Element, Compound, or Mixture? Identify & Sort

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Students can practice identifying elements, compounds, and mixtures

Materials:

Different ways to use this activity:

  1. Vocabulary reinforcement
  2. Students can review the slides independently as added practice and self check.
  3. This can be a guided mini-lesson for a whole class to reinforce the concept.
  4. Students can work in pairs to sort the cards into the 3 different groups, then discuss the answers as a class. Challenge – categorize the mixtures.
  5. Give each student one of the larger cards and have them do the activity “Quiz, Quiz, Trade

 

For more lessons related to this activity, please click on the tags below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Super Easy to Make Cartesian Divers

Cartesian Divers - test out your divers in a beaker of water and then add to the 2L Bottle. Keep all your materials on the tray to manage spills.
Cartesian Divers – test out your divers in a beaker of water and then add to the 2L Bottle. Keep all your materials on the tray to manage spills.

This was the easiest, and most inexpensive way to make cartesian divers I have ever tried, and each student got to take theirs home after class. Did I mention how much fun it was?!

Rescue Hook: Attach 2 straws together and add a paper clip hook for rescue missions
Rescue Hook: Attach 2 straws together and add a paper clip hook for rescue missions

Materials

  • semi-transparent to transparent bendy straws – 1 per student
  • colored paper clips – 4-6 per student
  • scissors – 1 per 2-4 students
  • 2L bottle with cap – 1 per 2 students
  • beaker of water – 1 per 2-4 students
  • tray to contain spills -1 per 2 students
  • paper towels
  • optional: eye dropper with blue colored water

Part 1 – Demonstration:

As part of our density unit, we talk about the concept of buoyancy – why do objects float or sink? Using a 2L bottle of water, a glass medicine dropper, and some blue food coloring, we made guesses and observations about the cartesian diver.

The medicine dropper is filled with blue water, checked for buoyancy, and then added to a 2L bottle. Students gather to make observations. What do you think will happen when I squeeze the bottle? What will the blue water do? Why did it sink? Why did it float? What is happening to the air in the diver? What is the water doing? Did the mass of the diver change? The density? Students share their ideas and we come to a conclusion as to why the diver floats and sinks.

Part 2 – Build and Explore:

After the demonstrations, students get to build their own divers and explore on their own. Some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be careful bending the straw, any cracks will make the the straw useless.
  2. After bending the straw, cut off the excess length of straw so that both side are equal in length. (You can save the rest of the straw for future activities)
  3. Attach one paper clip as shown in the diagram below. Additional paper clips can be easily added or removed by sliding them on or off the main paper clip. (Like keys on a keychain)
  4. Use a rescue hook for any divers that do not float back to the top.
  5. Remind students to place the cap back on the bottle TIGHTLY – or water will shoot out of the bottle when they squeeze it.
  6. Lunch or serving trays work nicely to contain spills.
Source: Wikipedia
cartesian_diver_straw_paperclips
Cartesian Divers: Students can race their divers, who will sink faster? Slower? Float up to the top faster? Slower? Try different modifications and see what happens!

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Classification Activity

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UPDATED JULY 2016

Materials

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures –

  • NEW: Google Slides – Public Link
  • Sorting/Task Cards and answers (pdf) – laminate and cut apart, 1 set per 2-4 students
  • NEW: Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Notes
  • E, C, M, ? (pdf) – laminated or glued onto construction paper, cut apart, 1 set per group
  • OLD: PPT Slides (ppt – read only access)
    • this ppt can be downloaded and saved to your computer, but not modified
    • click on ‘read only‘ to open the ppt after downloading
  • OLD: Notes (pdf)

Note: I modified this lesson to add a hands-on component with the addition of task cards that students can sort at their desks. I use this lesson as a group work activity to introduce Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures.

