The concept of density is investigated regularly- in lecture, lab, or both- in Introductory (non-science majors) or the majors General Chemistry 1 courses. This post describes a short activity involving ice core density.
Spectroscopy-based experiments are commonplace in college labs. This out-of-classroom activity post provides links to applications of spectroscopy in a diverse spectrum of disciplines and work fields.
In this lab students are given a film canister, a quantity of Alka Seltzer of their own choosing and any materials available in the room to investigate factors that affect the rate of reaction. They work with their groups to create CER boards and then the class engages in a Glow and Grow session. Tips for using this activity in a virtual setting are offered as well.
Using the online simulation tool (Atomsmith Classroom Online) and the ADI framework students investigate the properties of gases, along with two gas laws. An ADI "whiteboard discussion" helps in getting students to really process what the results of experiments mean to us as chemists - and how this leads to expanding our understanding of matter. This activity lends itself to an online classroom.
Ever wonder why some call precipitation reactions "double decomposition". Perhaps (or perhaps not) two (double) salts are sort of splitting apart (decomposing?) and then reforming with other radicals. But a solvent (usually water) is necessary to achieve the desired effect. But is adding water to a salt really decomposition?
I facilitate a working group of chemistry teachers in the New York area and we recently created our own activity surrounding the topic of oxidation. The goal of the probe was to force students to think about what the meaning of oxidation is, as well as to allow students to engage in the science and engineering practice of argumentation. This was an introductory lesson to my oxidation and reduction unit prior to students learning the terms oxidation and reduction.
The author explains how she assigns roles for her students while completing laboratory work. The lab activity is designed to allow students to explore the use of indicators. It serves as an introduction to acids, bases and pH.
Atomic theory is a common topic throughout any introductory chemistry course. It is likely that Rutherford’s gold foil experiment gets at least some attention in your course. I have used a simple activity that gives students an opportunity to replicate Rutherford’s experiment through an analogy experiment that may allow for easier conceptualization of the experiment itself and provide additional support for model development.
Trends related to placement of elements on the periodic table are often taught using diagrams in a textbook. Students often memorize trends, but to get a true grasp of their meaning and what causes certain patterns is best understood when students create their own models and discuss the patterns with others.
A favorite demonstration is to boil water by lowering the pressure in a bell jar using a vacuum pump. Unfortunately, purchasing a bell jar, vacuum plate, and vacuum pump can run upwards of $1,000 which poses a hardship for many teachers. Here are two simple and inexpensive demonstrations of phase equilibrium and vapor pressure.