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Observations and Inferences Activity/Homework
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Observations and Inferences Activity/Homework

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Simple homework/class activity, where students pick an object, and write down five good observations about it. They then use these observations to come up with one inference about the object. The purpose of the activity is to practice creating GOOD observations. Could easily be done in a 5-10 minute classroom activity/discussion, or done as homework, then discussed the following day.
Types of Reactions (synthesis, decomposition, single/double displacement)
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Types of Reactions (synthesis, decomposition, single/double displacement)

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In this straightforward worksheet, students are given a written chemical reaction, and asked to identify whether it’s an example of synthesis, decomposition, single displacement, or double displacement. This worksheet would work well with a chemistry class, or 9th grade physical science class, but I’ve also used it for my advanced 7th grade physical science class before, with good success. There are 24 questions, and an answer key is included.
Electricity Circuit Comic Strip Project (Series / Parallel) 8-day Project
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Electricity Circuit Comic Strip Project (Series / Parallel) 8-day Project

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In this eight-day project, students will create a comic strip to show their understanding of series and parallel circuits. I’ve provided the project in Word form, so you can tweak it to fit your teaching style, grade level, or student group. This could easily be used anywhere from middle school, through high school. At the high school level, expectations to include circuit “math” could be incorporated to the scoring rubric. Over the course of the 8 days, they’ll use a brainstorming sheet to pull the information required to make the comic from their notes, complete a sheet outlining the 5 elements of their story. Once they have these ready to go, they create a written version (script) of their comic, followed by a day where they test and practice drawing the repeated images that will be in their comic (main characters, background, etc). They they create a rough draft of their comic, and have a peer edit it for them. The peer editor is provided with a guided editing form, where they’re asked to look for each aspect outlined in the scoring guide, and identify where they (hopefully) found it in the comic. Once this is all complete, the students are given 3 days to create their final masterpiece, to be turned in. Grading-wise, I only grade the final product, with informal checks throughout the project. This could easily be adjusted, with formative assessments given for any/all aspects of the project (brainstorm, elements, rough draft, edit). I’ve included two versions of the WRITTEN COMIC section of the project: My original, which includes comic strip style boxes, and the revised, which is set up like lined paper. I found that they couldn’t resist drawing pictures (and wasting a LOT of time), rather than spending the time creating a good STORY, which prompted the revision. I’ve included BOTH, just in case you like one or the other. In addition, I’ve included a variety of example comics, ranging across the spectrum when it comes to artistic ability and/or story telling prowess. Overall, these examples met the expectations of the rubric well, earning 90%+. I have these examples available for my students during early stages of the project, should they need inspiration, or see ideas of how their comic can really be ANYTHING they want.
Informal Lab Report Sheet
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Informal Lab Report Sheet

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This basic lab report can be used generically with many labs. Students are given a problem to solve, or question to answer. They make a prediction, backing it up with observations, then complete the lab, collecting data and observations as they go. They then try to explain the science behind their observations using information from their notes, or prior experiences. Finally, they’re asked to explain what the investigation proves, again, backing it up with observations from the lab.
Chemical Reaction Demonstration - Unexpected Color Change
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Chemical Reaction Demonstration - Unexpected Color Change

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I saw this demonstration done at a conference some years ago, and after a bit of digging around on the net, and a few years of trials in the classroom, put together these detailed instructions. It’s a Word document, so a quick download…and it’s FREE, so why not check it out? My students always love it. I don’t have a high quality video to go along with it, like I do for some of my other labs/demos, but this is a pretty common demo, and I’m sure you can easily find a video, if needed. I use this in my middle school classroom around Veteran’s day (a holiday in the USA, celebrating those who served/are serving in the military), while learning about chemical reactions. We focus on making pre/post observations, and identify signs of a chemical reaction.
Science Inquiry Lab - Chromotography - Separating Inks - Supplement Video
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Science Inquiry Lab - Chromotography - Separating Inks - Supplement Video

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In this video, which is a supplement to my lab of the same name, I walk through the process of taking 8 seemingly identical black water based markers, and through a process called chromotography, separate the inks in the markers into their individual chemicals, showing that they are indeed, NOT identical. This process shown is an extremely basic example of the methods used by forensic scientists to identify substances found at crime scenes…without the million-dollar machines. The video explains the basics of how chromotography works, and can be used as a TAG/GATE type activity for students, as a lab make-up video, or for teacher instruction. The video is 13:00 long, is 1080p, and is in mp4 format. Please do not share it publicly on the web. If you want to share with students, please use a private site, such as a Google Classroom.
Science Inquiry - CO2 Candle Lab - Observations in Reaction
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Science Inquiry - CO2 Candle Lab - Observations in Reaction

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In this lab, we take a look at the reaction between baking soda and vinegar, and its effect on a flame. By taking what they know about fire (fire triangle), and the observations that they make during the lab, students will need to determine if this reaction does indeed create CO2 gas, as the chemical formula shows. The activity, with discussion, takes about 45 minutes. Requires: Baking Soda Birthday Candles Matches/Long Handled Lighter Clay Vinegar Graduated Cylinder, or Small Containers Beaker, or Glass Cups The lab is meant to be used with my Informal Science Lab Report, and there is also a supplemental video of the lab available as well.
Science Inquiry - CO2 Candle Lab - Observations in Reaction - VIDEO Supplement
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Science Inquiry - CO2 Candle Lab - Observations in Reaction - VIDEO Supplement

