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Creative chemistry projects

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Meredith Venable Meredith Venable 60 Points

In the latest push for "STEM" type curriculum, I've noticed that my physics class has all kinds of big creative ptojects like rube Goldberg machines and creating musically accurate instruments from scratch. . . All of which require research, experimentation, problem-solving, all that good stuff . . .But I have no such creative extensive endeavors in chemistry. How does one include such endeavors and still get through the expected material? Anyone have any particularly inventive chemistry projects? I want my students leaving my class with more than chemistry facts.

Emily Faulconer Faulconer 5755 Points

I'm not sure this is what you're looking for but I find this Chemistry MahJong game fun! 

Christine Herald Chris Herald 1825 Points

Hi! I looked at the website, for ideas last year. My students really enjoyed silly putty activities. They had to designed different recipes and tested how they bounced & stretched. Can be a bit messy, but that's chemistry! Candy chromatography is another activity they enjoyed. The very last experiment in the acid & base unit was testing different shampoos. Check out FLINN for their lab.

Emily Surber Emily Schmidt 265 Points

Did you ever come up with some good ideas for creative chemistry projects? I was thinking of doing an ethical debate where the students would have to look up a topic related to chemistry with an ethical theme. Mostly I was thinking of something to do with unwanted/dangerous chemicals in foods due to lax regulations or with some medical treatments or drugs that are controversial, etc. But I would also love to hear if anyone else got back to you with a creative idea or two. I'm always looking for more interesting things to do for my students too.

Margaret Nevistich Margaret Nevistich 10 Points

I've done a homework assignment where the students read a newspaper article or two about an individual or individuals who have been brought up on charges for unethical behavior in the chemical sciences. One article involved a company making vaccines who was not properly sterilizing their vials. As a result it caused deaths in patients who received the vaccine. The ethical discussion came about because some students thought the law was too tough on the owners of the company and its head pharmacist and others thought it was too lenient. We responded in an online Schoology board discussion, so it did not take up too much class time. It was a good graded homework assignment that got them thinking about how chemists are given important positions in companies and require a strong sense of ethics and work ethic to ensure they do not cause harm to other people. I have also used the Dookhan article in the past about the Massachusettes crime lab chemist who was dry labbing drug samples. As a result of her behavior and the lack of oversight in the lab, numerous cases had to be retried. It is easy to find articles through a google search. I often give them a choice of guided questions they can answer to begin the debate. Good luck!

Meredith Venable Meredith Venable 60 Points

Emily, I did something like that in college. And no, I haven't come up with anything creative for chemistry. Most of my brain power has been devoted to tweaking a standards based system for my courses. And I started too late. I'll have to plan for next year :-)

Caroline Encomienda Caroline Encomienda 720 Points

Hi Meredith, Our chemistry curriculum group came up with this chemistry project last school year and we have been tweaking it since then. We called it Chemistry at Work Project. It is basically about doing research on the chemistry behind a product of their choice. It can be a personal hygiene product, household cleaning product, beauty, automotive, food, or health product, OR a product used in one of their hobbies OR their future career choice. They have to do research on any five ingredients of their product which includes chemical formulas and names, groups/families, purpose of including that ingredient, chemical and physical properties, hazards or cautions of the ingredient, manufacturer of product and location. We also have the students find a professional resource person to interview about their product who either works with or makes their product. This year we included business letter writing (letter of request and thank you note). The final product of this project is a 5-minute iMovie or video to share all their findings to the class. The video must contain the interview with a professional. We shared these videos to parents during showcase night.

Mario Shermack Mario Shermack 20 Points

This sounds like a great idea! just what I was looking for. Would you be willing to share a copy of this lab with me. My email is [email protected]

AJ Chestnut AJ Chestnut 20 Points

This sounds amazing! I love the cross-curriculum connections. Is there any way I could get more information on this project?

Oluwaseun Anderson Oluwaseun Anderson 210 Points

Hello, Don't know if you'll see this since your post was so long ago. Your project sounds awesome and I would like to try this with my students. If you would not mind sharing your documents for the project my email is [email protected] Thank you so much, Seun Anderson

Kim Bentley Kim Bentley 10 Points

Caroline, Would you be willing to share your project guidelines (rubrics, resource list, project criteria) via email? It sounds like an awesome integration project. thanks

Christy Mabou Christy Mabou 10 Points

This is amazing! I want to do this with my Chemistry classes. Do you happen to have a rubric? Any documents you could share? I teach high school Chemistry and I think this is a great end of year project. Thank you.