Procedures:

  1. Each group will have one set of task cards and one set of ECM? cards to hold up.
  2. Students will sort the items pictured into 4 columns: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures, and “?”. (The “?” category is a temporary place holder for students to discuss further within their group, all items should be sorted before answers are revealed)
  3. Once all the groups have had a chance to discuss and sort the items, we will go over the answers as a class.
  4. Using the ppt, show the first item (Rocks). Ask each group to choose one of the E,C, or M cards.
  5. Have them place the “?” in front of their answer. (this prevents the other groups from seeing their answer) A spokesperson for each group will stand up and hold the ECM? cards.
  6. Ask all the groups to reveal their answer at the same time. Compare answers & discuss.
  7. Reveal the answer and have students record the results in their notes.
  8. If needed, have students move the card to the correct category on their desk, too.
  9. For fun, I award a point to each group that has a correct answer, the kids enjoy a little friendly competition :).
  10. Continue with the next slide (Copper) and repeat.

For more lessons related to Chemistry, click on the Chemistry or Properties of Matter Tabs up above.

Making Molecular Models Activity

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.
If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

Materials:

  • Molecular Model Kits – 1 kit per group of 4 students
  • Student Handout – updated for 2015 (pdf)
  • Formula cards (pdf) – print, cut apart, laminate
    • 1 set per group of 4 students
  • colored pencils
  • periodic table

Procedure:

For this activity, students will practice reading formulas, counting atoms, building molecules, and identifying bond types. This activity can be used in several different ways.

Stations

Different stations can be set up around the classroom with 2-4 formulas per stations. Each station will have enough supplies to create the models indicated. Students will complete one station at a time, have their work spot checked for completion, and then proceed to an open station. Making duplicate stations helps prevent bottle necking at the stations that take longer to complete.

You can either do timed rotations or have students move freely when they are done. Some stations will be more difficult than others and extra time will be needed for students to complete those models. I like to have several “Make your Own” stations around the room to facilitate movement and give the students more time to explore model making.

Lab groups

Instead of stations, each lab group will have a complete set of formula cards and a molecular model kit. 4 students will share the materials and students can work with a partner or individually. The models can be completed in any order, this helps free up the materials so that not all students are waiting to use the Carbon or Sodium atoms.

Matching Game

If there are students who finish early, they can check their answers by matching the model images with the formulas using the answer cards (see below). Or they can create games with a partner using the cards.

Samples of Formula Cards and Answers

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.
Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Free Task Card Templates provided by: Rebecca Bishop at TPT (link) ~ thank you!

Answers:

  • Some of the molecules have both Ionic and Covalent bonds and are indicated on the cards
  • One molecule has a double bond – CO2
  • One molecule has a triple bond – N2
  • Metals are: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium
  • Non-Metals are: Hydrogen, Chlorine, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen

Be sure to see my Chemistry page (link) for more lessons related to atoms and bonding.

SpongeBob Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity

spongebob_scenarios

Materials:

  • SpongeBob® Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity Teacher’s Edition (pptx)
    • this power point can be modified as needed
    • 47 slides with answers for each scenario
  • Scenarios – Student Handout/Notes (pdf)
  • Safety Rule Task Cards
    • one laminated set per group  (4 slides per page pdf)
    • 2 sided handout for each student to keep in notes (9 slides per page pdf)
  • Pencils and highlighters
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (3)
Task Cards for all 16 safety rules

Procedures Part 1:

UPDATE 9.19.15

Prior to the students starting the activity on their own, I read the scenarios out loud for the class. As I read the text, students independently made a light pencil mark in each paragraph to indicate broken safety rules – anything that they thought might be an infraction. After I read the story, they worked with their partner to find the broken safety rules using the task cards. After a few minutes, I modeled the first broken safety rule to make sure everyone was on the right track and understood the directions.

