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Free Activities for High School

Virtual Laboratory Activities for Learning Chemistry in Inquiry Contexts

With support from the US Department of Education, ChemCollective has teamed with WestEd to create eight high school classroom activities on stoichiometry, thermochemistry, equilibrium and acid/base chemistry. The activities support instruction by allowing students to apply their knowledge to real world contexts, while receiving immediate feedback and online tutoring. The activities have been updated technologically to HTML and the content has been updated to more clearly reflect NGSS science practices and concepts.

PowerAde: Exploring Concentration

Students use color to determine which drinks are the most concentrated. The ChemCollective virtual lab is used create solutions whose concentration matches that of the characters in the story. They continue by considering various ways to describe concentration and then determine which character ends up consuming the most sugar.

Making IV Solutions

Students explore dilution and concentration by making patient IVs. They learn about the molecular structure of salt and glucose and connect the microscopic to what is measurable. Students use proportional reasoning to obtain the desired volume and molarity of solutions in the virtual lab.

Gravimetric Analysis

Students learn precipitation reactions how gravimetric analysis can be used to determine the concentration of various species in water through a combination of particulate-level representations and virtual lab activities. They then use this knowledge to test for sulfates in drinking water.

Phage Changes

In the context of phase changes, students infer the strength of electrical forces within and between particles. Students conduct an investigation of vapor pressure, comparing the macroscopic, earth's water cycle, to the microscopic, the intermolecular forces of water and other gases in the atmosphere. Students learn about the heating curve model and the relationship between temperature and kinetic energy.

Bioremediation of Oil Spills: Limiting Reagents

Getting bacteria to eat oil is one approach to cleaning up oil spills.  Bioremediation accelerator is added to form clumps that the bacteria will eat. Students perform experiments to determine the stoichiometric relationship between the accelerator molecules and the oil molecules. The reaction between the remediator and the oil provides the context for understanding stochiometric proportions and limiting reagents.

Exploring Equilibrium with Color Change Reactions

This activity uses color-changing reactions to cover topics in chemical equilibrium, including the nature of reversible reactions and the use of LeChatlier’s principle. Students investigate the concentration of reactants and products and connecting these to a balance of forward and reverse reaction rates at equilibrium.

Designing Hot Packs and Cold Packs

The concepts of heat transfer and temperature are explored by considering the design of hot and cold packs. Students investigate solution measurements in the virtual lab and kinetic energy at the molecular level and connect heat transfer to transfer of kinetic energy between systems. Endothermic and exothermic reactions are linked to the design of hot and cold packs.

Solar Plant: Optimal Heat Transfer Material

This activity covers temperature, heat transfer, and heat capacity in the context of renewable and sustainable energy. The setting is a solar plant that uses thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the top of a tower, where the thermal energy from the sun is transferred to a liquid. The liquid then flows into an electric plant where the stored thermal energy is converted to electrical power.

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