Teaching Science

Chemistry Resources


The grade ten chemistry unit concentrates on chemical properties and reactions. These resources are grouped by the chapters in the Nelson Science 10 textbook, because that arrangement makes sense to me (a non-chemist).

Copyright on all materials on this site is retained by the authors. You are granted a limited license to reproduce these resources for classroom use, provided the copyright notices are not removed. Charging a fee for these resources, or distributing them in any way outside your classroom, is prohibited.

General Chemistry

Stacks Image 38

Biography of a Chemist

We are supposed to be teaching a bit of the history of science (expectation A2.2) as well as facts and theories, and yet often we lose track of the human nature of science and scientists. This short writing assignment has students research one chemist and write a five-paragraph story about them.

I use this assignment to reinforce both research skills and writing skills.
Stacks Image 2675
Updated February 12, 2014

Chemist Cards

I created these to end arguments over who got to write about which chemist. I print them out and randomly distribute them in class. Students can trade them if they like, but must write about the chemist they end up with. Has all the chemists in the Biography of a Chemist assignment, plus a few extra to make up 40 chemists.

Oddly, some of my students wanted to use them as trading cards.I'm thinking of making up a set for every unit, maybe with short biographic blurbs, and handing them out as rewards!
Stacks Image 7240
Updated March 26, 2015

Chemistry: A Volatile History

Chemistry: A Volatile History is a 2010 BBC documentary on the history of chemistry presented by Jim Al-Khalili. It was nominated for the 2010 British Academy Television Awards in the category Specialist Factual.
Stacks Image 7250
Updated March 26, 2015

Chemistry History Quizzes

Matching quizzes for each of the episodes of Chemistry: A Volatile History. Answers are provided.

In Our Time: Alchemy

Stacks Image 2727
Updated February 23, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of Alchemy, the ancient science of transformations. The most famous alchemical text is the Emerald Tablet, written around 500BC and attributed to the mythical Egyptian figure of Hermes Trismegistus. Among its twelve lines are the essential words — “as above, so below”. They capture the essence of alchemy, that the heavens mirror the earth and that all things correspond to one another. Alchemy was taken up by some of the most extraordinary people in our intellectual development, including Roger Bacon, Paracelsus, the father of chemistry, Robert Boyle, and, most famously, Isaac Newton, who wrote more about alchemy than he did about physics. It is now contended that it was Newton’s studies into alchemy which gave him the fundamental insight into the famous three laws of motion and gravity.

In Our Time: Chemical Elements

Stacks Image 2704
Updated February 23, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the chemical elements. The aim and challenge in chemistry, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is the understanding of the complex materials which constitute everything in existence since the Big Bang, when the whole universe emerged out of the two elements of hydrogen and helium.

Today we have the key to understanding these elements, the Periodic Table, which is a pattern embedded in nature and was miraculously discovered in a dream.

In Our Time: Oxygen

Stacks Image 6616
Updated February 23, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg discusses the discovery of Oxygen by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier.

For the British dissenting preacher, Joseph Priestley, and the French aristocrat, Antoine Lavoisier, Chemistry was full of possibilities and they pursued them for scientific and political ends. But they came to blows over oxygen because they both claimed to have discovered it, provoking a scientific controversy that rattled through the laboratories of France and England until well after their deaths. To understand their disagreement is to understand something about the nature of scientific discovery itself.

In Our Time: Robert Boyle

Stacks Image 6604
Updated July 11, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of Robert Boyle, a pioneering scientist and a founder member of the Royal Society. Born in Ireland in 1627, Boyle was one of the first natural philosophers to conduct rigorous experiments, laid the foundations of modern chemistry and derived Boyle's Law, describing the physical properties of gases. In addition to his experimental work he left a substantial body of writings about philosophy and religion; his piety was one of the most important factors in his intellectual activities, prompting a celebrated dispute with his contemporary Thomas Hobbes.
Stacks Image 48

Elemental Sudoku

I got these from the Royal Society of Chemistry. If you have students who can't put away their sudoku puzzles, try them on these! Answers are included.
Stacks Image 6738
Updated July 13, 2014

BBC Elements

A nice series of half-hour podcasts looking (eventually) at all the elements.

