This is a fun activity to get students thinking about the properties of acids and bases based on their prior knowledge. Then using what they know, can they figure out the rest of the properties?
I like to do this activity as a friendly competition and see how many each pair of students can answer correctly. Before the students place items into the Venn diagram, I ask them to look at the properties and write a red “A” next to the property if they think it belongs to an acid, a blue “B” if they think it belongs to bases, and “AB” if it belongs to both categories.
Once they have completed categorizing the properties on their own, have each student share their answers with their seat partner. What was the same? What was different? Have them discuss their reasoning for each answer and try to come to a consensus. (You can add an additional step by asking partners to compare answers with another set of partners.) When they are ready, reveal each answer, one at a time, and discuss. Students will write (or glue in) each property into the Venn diagram.
Please click on the tags below to find additional lessons on Acids, Bases, and pH.
I use this activity as an introduction to my minerals and mining unit. Students learn the 5 properties of minerals (SNIFC) and apply them to a variety of items to categorize each item as either a mineral or non-mineral.
I also have the slides in a pdf format if you would like to have the students sort the items first, then discuss each item and why they think it is or isn’t a mineral. Then, they can view the answers afterwards.
Cabbage Juice in an Erlenmeyer Flask with a pipette
micro-wells or small clear bathroom cups
litmus paper – blue and red
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.
I recently used Tracy’s Bonding Basics 2010Activity (link) with my 6th graders as a guided lesson. We spent one day on Ionic Bonds, and the second day on Covalent Bonds. Students worked in pairs and practiced making Lewis Structures, finding Oxidation numbers, identifying elements as either Metals or Non-Metals, and determining what each element would do when bonding with another element.
Instead of candy, I used pennies as electrons along with the element cut outs she provides on her website. This was a great hands-on activity to have students ‘see’ how the atoms bond together, and after a few slides, they were able to quickly determine how each element would bond.
Place the desired quantity of each item into each sock.
Halfway down the sock, secure/close the sock with a rubber band.
Fold the top half of the sock down so that it completely covers up the bottom half of the sock.
Add the 2nd rubber band to the opening of the sock to secure it.
this will prevent items from falling out, students peeking into the sock, and provide an additional layer of material to conceal what is inside
Attach a numbered clothes pin to the sock.
Each group or pair of students will make observations on one sock at a time, then pass the sock to the next group when the timer goes off after 1 minute.
Discuss and share strategies students may use to determine what is inside a wrapped present before they open it. Students are using clues, or observations, and their problem solving skills to guess what is inside. They will know if their guess is correct once they open the gift. But what if we couldn’t open the gift, ever? How would we know what is inside? How would we know if we were right or not?
Introduce the activity to the students. They will have one minute to determine what is inside each sock. They can’t open the sock but they can use their hands to feel what is inside the sock.
Arrange students into pairs or groups.
Give each pair/group a mystery sock and ask them not to handle the sock until the timer starts.
Once the timer starts, students will make as many observations as they can and guess what is inside each sock.
Once the timer goes off, they will pass it to the next pair/group and the timer will start again.
Continue until students have made observations on all 10 socks.
Collect all 10 socks.
Share observations and guesses.
Open one sock at a time and reveal what is inside, and discuss.
For thousands of years, we have been trying to figure out what an atom looks like, and what is inside the atom. We can’t ‘unwrap’ the atom and peak inside. But based on experiments and observations, we have our current atomic model.
Students will watch the BrainPOP movie and fill in notes about the Atomic Model
My 6th graders recently completed “Bond with a Classmate” from Tracy’s ScienceSpot website. I have used this activity successfully with both 5th and 6th grade science classes over the years. Here is the description form her website:
Bond with a Classmate(Gail Sanders, Monroe Middle School, Wheaton, IL)
In this activity from Gail Sanders, a member of the MidLevel Science Teachers group in Northern Illinois, students are given a tag (or necklace) to wear with the symbol of an ion and its oxidation number. Positive ions are green and the negative ions are blue. The students are instructed to “bond” with other ions and keep a record of their bonds. Students had to work with their bonding partner to agree on and write a formula and name for the compound they formed. Once that was done, they could break the bond and find a different ion with which to bond. After 5 bonds, students switch tags with another student and start bonding again.
I have a modified version of the student handout posted here (link pdf file). If you have a smaller group of students, I would suggest changing cards after 3 bonds. When a student has successfully made 3 bonds, they come up to my desk, I quickly check their bonds for correctness, and then give them an oppositely charged ion. For example, if a student is Mg +2, they would then receive Cl -1 and make 3 bonds with that new ion.
The version in the video posted above is a more challenging version of the activity, I would suggest 8th grade or higher. Bond with James – free lesson plan on TPT (link). You can also combine both set of cards.
I don’t use the yarn for this activity, the students carry the cards around with them and it is easier for them to place the cards on the table when they pair up so they can write down the formula and compound name more easily instead of looking down and upside down at their cards.
If you have used this activity, would love to hear how it worked with your students and if you have any other ideas to add to this lesson.
I light the candles for the students in this age group (6th)
Discuss how candles work and the fire triangle (link)
Discuss combustion and the chemical reactions that takes place when a candle burns
Explain the lab procedures and remind students of safety protocols
Students will record qualitative and quantitative observations of an unlit candle (5 minutes), burning candle (10 minutes), and a covered burning candle until it goes out and the wax hardens (5 minutes)
all students will place the larger beaker over the candle at the same time and watch as the candle goes out
Share observations and discuss
I like to use this lab as part of my physical and chemical changes unit, it is such a classic and the kids make some great observations and ask lots of good questions.
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.
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.