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In this video (supplement to lab of same name), we take a look at the reaction between baking soda and vinegar, and its effect on a flame. By taking what they know about fire (fire triangle), and the observations that they make during the lab, students will need to determine if this reaction does indeed create CO2 gas, as the chemical formula shows. I use this video as a lab make-up video, but it can also be used for teacher instruction on how to do the lab, or for TAG/GATE students, as an extension assignment. This is a downloadable version of the video, in case you want to attach it to a PRIVATE website, for student use, such as Google Classroom. Please do not post it on a public site.
Chemical Reaction Lab - Recognizing Signs of a Chemical Reaction
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Chemical Reaction Lab - Recognizing Signs of a Chemical Reaction

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In this lab, students will be making observations about copper sulfate, and sodium hydroxide, then combining them, making more observations. The goal of the lab is to determine whether combining these two chemicals results in a chemical reaction. This lab requires CuSO4 and NaOH, as well as my Informal Science Lab Report document. With discussion time, the lab takes about 50 minutes. There is also a supplemental video available, which shows me working through the lab, which can be used for teacher prep, lab make-up, or enrichment for TAG/GATE
Chemical Reaction Lab - Recognizing Signs of a Chemical Reaction - VIDEO
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Chemical Reaction Lab - Recognizing Signs of a Chemical Reaction - VIDEO

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This video is meant as a supplement to the lab of the same name, available in my store. One of the coolest things about teaching physical science or chemistry is the fun labs that you get to do. The least cool thing about chemistry labs is dealing with the make-ups, as labs involving chemicals can often be very difficult to “keep” for later, and close student supervision is necessary. To alleviate these problems, I have created (for most of my labs) make-up videos. Now, students who miss labs can make them up while they’re at home, and parents can also see what we’re doing in class. Another way this video can supplement the lab, is for teacher prep. A teacher can use this video to see how the lab is done, and what the results/conclusions should be. The video is 6:30 long, and is in 1080p, mp4 format. This is a downloadable version of the video. This can be useful for posting in a PRIVATE place online (such as a Google Classroom) for your students to access at home. Please do NOT post in a public place.
Setting up the X/Y Axis on a Graph - How-To Video
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Setting up the X/Y Axis on a Graph - How-To Video

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Duration: 13:13 Quality: 1080p Format: MP4 In this video I demonstrate the use of simple formulas to determine how to set up the X and Y axes on a graph. The video also explains WHY I teach the formulas, rather than letting students “guess and check”, and walks through some examples. The video is in MP4 format, so it can be shared with students. Please only do this privately, such as through Google Classroom. Do not share it publicly on the web. I also have (free) a worksheet that goes with the video, so students can have a copy of the formula, as well as a few example problems.
Balancing Equations Worksheet PLUS Quiz (Keys included)
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Balancing Equations Worksheet PLUS Quiz (Keys included)

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This worksheet provides 40 practice problems over balancing equations. They range in difficulty from simple (already balanced) to very challenging. I have the worksheet set up so MOST of the challenging ones are on the second page. I have my students work on the first page with a partner in class, then finish for homework, and leave the second page as extra credit, for those who are grasping the concept, and want to challenge themselves. To save space, I have students do their scratch work on notebook paper, and staple it to their worksheet (which shows the problems, and students answers only) The worksheet includes an answer key. I have also included a 9-question quiz, with space for scratch work. The quiz is over some of the easier problems, as the goal (in my mind) is to see if they understand the process, not how to reason through the math involved in some of the tougher problems. Number 9 is a tougher problem, as it contains multiple instances of Hydrogen on the reactant side, as well as a polyatomic ion that shows up on both sides. The document is in Word format, so teachers can adjust the quiz for the level of their students. The quiz also includes an answer key.
Chemical Reactions - Ionic Bonding Charges
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Chemical Reactions - Ionic Bonding Charges

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In this worksheet, students are asked to identify the bonding charge of two reactants (single atoms, no polyatomic), then determine the resulting chemical formula. The reactions used are simple ionic bonding, to introduce the students to this basic chemistry concept. The worksheet includes 14 practice problems, as well as an answer key.
Chemical and Physical Change Examples Practice Worksheet
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Chemical and Physical Change Examples Practice Worksheet

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In this worksheet, students will be asked to: -Identify whether an example is a chemical change, or a physical change, then defend their answer (signs of a reaction, or explanation of why it’s not) (9 questions) -Fill in some missing words in statements that demonstrate an understanding chemical and physical change (5 questions) -Identify the reactant(s), reaction, and product(s) in a written reaction (2 questions) An answer key is also included
Atom Properties (mass, number, electron, proton, neutron, model (bohr), valence)
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Atom Properties (mass, number, electron, proton, neutron, model (bohr), valence)

