Penguin Random House - STEM Books - August 2023


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6 Essential HS Chemistry Labs

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Carla-Rae Smith Carla-Rae Smith 370 Points

I am just starting a new position teaching HS Chem and Honors Chem in a hybrid online school. Students will access curriciculum online, but I can supplement it with virtual labs and hands on labs although in the spirit of the school I want to limit the in person activites. If you could only do 6 lab investigations with your students during the year, what would you do?If you have any online labs/simulations that are stellar to recommend I would love that too.

Katharine Shroyer Katharine Shroyer 340 Points

My Top 6 Favorite Labs Are: 

  • Flame Test Lab 
  • Types of Chemical Reactions Lab
  • % Mass Popcorn Lab
  • Reaction Rate Lab 
  • Creating a Lava Lamp Lab. I use it as a review for chemical v. physical changes and practice balancing. 
  • Endothermic v. Exothermic Lab 

Let me know if you want any of these resources that I use and I would be more than willing to share! 

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points


Can you share your reaction rate lab and your lava lamp lab?  Thanks!

Cristina Welch Cristina Welch 410 Points

  • **phet simulations - some have great lab templates that teachers have posted
  • Flame spectroscopy
  • Single and double replacement lab
  • kinetics lab (part 1 using alka seltzer tablets in various water temperatures, part 2 using magnesium strips in various concentrations of HCl solution)
  • VSPER modeling for covalent molecules
  • acid-base lab/titration with an indicator
  • calculate the specific heat of various objects using an insulated device (coffee cup)



Kathryn Hedges Kathryn Hedges 650 Points

Check the labs in  The labs allow collection of data and experimentation.  I have used them for middle and high school and also college classes.

Density is a good lab-you can doe density of irregular objects, preferably seeds even, using a dry bulk measurement and with displacement. I have also done solid density using a candy bar. My students were impressed that desnity remained the same when size and mass chagned. And a liquid density which allows students to compare the density of 1-3 different liquids. 

I hope I have attached all three. If not, I will add more messages. There are some tribal connections which you can use or ignore. 

Another source of online similuatons is phet simulations. 

Another lab would be pH indicators-again household objects can be used for this. This would introduce acids/bases, and common household products. I have sent students home with litmus paper and instructions to test 10-15 household products to determine if acid, base, or neutral. 

I really like using household products, common concepts that cut across more than just chemistry-pH I will tye into water quality and fishing or acid mine drainage; pH of blood and thngs that can affect your blood pH; etc. 

Hope this helps!


Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

For online, I would second the PHet Simulations.  There are a lot of good simulations on there and they all come with many different resources, lab handouts, etc.  


Does the online curriculum do lab simulations?

Marco Rodriguez Marco Rodriguez 653 Points

I think One of my favorites would be the flame Test in which we burn different chemicals to see what color are produced.  The other would be the separation of a mixture Lab in which students come up with strategies to separate a mixture of sand, salt and iron.  



Debbie Rydalch Debbie Morgan 954 Points

I can name one lab that has the ability to cover so many topics in chemistry and can be adjusted to meet the level of your students both higher and lower level. I first found this lab on The Science Spot by an 8th grade teacher, Tracy Trimpe Tomm, at it is the ‘Case # 1225 Mystery Cookie Investigation”. I’ve used it with 8th graders to 12th graders by adjusting the learning outcomes and levels of difficulty relating to my students needs and found my students always enjoy it. I’ve also adjusted it so that it is not holiday related too. There are just so many options you can have fun with! Happy sciencing!

 Engel Donna 1205 Points

We have students design the best nuclear shield and then test their designs using isotopes and Geiger counters.  We tie this lab into our study of the nuclear atom and we use excerpts from both The Radium Girls and Midnight in Chernobyl.  

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