Students learn that fats found in the foods we eat are not all the same; they discover that physical properties of materials are related to their chemical structures. Provided with several samples of commonly used fats with different chemical properties (olive oil, vegetable oil, shortening, animal fat and butter), student groups build and use simple LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots with temperature and light sensors to determine the melting points of the fat samples. Because of their different chemical structures, these fats exhibit different physical properties, such as melting point and color. This activity uses the fact that fats are opaque when solid and translucent when liquid to determine the melting point of each sample upon being heated. Students heat the samples, and use the robot to determine when samples are melted. They analyze plots of their collected data to compare melting points of the oil samples to look for trends. Discrepancies are correlated to differences in the chemical structure and composition of the fats.
The project is called "Chemistry and Cooking" and it will last about 6 weeks. Students will learn about what matter is, the phases of matter, the difference between physical and chemical properties, as well as physical and chemical changes. The project’s Driving Question, which focuses our work, is “How does an understanding of chemistry impact your cooking?” Students will be involved in hands-on activities and labs that will help them learn the concepts that they will then apply to their final project. The child will work independently on a recipe of their choice to show their understanding of how chemistry impacts cooking.
Through three lessons and their four associated activities, students are introduced to concepts related to mixtures and solutions. Students consider how mixtures and solutions and atoms and molecules can influence new technologies developed by engineers. To begin, students explore the fundamentals of atoms and their structures. The building blocks of matter (protons, electrons, neutrons) are covered in detail. The next lesson examines the properties of elements and the periodic table one method of organization for the elements. The concepts of physical and chemical properties are also reviewed. Finally, the last lesson introduces the properties of mixtures and solutions. A comparison of different mixtures and solutions, their properties and their separation qualities are explored.
Students take advantage of the natural ability of red cabbage juice to perform as a pH indicator to test the pH of seven common household liquids. Then they evaluate the accuracy of the red cabbage indicator, by testing the pH of the liquids using an engineer-designed tool, pH indicator strips. Like environmental engineers working on water remediation or water treatment projects, understanding the chemical properties (including pH) of contaminants is important for safeguarding the health of environmental water sources and systems.
This lesson plan examines the properties of elements and the periodic table. Students learn the basic definition of an element and the 18 elements that build most of the matter in the universe. The periodic table is described as one method of organization for the elements. The concepts of physical and chemical properties are also reviewed.