activity

Blueprint Photography by the Cyanotype Process

In this Activity, students prepare cyanotype paper and use it to "photograph" different items using sunlight. This Activity demonstrates catalysis of chemical reactions by ultraviolet (UV) light using one of the earliest photographic processes, the cyanotype process. It is useful as an introduction to the damaging effects of UV radiation on living organisms and the role of sunscreens.

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.

How Big Is the Balloon? Stoichiometry Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

In this Activity, students discover the concept of stoichiometry and limiting reactants in two ways: first by adding vinegar to a small quantity of baking soda until bubbles stop, and second by mixing a constant quantity of baking soda with increasing volumes of vinegar and collecting the carbon dioxide produced in balloons. This Activity could be used in an introduction to stoichiometry.

Burning to Learn: An Introduction to Flame Retardants

In this Activity, students test common household substances to see how they change the way paper burns. Strips of filter paper are soaked in saturated solutions, dried, and briefly held in a flame. The Activity demonstrates the effectiveness of flame retardants. It could be used when discussing combustion reactions or during a unit on practical or everyday chemistry.

Rubber Bands, Free Energy, and Le Chatelier's Principle

In this Activity, students compare the temperature change of a rubber band that is quickly stretched compared to one that is quickly relaxed. They predict what effect the stress of heating will have on a stretched rubber strip and test their prediction.

Hunting for Chemicals in Consumer Products

In this Activity, students use written clues to determine the identities of 12 chemical compounds. They write the name and chemical formula for each compound, and find a consumer product in which each compound is present. This Activity increases student awareness of the presence of a variety of chemical compounds in a range of common consumer products.

Spring Shock! Impact of Spring Snowmelt on Lakes and Streams

In this Activity, students investigate "spring shock", the flow of acidic water into lakes and streams that occurs during snowmelt in the spring. They freeze vinegar in ice cube trays, and then allow the cubes to melt at room temperature through a funnel. They collect the liquid and monitor its pH. This Activity could be used in units on environmental chemistry and water chemistry.

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.