Physical and Chemical Changes Sorting Activity

Physical_vs_Chemical_Changes_Sorting_Activity

Materials

  • Physical and Chemical Changes Sorting Worksheet & Cards (pdf)
    • Laminate and cut cards apart, place in zip-top bags
      • 1 set per 2-3 students
    • Answers for Physical Change are: cracking eggs, slicing bread, ice  melting, glass breaking, boiling water, fresh lemonade, mowing lawn (cutting the grass)
  • Optional – privacy screen made of one manila folder cut in half and stapled together

View my Properties of Matter resources for related lessons (page)

This is a fun partner activity that I use as part of my Chemistry unit to get students thinking about the differences between physical and chemical changes. Each pair of students is given a set of cards with images and descriptions of either a physical change or a chemical change. (see photo above)

Each pair goes through the cards and discusses/decides where the each card will be placed. Once they have categorized the cards, students call me over verify their work – I will either say “Yes, they are all in the correct category!” or “Not quite yet, try again.” I give a small clue each time I come over. For example, I will say something along the lines of “You have 2 in the incorrect column” or “You have too many in the Physical Change category, which ones should be moved to the Chemical Change category?” or “Two cards need to be flip/flopped to the other category, all the other cards have been placed correctly” or “All of the cards that are placed in the Chemical Change group belong there, but not all of them are there quite yet, what else can you move to that category?” – I won’t tell them the specifics of what needs to be changed. This forces the students to re-evaluate their choices and make changes as needed until all of their cards in the correct category.

Every few minutes, I will give the whole class a clue. This allows them to check their progress and verify one answer at a time. One card that many students have difficulty with is the boiling water card – and that is usually the first clue I will give out once I have had a chance to check every group’s progress. Each pair of students continues working together until all the cards are placed in the correct category. Once I’ve verified their placements, they add the answers to their notes and answer the questions for the activity and we discuss our results.

Students sorting physical & chemical change cards

 

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5 thoughts on “Physical and Chemical Changes Sorting Activity

  1. Kate February 10, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    These are great! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan Pease January 11, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I also am not seeing the answer key.

    Like

    • Liz LaRosa January 11, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      The answers are listed in the “Materials” section above – it lists the Physical Changes, the rest of the cards are Chemical Changes.

      Like

  3. Anonymous January 4, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    It would be great to have an answer key for the teacher for this activity

    Like

    • Liz LaRosa January 4, 2017 / 6:28 pm

      The answer key is written in the post, please see above 🙂

      Like

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