of what an appropriate pre-lab would look like.

Equipment List - I can not take full credit for the ideas in this list. I believe this list was created by working with Living by Chemistry. I used this lab to introduce how to use lab buckets. Each lab bucket had 5 -7 pieces of equipment. A lab group became experts with their equipment and then presented it to the class. Each object was accompanied by a card that listed a description of it. I believe the cards also had a picture of the equipment on them to help students figure out which object matched the card.

Equipment List with descriptions

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Surveys- I tried to gather student input whenever possible. Although I am not putting my physical science lessons online, I have to recall that once I was asked how I figured out what to teach my physical science students (before the CA standards were published.) Simply put- I asked them what they wanted to learn. That is how I determined what to teach my kids; I knew there was not enough time to teach EVERYTHING so why torture them with topics they are not interested in learning? (links are to doc)

Take a vote- sheet asking students how they wanted to spend time after the testing season

Survey for chemistry students at end of year

Survey about the nuclear chemistry project (for students)

Survey for chemistry students about projects they want to do

Survey for chemical science students about the course

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Significant Figures; Scientific Notation; Dimensional Analysis- Two of the topics I became very adamant about my students learning are significant figures and dimensional analysis. I understand that many teachers see sig figs as a waste of time; however I wonder if that is because they don't understand them or how to teach them so that kids will understand. (links are to doc)

Significant figures, scientific notation, dimensional analysis notes

Rounding practice

Using a calculator with scientific notation

Scientific notation practice

Math with scientific notation answers

Practice with significant figures

Answers to practice with significant figures

How to read a graduated cylinder- Since students were not comfortable with equipment before entering our class, this lab served two purposes: present various scales so they can get an idea of what it means to estimate and then determine the number of significant figures in that measurement.

What is on sig fig/ sci notation test

Notes on dimensional analysis part 1 - this document is to help explain what a conversion factor is and how they are mathematically determined

Dimensional analysis worksheet 1

Dimensional analysis worksheet 2

Metric Conversions- I need to find this note sheet - I found having students memorize metrics to be a waste of time. Instead I taught them how to use this note sheet with dimensional analysis to do metric conversions properly. A copy of the top half of the sheet was available in their testing folder. Naturally if they took the time to memorize metric conversions they would go faster on the tests, but for some reason having students memorize metrics was like pulling teeth without novacaine.

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Atom notes- this copy does not have a diagram on it showing the nucleus and electron orbitals, but it is easy to draw as you go over the notes with students.

History of atom chart- this information is adapted from Living by Chemistry

Bulls-eye atom of Bromine

Lewis Dot atom of Bromine

Emission Spectroscopy lab info sheet

Emission Spectroscopy pre-lab and data sheet

Flame tests

Flame test lab for chemical science

Electron Configuration worksheet- this worksheet is something like parts of 3 worksheets merged together. I can not claim to be the brains behind any parts of the worksheet so if you are the one with the brains and want credit or want me to remove the document- let me know.

Powerpoint: Electron configurations connected to the periodic table

Ions- puzzle pieces

I made a few templates that can be cut apart and used to represent ions. This helped my students understand why MgCl2 had two Cl- ions. With the pieces, an indent means an electron is lost, an outdent means an electron is gained.

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Periodic Table

Advertise your family- a quick in-class exercise for students to come up with the strengths of their chemical family

Lecture notes for Trends of the Periodic Table

Data on atomic radius and ionization energy for graphing

Student project- family, group, region presentation

Questions on Periodic Table trends

Trend Practice worksheet

Periodic Table Scavenger Hunt (adapted from Tayna's idea)

Periodic Table Scavenger Hunt Sheet to record student work

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Bonds/ Shapes of Molecules

Ionic, Covalent, and Lewis dot drawing review

Using marshmallows to understand shapes of molecules

Molecular Geometry

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Polarity notes

Polar water exercises- adapted from Project Wet

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Mole jars mini-labs- My first year of teaching moles in a department that had no equipment to share, I got a hold of some plastic tissue culture flasks and chemicals. I assigned my honors chemistry students to weigh a mole of each chemical and put it in the flask. Well...let's say they were a little clueless so some of the jars were quite a bit off. I saw this as an opportunity to learn about human error and how it is ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. So future students learned from my previous students' mistakes by weighing the mole jars and determining if there truly was a mole in the jar or not. I enjoyed telling them stories about where some of the students went on to college or graduate school. You see, not all of my students who went onto graduate school in science knew how to measure a mole when they were 16.

