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Balancing Chemical Equations Activity – one of my long time favorite activities. Students will learn how to read formulas, count atoms, create and read chemical equations, and balance chemical equations using a hands on activity with color coded formulas cards.
Lesson Resources: Create one set of materials for each pair of students. Store in a large zip-top bag
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Procedures Part 1:
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.
Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
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.
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.
Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
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.
Procedures Part 2:
Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
Do the same for scenarios 2-5.
Discuss your results/debrief.
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)
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.
This classic interactive website is a great way to practice identifying acidic, basic, and neutral substances along with reading pH values. There are three different levels which increase in difficulty as the students complete each activity.
Challenge 1 – students have to identify and categorize the different ‘juices’ that they will serve to the aliens as either Acids, Bases, or Neutral.
Challenge 2 – students will practice serving requested juices to aliens, but if they serve a juice from the wrong category, aliens can become sick, or worse!
Challenge 3 – students have to change the pH values of the juices on the tray by either adding acids or bases to raise or lower the pH values.
I have a handout with instructions for the students to record their progress (worksheet)
Please note that the updated link is located at: (updated 3/4/18)