Christy Mabou
[email protected]

Louis Cirello Louis Cirello 10 Points

Hi, This project looks very close to what I planned on making. If you have any materials you wouldn't mind sharing can you please send some my way? THANK YOU, Louis Cirello [email protected]

Rachel Poe Rachel Poe 10 Points

I am very interested in this project. Would you mind sharing more information about the project? Are there rubrics, guidelines, etc. that you have developed for this project, and would you mind sharing them with me? My email is [email protected] I would appreciate any information you would be willing to share or provide. Rachel Poe [email protected]

Deborah Sechrist Deborah Sechrist 735 Points

Hi Caroline, Our district is going with a new approach to teaching: personalized learning. Our school is a pilot using project-based curriculum. We have struggled with this too. Thank you for sharing your project with us. Our contact info is [email protected]

Monique Bredbenner Monique Bredbenner 20 Points

I would be interested in hearing if the Chemistry at Work project would be appropriate for middle school? This is just the real world application I am interested in. Would you mind sharing your project? Thanks in advance. Monique [email protected]

Julie Bentley Julie Bentley 4010 Points

Such a great idea Caroline! This project idea 'Chemistry at Work Project' is such an interactive way for students to facilitate, discover and research individually on their own. I like how students are able to pick their own product...and it can be anything like toothpaste, shampoo or even dog food! There are many options for students to steer their own learning and understanding. Students are also diving deep into 5 main ingredients in their product and researching about them and why they are used in the product. I would enjoy doing this myself because you can learn good/bad ingredients that are in food, products etc. This can familiarize students to steer clear of some ingredients that could be harmful to the body, especially when it comes to food. If I were to do this project, I would take immediate interest in certain foods and their ingredients. I am very passionate about eating right and treating your body as a temple! In today's world food has become full of ingredients, preservatives and excess chemicals that are not needed and not healthy for the human body to consume. Thanks so much for sharing this! As a future teacher I will definitely put this project idea at the top of my list. It can be so informative for students and has the stages of researching, familiarizing, applying knowledge and creating a final project to show the learning. Thanks again! Julie

Varsha Sharma Varsha Sharma 20 Points

Sounds like a good idea! Can you share more information with me. [email protected]

 Kelly Pawlak 40 Points

This project sounds great and addresses several skills I want my students to take aways and makes a connection with the real world. Do you have any resources you are willing to share? My email address is [email protected]. Thank you for sharing your resources and idea. Kelly

Arianne McStroul Arianne McStroul 10 Points

Hi Caroline, This sounds like a great project. I would like to tinker this for my seniors. Do you have any documents that you can share reflecting a rubric or other details that are helpful? Thank you in advance. Arianne McStroul

Joanna Cockrell Joanna Cockrell 10 Points

Hello Caroline - Thank you for sharing this so long ago! I would love to know if you still have documents for this assignment?? And would you be so kind as to send them to me!! Again, thanks for taking the time to share. [email protected]

Sienie Kelly Sienie Kelly 10 Points

Hi Caroline, Your idea sounds terrific. Am I way too late? If not, and you're willing, would you kindly send links/attachments? Or if anyone else following this thread has that info? Thank you. If I am too late, thanks anyway! SK

Stephanie Cintron Stephanie Cintron 10 Points


 I was hoping to get access to this project from you or at least more of an outline.  I am trying to make my Chemistry classes more project based and this sounds great! Thanks in advance. Have a great school year.


Samantha Skinner Samantha Skinner 10 Points

Hi Caroline! Can I also jump on the bandwagon and ask for rubrics or an outline for this project. It sounds like a great idea. [email protected]

Grace Cusick Grace Cusick 10 Points

Hi Caroline! 

Your post was so long ago but I see people still commenting on it. Is there any way I could get a copy of the rubric and everything for this project? 

[email protected]


Thank you!!

Michel Tripp Michel Tripp 10 Points

Very interested in this project. Can you send any rubric or details please? Thank you. [email protected]


Hilary Register Hilary Register 10 Points

Hey!  I am very interested in obtaining more information on this project.  Sounds like an awesome idea.  Would it be okay for me to get a copy of you guidelines/procedures and grading rubric?

My email address is [email protected]  



At our high school, students in Chemistry or Culinary classes take part in an extensive Molecular Gastronomy (MG) project. Drawing inspiration from chefs Alton Brown ("Good Eats") and Marcel ("Marcel's Quantum Kitchen"), as well as newly developing creative menus at restaurants, students work in groups of two or three to select a dish to re-innovate. MG basically transforms "ordinary" food into something different and creative; for example, turning a sauce into a gelatin, or producing flavor-filled spheres. The project takes place in the second half of the semester and spans almost two months, culminating in a school-wide food fair/contest. Past dishes include the following: Fruit Spaghetti -- Students created long strands of fruit-juice gelatin (they utilized long, thin tubing) and served it with strawberry cream sauce, garnished with fresh mint leaves. Deep-fried Coca Cola Balls -- Students created a Coca Cola sphere, dipped it in pancake batter, and deep-fried it. Bananas Foamster -- Students played up the traditional dessert by creating a foam sauce. The Chemistry and Culinary students work together to teach other tricks of their respective trades: Culinary students learn the science behind gels, foams, spheres and Science students learn about food presentation and sanitation. This is a popular project at our school. Students become really invested in their dishes and spend lots of time after class perfecting their gels or spheres. The chemistry behind MG is fascinating. For example, spheres can be made by combining a sauce or puree with calcium chloride and sodium alginate; these serve as stabilizing and thickening agents. Gels arise by mixing Knox gelatin in the right amount with a liquid. The MG project is time- and supply-intensive, but I think it's an effective (and delicious!) way to connect Chemistry to everyday things, and it's definitely a way for students to practice science hands on.

