Burning paper towels soaked in various metal nitrates

Igniting paper towels that have been soaked in concentrated potassium nitrate and allowed to dry yields a flame reminiscent of that produced by guncotton. Repeating this experiment with other metal nitrates produces flames with different colors, plus a few other chemical surprises! This series of experiments is fascinating and connects to a wide variety of chemical topics including combustion, redox reactions, chemical thermodynamics, and flame tests. You don't want to miss this one!

Unit Cells and Layer Sequences using Dimpled Packaging

Regularly dimpled trays such as those used in food packaging can be used to represent layers of atoms in solid structures. For example, the square array of dimples in transparent plastic mini quiche trays can be used to depict layers within cubic or tetragonal unit cells. Multiple solid structures and ways to represent those structures are described. 

Chemical Activities Involving Reversible Thermochromic Pigments

The color of a thermochromic system depends on its temperature. The colors of leuco dye-based systems can also be influenced by adding acids or bases to the thermochromic reactions. These can be used to create colorful demonstrations of acid-base chemistry. Thermochromism found in color changing cups can also be used to visualize heat flow, and therefore thermodynamic principles, associated with stretching and contracting elastomers.

Seashell Chemistry

Placing dry ice in limewater is a great demonstration to accompany discussions on a variety of chemical topics, including the impact of ocean acidification on marine organisms that depend upon the formation of CaCO3.