An experienced chemistry professor used to say that it took about one explosion per week to maintain college students' attention in chemistry lectures. At that rate, we'd get in pretty big trouble with a lot of parents and teachers! Don't worry, we still have lots of bubbles, fizzes, bangs, and color changes for you to explore.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
How do "instant" cold packs get cold when they are stored at room temperature, unlike a regular ice pack which must be stored in the freezer? In this lesson plan, students will explore several endothermic and exothermic reactions, and use their observations to choose the chemical reaction that best fits the design constraints for their own chemical cold pack. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS1-6. Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
In this lesson, students will employ the enzymatic decomposition reaction of hydrogen peroxide to investigate how chemical reactions are affected by enzymes and different substrate concentrations. Students will be challenged to control the rate of the reaction by adjusting the amount of substrate and thus changing the catalase activity. Foam production, created by the enzymatic breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, will function as a proxy for the reaction rate. Based on their… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
When discussing material properties, most of us usually think of solid materials and material properties such as hardness, flexibility, or strength. However, liquids are characterized by distinct properties, too. Some of these properties overlap with those of solids, like density or transparency, but others are more specific to liquids. Viscosity—the resistance of a fluid to flow—and surface tension, are two examples of properties that are specifically used to characterize liquids.… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-PS1-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
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Teach your students how temperature affects chemical reaction rates in this highly visual experiment! Students will investigate color change during the reaction of food color with bleach, and measure the reaction times using Google's Science Journal app. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
How does surface area affect the speed of a chemical reaction? Let your students find out in this sizzling lesson plan! In this project, they will explore this correlation by crushing Alka-Seltzer® tablets into different sized particles and measuring how long it takes for them to dissolve in water. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
There are many different ways to make slime. In this lesson plan, your students will use the engineering design process to design their own slime product. They will need to decide on the desired properties for their slime and then experiment to find the best recipe. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 5-PS1-4. Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
  • Optional: 5-PS1-2. Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. (see Variations)
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
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Teach your students how to make plastic out of milk in this hands-on lesson plan! You will conduct a simple milk-transforming experiment to explore how plastics can be derived from a natural resource such as milk. Students will perform their own experiments and can even create a product from their resulting organic casein polymer. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • MS-PS1-3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th
In this fun chemistry lesson, students will explore chemical reactions by mixing pineapple juice and milk. Students will observe whether the properties of milk change when it is mixed with pineapple juice, as well as how they change. They will then infer from their results whether a chemical reaction happened. In the process, they will not only learn about chemical reactions but also discover the importance of enzymes and their role in the human body. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-PS1-4. Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
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Free science fair projects.