Moles of zinc in a penny- I had students make an "X". Some people just have students scrape the edges off of a penny. If you have the pennies go overnight, agitate the beaker carefully so you can dislodge any hydrogen bubbles trapped inside the penny.

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Nuclear Chemistry

Brief nuclear chemistry notes

Nuclear chemistry factoids

Nuclear Processes project outline (based on CA standards)

Changes to nuclear chemistry project

Using WWW to find information on nuclear chemistry

Notes for alpha, beta, gamma project presenters

Self-grade for nuclear chem project

What is a nuclear process teacher document for Chemical Science

What is a nuclear process teacher document for chem sci ANSWER key

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Forming Ioinic and Covalent compounds and naming them

Transition Metals worksheet 1

Transition Metals worksheet 2

What's in a Name? (ionic, covalent, organic)

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Balancing equations

Balancing equations hints

Balancing equations for chemical science notes

Practice balancing equations

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Chemical Reactions

Determining types of chemical reactions notes

Chemical reactions mini-labs

Reactivity of certain metals mini-lab

Reactivity of certain metals mini-lab no air in data table

Grading requirements for chem rxn mini-labs- I recall this being a nightmare to grade. I highly recommend you look at what I did and simplify it so that you don't go insane.

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Stoichiometry homework part 1

Stoichiometry homework part 2

Stoichiometry homework part 3

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Phases notes

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Gas laws

Kinetic Molecular Theory (KMT) drawings

Can crushing mini-lab

Gas Law Worksheet

Gas law Demo notes

Notes to go with shortened Gas Law Demos

Review of solving math in chemistry (focuses on gas laws)

Mg and HCl- will link to someplace else b/c of copyright issues

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Solubility curve mini-lab with an unknown

Copy of solutility data for lab



Solutions notes

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Acids and Bases

Titration lab- I did not write this; it is strongly borrowed from someone- if you know the rightful owner please let me know so they can be appropriately credited. This particular lab is actually quite good. It actually works.

Data and Calculations table for the Titration lab

Prelab questions to go with the Titration lab

Directions for the Acid and Base Titration lab write up

Acids and bases overview

Answers to acids and bases overview

Calculating pH

Calculating pH answers

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Nanotechnology Project

Instructions for nanotechnology project

Sign-up sheet for nanotechnology project ideas

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Small Scale Labs- I used the Addison Wesley small scale lab book. The lab numbers on these documents refer to the labs in that book.

Small scale lab 1 follow-up questions

Small scale lab 10 supplement

Experiment 16 guide (heats of reaction)

Small scale lab 20 supplement

Experiment 21 guide (unknowns)

Small scale lab 23 supplement

Small scale lab 23 follow-up questions

Microscale Preparation of some esters (from LBC and Flinn)

Electrolytes lab instructions

Electrolytes reaction surface


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Thermochemistry, entropy, enthalpy

Entropy and Enthalpy notes


Equilibrium Constants explained

Equilibrium small scale lab (from Flinn)

Other labs or demos

Beverage lab information- in one of Flinn's Chemtopics books there is a beverage lab. We did it early on in the year and apparently my students needed to see an example of what I expected to receive in a lab report. Although this was given to them after they turned in their labs, since they had the prior experience, the lab report could mean something to them.

