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1. Bonding (The Diaper Lab)

Using everyday materials such as sand, bath salts, and fertilizer, students will examine the differences between covalent and ionic materials in terms of conductivity. They will then examine the behavior of sodium polyacrylate (SAP/ superabsorbent polymer) when covalent and ionic materials are mixed with it and learn about how SAP works within a diaper.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: Standard 2a, 2b, 2f, 2g, 6b*

2. Density of Gases

In this short lab, students will use syringes to determine the masses of three gas samples. Using this information and the molar volumes of gases at room temperature, they are able to calculate the molar masses of each of the gases. They will then use the molar masses as a way to compare the densities of the gases and examine Archimedes’ principle from perspective of balloons’ floating and sinking.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 3d,

3. Phase Changes – energies involved in phase changes

Students explore the four primary phase changes, and observe the energy changes involved in each phase change. The lab includes a simple but exquisite demonstration that freezing releases energy, as well as a more complex but surprisingly effective demonstration of condensation. Uses safe and inexpensive chemicals with mostly standard equipment.

4. Flip Flop Reactions (Copper Lab)

Students observe, discuss, and learn about reversible reactions, complete/incomplete reactions, dynamic equilibrium, and/or Le Chatelier’s Principle. The reaction between copper sulfate and sodium bromide, which displays a vivid color change, is used. This lab has many possibilities for extensions, variations, and experimentation, and the chemicals are inexpensive and easily disposed of.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 9a, 9b, 7f*

5. Periodicity of Metals (with Alkaline-Earth Metals)

Students work with magnesium, calcium and strontium to determine which element is the most and least reactive in the alkaline-earth family. Students use lithium and the instructor demonstrates sodium and potassium to determine the same trend. Students use the rate of hydrogen bubbling and universal indicator to monitor reactivity.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 3a, 3d, 3e and 7b

6. Reaction Rate Lab

Students will determine the rate law for this classic iodination of acetone reaction. Students will design a series of mini-experiments to reveal how the concentration of each reactant affects the reaction rate. Easy to deliver and quick to achieve results.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 8a, 8b, 8c, 6d, 5f*, 3e*

7. Thermodynamics and Equilibrium (using Rubber Bands)

In a quick lab, students experiment with stretching rubber bands to explore thermodynamics, entropy, and Le Chatelier’s Principle. The lab requires very little setup and very few materials, and has many possible extensions regarding these topics.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 9b, 7f

8. Soda Lab: Density of Liquids

Estimate the sugar content of soda via density by first preparing a calibration curve of various sugar-rich solutions. A good starter lab to address lots of basic skills.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: IE a, IE b, and IE c

9. Solubility: Ksp of PbI2

Probe the meanings of ‘insoluble’ and equilibrium, as well as the environmental impact of lead paint, by precipitating and re-dissolving bright yellow lead iodide. For chemical equilibrium is maintained, the forward and reverse rates of reaction are equal. Students will calculate the maximum concentration of a slightly soluble salt-Ksp.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 9a, 9b, 9c, 1b/c*, 2c*, 3a/d/e/f*, 6d*

10. Conservation of Mass: Synthesis and Decomposition of Zinc Iodide

This robust lab activity allows students to confirm the conservation of mass, determine the empirical formula of zinc iodide and observe a synthesis and decomposition reaction, which are exothermic and endothermic respectfully.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 1b,1g

11. Kinetics: The Vitamin C Clock Reaction

Students study rate of reaction and the factors that affect rate of reaction through the use of paired reactions: vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and elemental iodine, and hydrogen peroxide and the iodide ion. A small amount of starch acts as the indicator for the reaction “completion,” turning a blue-black when the vitamin C is exhausted and elemental iodine accumulates. The concepts of limiting reagent, multiple mechanisms, and rate law can also be taught out of this lab with modification.

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 8b, 3e*, IEc, IEd

12. Acids and Bases in our world

We come across all three every day, but do we understand how important they are in biological systems? Students will first explore acid and base properties of several everyday solutions, examining a wide range of the pH scale. Students will then compare the change in pH when adding acids or bases to a solution buffered with carbonic acid, the same chemical system that buffers our blood. They will then think about why our blood needs to be buffered and why carbonic acid is such a good choice!

CA Chemistry Content Standards: 3e, 4c, 5a,b,d