Mineral Cube Project

Sample of slides of information for Wavelite by Isabella:

 

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This activity has become a yearly tradition and I leave the mineral cubes hanging in my classroom from May of one year to the following May, then return it them in 7th grade.

Materials:

Sample of a completed cube with information cut out and cube assembled and decorated:

 

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Balancing Equations: A Hands on Activity

balancing-equations-answers-public

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.

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Lesson Resources: Create one set of materials for each pair of students. Store in a large zip-top bag

  • Worksheet: handout with directions (pdf)
  • Formula cards (pdf) – laminate and reuse each year
  • Coefficient cards (pdf) – laminate and reuse each year
  • Answer Key for the balanced equations (pdf)
  • Google Slides (NEW) – Balancing Equations Answer Key Public Link
    • These slides can be used to review answers at the end of the lesson
    • You can also print the slides then laminate to use as Task Cards at a hands on station with beads to represent each atom
    • For more advanced students, you can use molecular models and build each model.
  • Practice balancing equations worksheet (pdf) and more from ScienceSpot.net

balancing-equations-answers-public-1

 

Updated: Dunkin’ for Density using Google Sheets

Updated for 2016

I updated my Dunkin’ for Density Lesson for 2016, I use this lesson with my 6th graders as part of our unit on properties of matter. I wanted it to be more data driven and have them analyze the data from all of their trials, and then compare their data to their classmates. I changed the objective to:

Change the density of the film canister so that 90-99% of the canister is suspending under water.

Materials:

dunkin_1

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For more details about this activity, please see my original post. If you have used this lesson with your students, please let me know, you can post it on my Twitter feed @MSScienceBlog

Identifying and Balancing Chemical Reactions

Types of Chemical Reactions (Public)

Tracy has a nice lesson plan and handout on identifying chemical reactions posted on her website: http://sciencespot.net/Pages/classchem.html#chemreactions .  I modified the ppt slides she had posted for her 8th graders to use with my 6th graders as a guided lesson.

I used this lesson after we had already learned how to balance chemical equations using the hands on lesson I created and described below (also found on my Chemistry page):

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:

We worked through the problems together and I called on students to first identify the chemical reaction and then balance the equation. After a few slides, they began to recognize the types of reactions quickly and had a good understanding of how to identify and balance the equations.

  • Click here for the ppt: Google Slides (Public)
  • to save the slides, you can select “file” then “Make a copy” or “download as”

Cabbage Juice Lab – pH indicator

My students have enjoyed the Cabbage Juice Lab over the years – and yes, it does smell!

Materials per group of 3-4 students:

  • Student Handout (pdf)
  • Cabbage Juice in an Erlenmeyer Flask with a pipette
  • micro-wells or small clear bathroom cups
  • litmus paper – blue and red
  • toothpicks
  • ‘garbage’ cup
  • beakers and pipettes for each solution
  • Substances to test – diluted in water
    • You can have all of these set up at one station and students can pick one up and take one to their desk for testing, then return it to the station and choose another substance- you don’t have to have a complete set for each group.
      • vinegar
      • lemon juice
      • lime juice
      • pickle juice
      • baking soda
      • salt
      • sugar
      • detergent
      • hand sanitizer
      • alka seltzer tablets
      • bleach
      • ammonia

cabbage_juice_lab

Additional Resources:

Element Advertisement Project Using Google Draw

Element Advertisting Template

  • This lesson is modified from the original lesson posted at ScienceSpot.net
    • Detailed lesson information, along with a rubric, can be found on her website
  • Top 10 Elements Draft Pick ElementDraftPick
    • Student will research the ‘stats’ for their favorite elements
    • Students will draw numbers to determine the order in which they will pick their element
    • Once an element has been chosen, no one else in the class can choose that element and they will cross it off their list
  • Google Draw Template: Google Draw Public Link
    • Students will spend one class period researching their element and creating an advertisement using Google Draw.
    • If not done during class time, it will be completed for homework over a few days.
    • Display the element advertisements so students can see their work 🙂
    • To use the template, simply make a copy of the template to make changes, please do not request editing rights
  • Links for research

Rainbow Test Tubes Activity

rainbow_lab_students.jpg

Problem: How many colors can be created by starting with red, yellow, and blue solutions?

raibow_test_tubes_set_up_1.jpg

Updated Jan. 10, 2017 with results:

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Results 2016-17

Materials per group of 3-4 students:

  • Student Handout RainbowTestTubesPublic (pdf)
  • Spreadsheet to collect data (excel – public)
  • 9-10 test tubes with test tube rack
  • Erlenmeyer flasks filled with red, yellow, and blue solutions of food coloring and water
    • 5 drops of food coloring per 200 mL (25 per 1L)
  • 3 x 25 mL Graduated Cylinders
  • 3 x 10 mL Graduated Cylinders
  • pipette
  • beaker filled with clean water
  • large beaker for used water
  • this activity took 2x 50 minute class periods

rainbowlabsetupflasks

This lab is an updated version of the classic Rainbow Lab (link) that has been around since the 80’s (Measuring Liquid Volume with a Graduated Cylinder 1988). I used this for many years with my 5th graders, and previously with my 6th graders in the early 2000’s. Now that I am teaching 6th grade again, I wanted to make it more open ended and challenging. The purpose of the original version of the lab was twofold: First – could they follow directions carefully to make a rainbow? Second – how precisely can they measure liquid volume?

rainbowlabsetup

For the new version of this lab, I created new objectives and assessed the students based on their problem solving, collaboration, and measuring skills.