Justin Rowlatt looks at the world economy from the perspective of the elements of the periodic table.
Stacks Image 6985
Updated February 11, 2015

Elements Matching Game

Cards for a game involving matching elements and symbols. Sized to use standard business card stock.

The cards can also be printed as flashcards, with the symbol on the front and the element on the back.
Stacks Image 6955
Updated January 14, 2017

Chemistry Matching Quizzes

A set of eight quizzes, matching terms with definitions. Answer keys are included.
Stacks Image 870
Updated October 24, 2013

Safety Poster

Safety is very important when doing labs, especially chemistry labs. I distribute the safety rules from the textbook among the class (that’s why there’s a space to write the rule on the sheet) and have students make a small poster. The best ones get displayed around the classroom as reminders.
Stacks Image 1438
Updated February 9, 2014

Lab Safety Tableaux

Safety is the primary concern in any science lab. One way to remember safety rules is to deliberately break them — safely.

In this assignment students create tableaux showing themselves breaking lab safety rules, and take pictures of the tableaux. With each picture they provide a list of all the safety rules being broken in the tableau. (which shows that they understand what is dangerous).

Two slightly different versions of the assignment are included.

Zombie College

Stacks Image 1424
Updated February 9, 2014
A lab safety website from NC Community Colleges, featuring a short film, music video, video game, and lesson plans.

Whether you're a chemist, researcher, or a student in a freshman biology course, the laboratory is a potentially fatal workplace. Lab safety is more than just memorizing a list of "Dos and Don'ts"...working safely is a state of mind. Our challenge was to design a blended learning program to serve as a catalyst to get learners thinking about and discussing the topic of lab safety. The ultimate goal is developing "a safety state of mind" which is demonstrated by behavioral change.

With Zombie College, lab safety training comes to life!

Chemical Properties

Clumps of Atoms

Stacks Image 1066
Updated November 7, 2013
A six-page look at elements and molecules, written by Dr. David Morgan-Mar and provided by him under a Creative Commons license.

We’ve talked about elements and what they are made of, namely atoms. The ancient Greeks thought there were just four elements, and that everything else was made of combinations of those. The basic idea was right, they just got the actual elements wrong. We know now that neither air, fire, earth, nor water are elements. The question then comes to mind: What are they?

I'm field-testing a set of questions and directed reading exercises for this resource, and I'll include them with the download when they are ready (and announce the update). In the meantime, enjoy an interesting and well-written introduction to chemistry.

Organising the Elements

Stacks Image 1059
Updated November 7, 2013
A six-page history of the periodic table, written by Dr. David Morgan-Mar and provided by him under a Creative Commons license.

Stuff is made of atoms, tiny particles that are too small to see. We can infer the existence of atoms from the chemical properties of matter, in particular how elements combine to form other substances. For many common compounds, the elements combine in specific fixed ratios, which can be understood as the combination of specific numbers of atoms of each element into molecules.

I'm field-testing a set of questions and directed reading exercises for this resource, and I'll include them with the download when they are ready (and announce the update). In the meantime, enjoy an interesting and well-written introduction to the periodic table.
Stacks Image 188
Updated May 17, 2014

Ionic Bonding Lessons

A presentation of ionic bonding, rendered as a QuickTime file for maximum portability. This isn't stand-alone, but intended as part of a lecture presentation. Click the mouse (or use the spacebar) to advance to the next build.
Stacks Image 190

Ionic Bonding Manipulatives

Some students understand balancing ionic charges immediately; others get lost in the numbers and struggle. These manipulatives make balancing an ionic compound a visual procedure, rather than a mathematical one. I’ve found that if I allow students to use the manipulatives whenever they want, including quizzes and tests, they stop on their own once the balancing ‘clicks’ for them.
Stacks Image 207
Updated January 27, 2015

Ionic Bonding Practice

I don't believe in overloading students with homework, but I do like to give them enough practice that they feel confident that they understand. This sixteen page package gives them lots of practice forming and naming ionic compounds.
Stacks Image 205
Updated October 24, 2013

Ionic Compound Quizzes

I give a lot of quizzes for ionic bonding, because I want students to master it. Although marks at first are low, this doesn’t matter because I use “most recent most consistent”, so as long as students make progress (and almost all do) the slower learners aren’t penalized. This package contains ten quizzes, with answers.
Stacks Image 7428
Updated June 11, 2016

IoniCompounds Game

IoniCompounds is a fun way for students to practice forming ionic compounds. The unique ion cards make it easy to visually balance ionic compounds, while the special cards keep play exciting until the last turn.

