Colors to Dye for: Preparation of Natural Dyes

In this Activity, students extract colored compounds from onion skins and blueberries, use them to dye white cloth, and investigate ways to change the color and prevent it from washing out. The Activity ties into the history of dyes. A study of the structures of dye molecules can be integrated into a discussion of organic chemistry and functional groups.

Charge It! An Activity with Electricity

In this Activity, students investigate static electricity. They observe that charged objects attract a narrow stream of water, and find that charged combs and glass rods have opposite charges. This Activity could be used to introduce the notion of positive and negative electric charge. It is appropriate when studying atomic theory, and when introducing electrochemistry.

Putting It All Together: Lab Reports and Legos

In this Activity, students study a structure made from Lego blocks and then attempt to build the structure from memory. During a second examination of the structure, students write building instructions. The instructions are then given to another student who attempts to recreate the structure without looking at the original.

Magic Sand

In this Activity, students compare the behavior of Magic Sand and ordinary sand. They then predict and observe how new substances will interact with Magic Sand based on their observations. The Activity illustrates solubility principles, and the terms hydrophilic and hydrophobic. It also allows for extension into the practical realm, where students formulate real-world uses for Magic Sand.

On the Surface: Mini-Activities Exploring Surface Phenomena

In this Activity, students investigate surface tension and surfactants. They count the number of drops they can place on a penny, attempt to make a "square" of drops, and create bubbles using differently-shaped wands. These mini-activities could be used to introduce surface tension and surface area when discussing properties of liquids and gases.

Pigments of Your Imagination: Making Artist's Paints

In this Activity, students make and examine the characteristics of egg tempera paint. Instructors may also wish to emphasize the chemistry of paint and pigments, the history of the development of different types of paints, or to attempt to duplicate commercial paints as closely as possible. This Activity might be used to integrate chemistry into an art class.

The Write Stuff: Using Paper Chromatography to Separate an Ink Mixture

In this Activity, students perform a variation on the standard paper chromatography separation of black ink. They compare the separation of black ink using four different solvents: water, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and household ammonia, and then mixtures of the four. It introduces students to methods of selecting the best solvent for a separation and the effects of adding acid and base.

How Many Colors in Your Computer? Discovering the Rules for Making Colors

In this Activity, students investigate the colors displayed on a computer monitor with a magnifying glass. They then mix colors first using light, then using paints or crayons. This Activity could be used in discussions of solid state chemistry when LEDs, phosphors, or liquid crystals are discussed.

New Paper from Newspaper

In this Activity, students examine a piece of newsprint and recycle the paper to make a new sheet of paper that can be compared to other types of paper. They then use this experience, and information from Internet sites, to create a paper work of art. The Activity could be used as a cross-curricular topic in an art class.

Silver to Black - and Back

In this Activity, students remove tarnish from silver using the reaction of tarnish with aluminum. If only untarnished silver items are available, students first tarnish them using items that contain sulfur. This Activity could be used with topics such as chemical changes, metals, electrochemistry, and redox reactions. The Activity could introduce a discussion of silver and its reactions.