Chem labs Melissa routinely does

Growing crystals in gels instructions (also see Tanya's lab instructions)

Growing crystals in gels equation sheet (also see Tanya's lab instructions)

Copper cycle lab equations; I can't put up the copper cycle lab instructions because they are copyrighted by Living by Chemistry. You can probably find several protocols for copper cycle labs online.

Conservation of mass lab

Specific Heat lab

Demos to emphasize energy of reactions

Halloween Demos- just a few ideas

Extra credit- pressure (I RARELY offered extra credit- this is one example of what they could do for extra credit.)

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Powerpoint instructions

Basics of powerpoint

Powerpoint Tips

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Long term projects

Submit an application- Each honors student was expected to do this mock application. It was modeled after a real application. Students were asked to do this because they were capable and in many cases eligible for consideration into summer programs. I also wanted them to not be afraid of applying for things merely because there was an application to fill out. Since they wrote a personal statement for this application, they had something to work with and revise if it was good enough to be used on future applications. Only a few students actually followed through and applied to summer programs. These students went to programs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, NASA, and Santa Clara University among other schools that I can't remember at the moment.

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Do a Demo- Students in honors chem were expected to pick a demo, come in at lunch and after school to practice it, write a paper explaining the chemistry in the demo, and actually do the demo in front of the class. I can not find the do a demo assignment itself, but I did find the papers where students signed up and the rubric for the written report. The demo source books I used are the ones sold by ACS (volumes 1 and 2). There were a few restrictions- no demos with mercury, alkali metals, lead, or any other toxic substance. They were allowed to "blow things up" if it was a part of the demo instructions (methanol cannon, lycopodium in a can, etc.)

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Book chat- Honors chem students were expected to read either a fiction or a non-fiction book. They made an appointment with me for a 10 minute book chat where they told me about the book. I had a science book library from which they could choose a book. If they did not use one of my books, I had to approve of the book before they came for the chat.

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Make a book for kids (links coming soon...)

Nanotechnology project- this first started as a project on chemical processes, but as the field of nanotechnology grew, I changed the project to focus on nanotech. Similar projects can be done such as ones on chemical and industrial processes or technology.

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CA standards based testing

When the standards movement hit my school, I tried to do as I was encouraged...I mapped standards to test questions. This method was very rough and somewhat archaic. I am not putting test examples here to show off. I'm hoping someone can expand on my idea and make it better. If you do improve these tests, please send me a copy.

With this process, I gave small tests on specific topics. Students had two opportunities to take every test. If they showed up on the day the test was given in class, they could come at lunch or after school to do a re-test. If they were absent the day of the test, then they could only take the test once at lunch or after school. This method follows the methodology that one needs to give students multiple opportunities to learn information and to demonstrate mastery of the information. The idea is that students would come in for tutoring after the first test so they could gain mastery of the material before they tood the second test. The best of the test scores was kept and recorded.

In addition, feedback was given to students on which standards they had mastered because every question was mapped to a standard. If the standard did not exist for CA, I made it. For example, there are no CA standards on significant figures, but I thought it was important to take class time and teach it. So I made a set of standards for significant figures, dimensional analysis, and some other things that CA chose to not put in the high school chemistry standards.

When I first started doing this method, their grades were recorded per standard. Eventually that became too time consuming so I would list scores in the gradebook by test and not by standard. For my records, I would record each standard's grade, but for putting them in the computer, it was registered by test. In addition, I worked on a base 4 (4-3-2-1-0 points) grading system. This system automatically builds in a curve if you look at point values = to percentages. It is really complicated and at this moment I am not sure how to explain it online. Plus I really don't want to get emails from people telling me the flaws in my system. I just know it worked for me, my students got feedback as accurate as possible as to how well they have mastered learning standards.

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The tests:

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Review Sheets or Tests that were given before I went on the standards' based kick (not mapped to standards):

Chemistry specific links (to be added when I get the time- for now check out the chemistry section on the links page)

Links suggested by Tanya Philips

Nancy Clark's teaching chemistry website


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