This file contains rulebook, cards, and a folding storage box — everything needed to play IoniCompounds. The rulebook should be printed double-sided, folded, and stapled to make a small booklet. The cards can be printed on pre-punched business card stock, or printed on card stock and cut out. Alternate card backs make multiple classroom sets easy to sort out if your students get them mixed up.
Stacks Image 222
Updated November 14, 2015

Molecular Models Activity

If you have ball-and-stick modelling kits, this is a nice little activity. Students build models, I sign off on each molecule as they successfully complete it, and by the end they have a better grasp of molecular bonding.

ION: A Compound Building Game

Stacks Image 11297
Updated April 2, 2017
ION: A Compound Building Game is a simple card drafting game where players select from a number of available ion cards and noble gas cards, with the objective of forming either neutrally charged compounds or sets of stable noble gases.

How to Play
Each player is initially dealt eight cards. They choose one card and pass the remaining to the player on their left, while they receive the same amount of cards from the player on their right (this is commonly referred to as “card drafting” or “pick and pass”).

Selected cards must be either (1) bonded to another ion or (2) set alone. Players only score points for neutrally balanced cards. So a positive charged Sodium (Na+) bonding with a negatively charge Chloride (Cl-), forming a neutral NaCl compound. would score points.

Points are scored at the end of each round and player may gain additional points for building specific compounds listed on the goal cards for that round. After three rounds the player with the most points wins!

The game comes with multiple expansions including a Transition Metals expansion, a Polyatomic Ion expansion, and a Radioactive Card expansion.

This game take a different approach to my own Ionicompounds game.

Rare Earth: Chemical Element Card Game

Stacks Image 12214
Updated May 11, 2017
From cute little Hydrogen to heroic Meitnerium to mysterious Ununoctium, chemical element cartoon characters are bonding together, mixing-it-up and raiding each other’s Labs to capture Protons in this exciting card game.

With the
Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game, every child has fun learning the fundamentals of Chemistry, Great for Science classrooms and entertaining for kids and families, players win by combining chemical element cards.

This game is built around forming binary ionic compounds. Bonding a new compound gets you an energy card, which lets you mix an alloy. Forming a compound or allow also lets you steal a compound or allow from one of your opponents.

An expansion pack is available that adds cards to make a complete periodic table.

The rules include several variants, making it suitable for different grades. For the basic game you don't need to know any chemistry — it’s built into the rules. I would start with the simplest version (intended for children) and add complexity if the class likes the game.

Rare Earth is designed for 2-6 players, so the average classroom would need 5-6 sets. Fortunately, there’s a classroom price: six sets plus an expansion pack for the price of five, with free shipping.

LeapCloud is a Canadian company, which makes shipping a lot more reasonable than it is for many products (and free if you order two products at once).

Carbon

Stacks Image 1112
Updated November 7, 2013
A six-page tour of carbon and organic chemistry, written by Dr. David Morgan-Mar and provided by him under a Creative Commons license.

Take six protons, six neutrons, and six electrons and assemble them into an atom. You have produced an atom of carbon, one of the most common elements in the universe, and exceedingly easy to find on the surface of the Earth. Carbon is an extraordinary element, underlying much of our existence.

I'm field-testing a set of questions and directed reading exercises for this resource, and I'll include them with the download when they are ready (and announce the update). In the meantime, enjoy an interesting and well-written introduction to organic chemistry.

In Our Time: Carbon

Stacks Image 2740
Updated February 23, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Carbon. It forms the basis of all organic life and has the amazing ability to bond with itself and a wide range of other elements, forming nearly 10 million known compounds. It is in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the shampoo we use and the petrol that fuels our cars. Because carbon has the largest range of subtle bonding capabilities, 95% of everything that exists in the universe is made up of carbon atoms that are stuck together.

In Our Time: Water

Stacks Image 2878
Updated February 23, 2014
In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss one of the simplest and most remarkable of all molecules: water. Water is among the most abundant substances on Earth, covering more than two-thirds of the planet. Consisting of just three atoms, the water molecule is superficially simple in its structure but extraordinary in its properties. It is a rare example of a substance that can be found on Earth in gaseous, liquid and solid forms, and thanks to its unique chemical behaviour is the basis of all known life. Scientists are still discovering new things about it, such as the fact that there are at least fifteen different forms of ice.