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In this worksheet, students practice some basic skills surrounding atoms. How many protons, neutrons, or electrons do they have? What are their atomic masses and atomic numbers? They practice these skills by filling information into a table. I have provided some of the information, and they need to use it to fill in the blanks. For instance, if I state that an element has 20 protons, its atomic number must be 20. Students are then asked to use their periodic tables to collect the same information for several other elements (ones that aren’t included in the first part of the worksheet). In this way, students learn to use the periodic table to collect this information, as well as how to use information they know about an element to figure out the missing parts. On the back of the worksheet, they’re tasked with drawing Bohr models of a few atoms (only the first two electron levels), then identify how many valence electrons the element has. This is a great worksheet for basic chemistry skills, either in middle school, or 9th grade physical science, or perhaps even chemistry, as a refresher/check.
Atoms - Number of protons, electrons, and neutrons - Video
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Atoms - Number of protons, electrons, and neutrons - Video

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In this video, which ties in with my “Atom-Properties” worksheet, I walk through how to determine the number of protons, electrons, and neutrons that a given atom has, as well as its mass number and atomic number, provided you’ve been given some information to begin. For example, if I know the number of protons, and the mass number, this video will explain how to determine the missing numbers. With an understanding of a few tricks, and some practice, this chemistry skill that frustrates many students can be easily mastered! The video is1080p and is 4:30 long. Feel free share it with your students PRIVATELY, such as via Google Classroom. Please do not post it publicly.
Atomic Charges - Short Creative Writing
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Atomic Charges - Short Creative Writing

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A RAFT is a short writing assignment where students take on a ROLE, address a certain AUDIENCE, in a particular FORMAT, about a given TOPIC. For my science class, since my focus is on the SCIENCE, rather than the writing, I keep the format simple…a letter. In this RAFT, students play the role of a proton, and choose to either write a love letter to an electron, or a letter to another proton, explaining why they can’t be friends. Included is an example of a class brainstorming session that should give you an idea of what that might look like, as well as an example RAFT, about a different science topic, so you can see how a RAFT comes together. I typically score mine in this fashion: Accurate and complete science content = 75% Correct grammar/spelling = 20% Proper format = 5%
Counting the Type and Number of Atoms in a Chemical Formula - Video
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Counting the Type and Number of Atoms in a Chemical Formula - Video

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In this video, I look at an essential chemistry skill, which is the ability to take a chemical formula, determine what elements are in it, as well as how many atoms of each element there are. This video ties in nicely with a practice worksheet that I have available. I use this video with my 7th graders, as an “at-home” refresher, or a way for them to get some extra help, so they can be more successful in class. The skill is a bit ahead of the game for their age, but they seem to grasp it just fine. This skill is more important in high school, particularly chemistry, so it could clearly be used there as well, for a teacher refresher, long-term sub, etc. The video is done using a Powerpoint slideshow, with step-by-step animations and explanations, as I work through problems that include: -Subscript -NO subscript -Parentheses -Elements in more than one place in a formula The only thing I didn’t include was double parentheses, which honestly…if they can figure out parentheses, the doubles aren’t that much harder (work from the inside–out). The video is just over 7 minutes long, and is in 1080p Feels free to share this with your student PRIVATELY, such as in Google Classroom.
Science Inquiry Lab - Chromotography - Separating Inks
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Science Inquiry Lab - Chromotography - Separating Inks

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In this lab, for which a supplemental video is available, I walk through the process of taking 8 seemingly identical black water based markers, and through a process called chromotography, separate the inks in the markers into their individual chemicals, showing that they are indeed, NOT identical. This process shown is an extremely basic example of the methods used by forensic scientists to identify substances found at crime scenes…without the million-dollar machines. I’ve used the lab with great success in a 7th grade class. I have each group do one marker (random) in a beaker, then compare with another group, in order to draw conclusions. The lab takes a while (just WAITING), so I typically work on other class content with the kids, stopping every 5 minutes or so, so they can make observations. The ink will rise up the paper for hours, but the lab portion can be cut off whenever needed, to fit your time frame. If used with higher grade levels, you can easily get 4 chromotography strips into a 400mL beaker. The materials you’ll need include: -Chromotography paper (either in roll, or strip format) -My informal lab report (my store) (x) number of black, water-based markers -a beaker for each group (I use 400mL beakers) -string -a paperclip per group -tape
Factors that Affect The Speed (Rate) of a Chemical Reaction Lab
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Factors that Affect The Speed (Rate) of a Chemical Reaction Lab

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In this lab, students will investigate how the following factors affect the speed of a chemical reaction: -Temperature -Particle Size -Stirring Materials Needed: -Alka Seltzer -Beakers -Cold/Hot/Room water -Timers -Stir Sticks Not including the pre-lab, the activity takes roughly two 45 minute class periods. I use this with my 7th grade physical science class after we go over our reaction rate notes (as a way to test the notes). It would also work well with a high school physical science class, or basic chemistry. This includes a pre-lab (I print it with the lab directions on the back), the lab directions, as well as the lab worksheet. I also have a video of the lab available, for student make-up, or teacher instruction.