  1. Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
  2. Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
  3. Groups will need to identify the safety rules that were not followed for Scenario #1 and pull the safety rule task cards related to Scenario #1. The rules that were not broken will be placed in a pile to the side.
  4. Students will lightly underline where the rules weren’t followed in their notes and write the number of the rule for each violation along with a brief 2-3 word description of the rule that was broken in the margin of their notes.
  5. Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
  6. Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
    1. I don’t tell the students how many safety violations there are, then they can use process of elimination for the last scenario, I tell them that each safety rule task card will be used at least once so they know that there are at least 16 violations to find.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (1)
There are 5 Scenario Cards.

Procedures Part 2:

  1. Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
  2. On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
  3. Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
  4. Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
  5. The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
  6. All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
  7. Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
  8. Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
  9. Do the same for scenarios 2-5.
  10. Discuss your results/debrief.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (2)
Each scenario card will reveal the answers, one at a time, and the safety rules that were not followed. The number of the rule is in parenthesis and will match the safety rule task cards.

Additional Resources for this activity:

  • The original worksheet for this activity is from ScienceSpot.net (pdf)
  • Interactive Notebook version of this worksheet (pdf)
  • Marcia has some nice additional activities for Safety on her website (link)
  • This ppt was modified from the original source found at (link)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants® and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
  • For more lessons on Science Skills, click on this page (link)

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

 

Cup Stacking Collaboration Challenge

Cup Stacking Challenge

Goal

  • Students will collaborate, problem solve, and persevere to accomplish each challenge

Materials – per group of 3-4 students

  • Task Cards – cut apart, laminate, and secure with a metal ring or brass brad
  • 6 cups
  • 1 rubber band
  • 4-6 pieces of string of equal length

This is one of the team building exercises I plan to use with my 6th graders during the first week of school. Many variations of this lesson can be found online. For this version, I created 6 different challenges for the students to tackle – each one increasing in difficulty. Not every group will get to complete all 6 challenges, and that is OK. The objective is to learn to work together as a team and not give up.

July 26, 2017 – One recommendation I have for this activity is placing the cups on the floor, when the cups fall off the table it makes it more difficult to complete the task in a timely manner.

Updated: Pictures September 2015

Working as a team to complete a task
Working as a team to complete a task
Trying to pick up a cup that fell over.
Trying to pick up a cup that fell over.
Almost done with Challenge #4!
Almost done with Challenge #4!

Discussion & Reflection

  1. Which challenge was the easiest for you group to complete? The most difficult? Why?
  2. Did your techniques change as you advanced to each challenge? Explain why or why not.
  3. Describe a technique that worked best within your group.
  4. Compare using two hands vs. one hand when holding the string to guide the cups. List advantages and disadvantages for each.
  5. Compare using verbal and nonverbal communication, what were some of the challenges your group faced?
  6. If you were to complete this activity again, what would your group do differently? What would you do the same?
  7. Why are collaboration and communication skills important characteristics for scientists to have?
  8. Did you feel like giving up at any point? How did you and your group deal with frustration?

Using Lego Bricks: Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Activity

Exploring Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures using Legos
Exploring Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures using Legos

I use this activity to help students visualize how atoms are used as the building blocks of matter and how matter can be classified as elements, compounds, or mixtures.

Materials

  • 12 Legos – 3 different colors and sizes with 4 of each kind
    • Lego Bricks must be the same size for each color (see photo above)
    • stored in sandwich sized zip-top bags
    • 1 set per 2 students
  • colored pencils
    • I placed 3 crayons in each bag along with the Lego pieces
  • handout (pdf)

Background Information

  • Each Lego Brick represents one atom
  • Each colored Lego Brick represents one atom for each element
    • example: 4 blues = one element, 4 oranges = second element, 4 greens represent a third element
  • When Lego Bricks are snapped together, that represents a chemical bond and one compound
  • Lego Bricks that are not snapped together are not chemically bonded to each other
  • For mixtures, you can have combinations of single bricks (elements), bonded bricks (compounds), or a mixture of both elements & compounds