Chemical Reactions

Stacks Image 861
Updated May 17, 2014

Chemical Reactions Lessons

A presentation of chemical reactions, rendered as a QuickTime file for maximum portability. This isn't stand-alone, but intended as part of a lecture presentation. Click the mouse (or use the spacebar) to advance to the next build.
Stacks Image 6975
Updated January 31, 2015

Model Cards for Balancing Reactions

Students often have a hard time balancing equations. They get lost in the numbers — subscripts, superscripts, how many atoms of each element? — and lose track of what they're trying to do.

This short activity uses pictures of molecules to balance equations. it includes teacher’s notes, a student worksheet, ten pages of molecular model cards, and labels for bags to store the cards in.
Stacks Image 248
Updated December 5, 2015

Chemical Equation Practice

I don't believe in overloading students with homework, but I do like to give them enough practice that they feel confident that they understand. This 22 page package gives them lots of practice writing and balancing chemical equations.
Stacks Image 1216
Updated December 19, 2016

Chemical Equation Quizzes

I give a lot of quizzes for chemical equations, because I want students to master them. Although marks at first are low, this doesn't matter because I use "most recent most consistent", so as long as students make progress (and almost all do) the slower learners aren't penalized. This package contains ten quizzes, with answers.
Stacks Image 7735
Updated December 7, 2015

Explosives

A simple double-sided worksheet where students write skeleton and balanced chemical equations, based on word equations of various explosives.
Stacks Image 7020
Updated March 8, 2015

Corrosion Activity

A simple activity based on the corrosion of iron. These are the student worksheets — I’ll add teachers’ notes when I have time to write them up.

In essence, show students the raw materials for a case of corrosion and get them to predict what will happen, and explain their prediction. Then show them the corroded object and get them to write observations, explain their observations, and then apply what they have learned to daily life.

Two versions are included: one with a marking rubric, one with just a space for teacher comments.

Acids and Bases

Stacks Image 968
Updated October 25, 2013

Acids and Bases Lessons

A presentation of acids and bases, rendered as a QuickTime file for maximum portability. This isn't stand-alone, but intended as part of a lecture presentation. Click the mouse (or use the spacebar) to advance to the next build.
Stacks Image 886
Updated October 24, 2013

Acid Rain in China Reading Exercise

Questions based on a short article from BBC news. I generally use this as both literacy practice and some background on the problem of acid precipitation. Answers are included.

Acids and Bases

Stacks Image 1079
Updated November 7, 2013
A six-page explanation of the pH scale, written by Dr. David Morgan-Mar and provided by him under a Creative Commons license.

It wasn’t until I got to university that I started to appreciate chemistry again. The reason, I think, is because that up until then chemistry seems to be more or less arbitrary rules that you just have to know. To understand why those rules exist, you have to dig deeper than high school science allows. You need to appreciate some of the intricacies of quantum mechanics, which dictates things like the numbers of electrons in the shells of atoms.


I'm field-testing a set of questions and directed reading exercises for this resource, and I'll include them with the download when they are ready (and announce the update). In the meantime, enjoy an interesting and well-written introduction to acids and bases.
Stacks Image 4821
Updated March 12, 2014

Red Cabbage Experiment

A simple experiment using red cabbage juice as a pH indicator. Two versions are included: one using distilled water, and one using tap water. (Tap water works quite well for this experiment.)
Stacks Image 5718
Updated March 22, 2014

pH Indicator Cards

This PDF file contains 36 cards (6 per page) with the same nine solutions. Each has had universal indicator added, and the pH colour scale is included on each card.

These could be used for a dry lab activity, or as part of a test.

Nelson OSSLT Questions

The Nelson Science 10 textbook includes at least one reading assignment per chapter specifically geared to practicing for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. These questions relate to those readings. If you don't use the Nelson Science 10 textbook, they will be of no use to you.
Stacks Image 27
Updated October 23, 2013
Stacks Image 23
Updated March 6, 2015
Stacks Image 7000
Updated March 6, 2015
Stacks Image 110
Updated October 23, 2013