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.

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.

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.

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.

An After-Dinner Trick

In this Activity, students investigate a classic chemistry demonstration that uses the phenomenon of freezing-point depression to lift an ice cube out of a glass of water with a thread. They first test how adding salt, pepper, cream, and sugar to cold water affects the temperature.

Meltdown Showdown! Which Deicer Works Best?

In this Activity, students test two chemical deicers, rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride, to determine which melts ice better and whether it is worth the extra cost to buy a more expensive deicer. They perform three tests comparing the two deicers, predict which will be more effective at melting through a thin disk of ice, and then test their prediction.