Soil Testing: Dig In!

In this Activity, students collect soil samples and characterize them by examining their physical appearance, water holding capacity, sedimentation, and pH. Based on their observations, they can see that different samples of something as universal as soil can be quite different from each other. This environmental chemistry Activity can be used to complement a celebration of Earth Day.

Hold the Heat: Global Warming and Calorimetry

In this Activity, students perform quantitative calorimetric measurements on samples of ice/water heated by incandescent light bulbs and/or convection with room-temperature surroundings. They measure and graph temperature as a function of time.

Liver and Onions: DNA Extraction from Animal and Plant Tissues

In this Activity, students extract DNA from liver and onion cells, and precipitate the DNA. The Activity fits well with a discussion of nucleic acids, hydrogen bonding, genetic coding, and heredity. DNA extraction can also be used in conjunction with a discussion of polymers and their properties.

Fizzy Drinks: Stoichiometry You Can Taste

In this Activity, students make their own version of "Fizzies", a carbonated drink product. Students use different combinations of powdered drink mix, citric acid, baking soda, and water to try to create a good-tasting beverage. The Activity enables students to see the practical benefits of stoichiometry when they use it to develop a product they can immediately consume.

Brushing Up on Chemistry

In this Activity, students make their own toothpaste and use various tests to compare its properties with those of commercial toothpaste. This includes testing its ability to remove stains from the dyed shells of hard-boiled eggs. The Activity allows students to discover more about a cleaning product they use every day.

Chemical Methods for Developing Latent Fingerprints

In this Activity, students collect fingerprints and use three different methods to develop them: fingerprint powder, ninhydrin solution, and silver nitrate solution. The Activity could be related to the solubility of polar and nonpolar molecules, precipitation reactions, and oxidation-reduction reactions.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

In this Activity, students first create a standard bubble solution by mixing water with liquid dishwashing detergent. They then add different substances to samples of the detergent solution. The solutions are compared to see which produces the longest-lasting bubbles. The Activity is a fun way to introduce the concepts of surface tension, intermolecular forces, and the use of surfactants.

Through the Looking Glass

In this Activity, students compare several different window cleaner recipes to determine the purpose each ingredient in a window cleaner serves. They use different combinations of water (solvent), isopropyl alcohol (wetting agent), and ammonia (grease cutter). They then develop their own "New and Improved" recipe to test its performance against commercial window cleaner.

A Refrigerator Magnet Analog of Scanning-Probe Microscopy

In this Activity, students investigate the magnetic interactions between a flexible-sheet refrigerator magnet and a probe tip cut from the same magnet to deduce the relative arrangement of the magnetic poles. These interactions are used as a macroscopic analog of scanning probe microscopies. The Activity could be used when atoms are introduced.

Soup or Salad? Investigating the Action of Enzymes in Fruit on Gelatin

In this Activity, students observe gelatin samples treated with substances that may or may not have an enzymatic effect on the protein in the gelatin. Substances used are fresh pineapple, canned pineapple, fresh pineapple that has been frozen and microwaved, and meat tenderizer.