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to precisely measure liquids with a graduated cylinder
  • Students will be able to create their own lab procedures using the given parameters to guide them
  • Students will create new mixtures and solutions
  • Students will be able to record accurate data
  • Students will collaborate and problem solve to achieve a common goal
  • Students will test, evaluate, and select the best proportions to create the colors orange, green, and purple
    • each group made 3-4 different combinations for each color and had to, as a group, determine which combinations of primary colors created the best secondary colors
  • Students will follow proper lab procedures to avoid color contamination
  • Students will record and analyze data from the whole grade and compare their findings to the averages from each group, what patterns or trends did they notice in the data?
  • Students will create their own ‘designer’ color and share it with the class
    • this was fun way to wrap up the activity, we had a ‘fashion’ show with each group coming up to the front of the room to showcase their newly created and named colors
    • if time allowed, at the end we made a rainbow with each student holding their test tube and standing next to a person who had a color similar to their own, from Red to Purple
rainbow_test_tubes
Visual assessment – all test tubes are even and you can quickly see that each color has a volume of 25mL.

Sugar Density Column


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Materials

  • Student Handout (pdf)
  • Food Coloring – Red, Blue, Yellow, & Green
  • Erlenmeyer flask filled with warm tap water
  • Graduated cylinder
  • 4 Stirrers/Sticks
  • 4 Pipettes
  • 1 Spoon
  • Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Test Tubes
  • Test Tube Rack
  • 4 Clear Cups

This sugar density activity is one I have never tried before, I actually ‘borrowed’ the idea from my son’s HS Chemistry Teacher. He came home and told me they made different colored layers using only sugar, food coloring, and water. I immediately jumped on the computer and thought about how to use this in my 6th grade classes, we are in the middle of our density unit and it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out.

sugar_density_set_up
Materials for the Experiment

One of my goals for this year is re-examine my lessons and see which activities I can make more open-ended when appropriate. For this activity, most of the resources I found told the students exactly how much sugar to put in each layer and what order to place the colors into the test tube or some other type of container. I didn’t want my students to follow step by step procedures, but wanted it to be more of an exploration type of activity. I had no idea how this would turn out but gave it shot anyway.

I gave them the problem, the parameters, the tools to complete the activity, and sent them on their way. It was great to see them figure out how to solve the problem, talk out strategies, and to see them go through the trial and error process. Each group came up with a different way to solve the problem and some groups struggled more than others. I met with each group to facilitate, ask questions, and had them explain to me what they were doing and why. Overall, it was a successful lesson, they enjoyed the activity, and it really solidified their understanding of density.

I am also incorporating more open ended writing in science and I enjoyed reading their reflections about the activity.

sugar_density_3

Density – Identification Challenge

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Materials:

  • Flinn Scientfic Block set (link) & Resources/Handout (pdf)
  • Ruler
  • Calculator
  • Triple Beam Balance
  • Worksheet to collect data (pdf)

For this activity, I used the set of density blocks from Flinn Scientific. Each group of students had 6 blocks made of the same material. Their challenge was to identify the material using their measurement skills to calculate the mass, volume, and density of each block. This activity also reinforced the concept that the density of an object is constant.

Reading a Graduated Cylinder- Free Online Resources

Image Source: Biochemies

(For lessons and resources on finding volume using water displacement, please see my earlier blog entry)

Tips:

  • The graduated cylinder has markings, like a ruler, to measure volume for water and other liquids
  • I like to use food coloring and water for the students to practice their measurements, it makes it easier for them to read the values, plus it adds some pizzazz to the lab.
    • I mostly use either blue or green food coloring, the red can stain, yellow is not dark enough.
  • Place all materials on a lunch tray for each group to contain spills and make for a very easy clean up.
  • Glass graduated cylinders can break if knocked over, plastic is more durable but can be harder to read.
  • Have students explore how to use read and use graduated cylinders:
    • Students can explore handling and pouring water into the graduated cylinders and reading the values.
    • Once they have mastered pouring and reading, they can practice measuring specific volumes such as 10 mL, 20 mL, 42 mL, 58 mL, etc into the graduated cylinder.
    • You can also set up stations with pre-measured graduated cylinders and have them practice reading the volumes.
      • Have cylinders of different sizes and increments to make it more challenging.
      • You can place task cards/answer keys at each station so students can self check once they have made their readings for immediate feedback.

Resources:

  1. Reading Graduated Cylinders – (FREE) A nice power point presentation from Teachers Pay Teachers to introduce students to reading graduated cylinders (link)
  2. How to Read Liquid Volume video (link)
  3. Super Teachers Worksheet – practice problems (pdf)
  4. Measuring Liquid Volume – practice problems (pdf) (No answer key)
  5. Science Starters/Warm Ups/Do Nows: (Graduated Cylinder ppt), (Beaker/Erlenmeyer ppt)
Image Source: CK12