Students use a micro-scale method to extract caffeine from tea using dichloromethane. At the end of the activity, the students' dochloromethane extractions are pooled; the solvent is distilled after class for re-use.
Organic nomenclature is usually taught as an introduction to organic chemistry. To help introduce students to organic nomenclature in a way that clearly summarizes the patterns that exist, a paper tool for naming hydrocarbons was developed.
Infrared technology (FLIR Cameras) can be used to investigate intermolecular forces.
Observing the floating and sinking behavior of diet and sugared sodas is a classic chemistry demonstration. Learn how to perform this experiment as a quantitative lab that can be accomplished as an at-home activity!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this activity, students can look inside the model that resembles the atom and find information that reinforces what an isotope actually is. Furthermore, the quantitative data forces students to examine beliefs about different types of averages and what the numbers really mean. This takes a bit of effort to set up but is inexpensive and can be used year after year.