 Kelly Pawlak 40 Points

Hi Francesca, Our school has a cooking club and several of the students are in my chemistry class. Do you have any resources (rubrics, handouts, etc.) that you would be willing to share? I would love to try and incorporate this into my class. My email address is [email protected]. Thank you for sharing your idea. Kelly

Paul Montbriand Paul Montbriand 160 Points

One way of connecting chemistry and nanotechnology is to do a project with self-assembly. There are lots of ways you can introduce this, but the basic concept is intermolecular forces and molecular shapes. Molecular Workbench has a great series of simulations to show how some common molecules are made using self assembly. I start off by telling my students that at the end of the unit they will need to design their own self assembling product. They can design whatever they want as long as they can describe the chemical principles governing the assembly of their product. My general chemistry class is completing a project in which they have to "green" the process of making a biofuel. They need to understand the principles of green chemistry (you can find them on, stoichiometry, calorimetry and saponification. You can have students try to optimize the yield of a reaction. For example, this year one of my "teams" decided they would test the %yield of aspirin synthesis. They each chose a variable to test and then compiled their research to make recommendations as to the best conditions for synthesizing aspirin. These are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

Ronnie Dalgo Ronnie Dalgo 10 Points

Great idea!Can I have a copy of the lab worksheet if there is? Just send to my email add. [email protected] Thank you

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

All May I suggest that ya'll (I can say this I am from Texas - translated plural of you) subscribe to Science Tuesday A new great idea every Tuesday You MUST try the magnetic fluid demonstration

Cristina Toj Cristina Toj 835 Points

This is a great resource and something I definitely will put into use in my future classroom. Thank You!

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

A bit messy, but very cool and simple.

Tomonori Hayamichi Tomonori Hayamichi 1105 Points

Hi, I am a middle school science teacher and interested in finding the ideas from which I can learn and guide my students for science fair project. We officially started to participate in the science fair project from last year and spent a lot of class hours to support their project. Many of my students are interested in doing investigative project involving chemistry concepts. I am hoping this is a right place for my purpose and I can gain to lead and guide my students through this thread.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Tomonori The American Chemical Society has a fabulous website for middle school chemistry. I think you should be able to find some creative ideas amid the content provided. NSTA has featured these middle school lessons in several webinars. Pam

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

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Talk to you students about problems that may occur when someone consumes alcohol or takes drugs—either legal or illegal—and then gets behind the wheel. Emphazise the importance of driving responsibly—even if that means choosing not to drive when impaired or not to get into a car with a driver who isn't clearheaded. The AAS has a collection of resources explaining science behind alcohol with a focus on chemistry and neuroscience. The Science Inside Alcohol Project E-Book guides students through the effects of alcohol on the body and some of the physical and social consequences of underage drinking. Hear about teen brains and binge drinking, explore the social ramifications of alcohol abuse, and get advice on talking to kids about drinking. We also offer a number of resources related to impaired driving, including Driving and Talking, Cell Phones & Driving, Talking & Driving, and Driving while Distracted.

Yetzul Flores Werner Yetzul Flores Werner 1190 Points

I did a project with my students titled, "Explain it to a 5th grader." To review for their final exam, I had my students design a book that explains Chemistry topics to a fifth grader. I included a list of the topics that needed to be discussed and explained to them that the vocabulary needed to be adjusted for a fifth grade students. This forced my students to take High school Chemistry topics and use pictures and easier vocabulary to explain them. I then talked to a few of our elementary schools and agreed to bring it to them for the students to see. I found that my students worked harder when they knew that they would actually be looked at and read and they made sure the topics made sense. I saw a sense of pride in the completed books I hadn't seen before and it helped them to review for their exam. Some of the fifth grade teachers even had their students write thank you letters.

Shalane Sheppard Shalane Sheppard 10 Points

I would love to see some examples of this or to get more information on this project if possible.

Dawn Battles Dawn Battles 20 Points

I love your idea! Do you have a hard copy of the assignment sheet or grading rubric you used that you would be willing to share? This project sounds fantastic!

Kathryn Hedges Kathryn Hedges 650 Points

I have done this sort of thing with Anatomy and Environmental science and both worked out well. I managed to get one of the employees at Barns and Noble to invite students to the store and my students presented them with copies of their books. The B&N gave my students snacks and coupons which pleased them too.

Kalee Tock Kalee Tock 460 Points

I like to give students a chance to take home their chemistry experiments: they use red cabbage juice to find the pH of acids and bases around the house, for example. It is amazing the creativity that they show in finding new things to test. (I have learned about the pH of quite a few household items that I would not have thought to test.) I would like more ideas in this vein. It is true that chemistry labs tend to be more "cookbook" than physics labs. It is something that I struggle with and other than a few at-home experiments by which I have been pleasantly surprised, I am lacking for ideas. :) Kalee

Jessica Gomez Jessica Gomez 530 Points

I make the books like the post above (explain it to a 5th grader). I have songs they make and magazine pages on elements and compounds. It is really cool to see them get creative. Plus it helps them to get interested in the topics. Thanks to the post about the drunk driving lab ideas. Those are great and super relevant.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Meredith asked, 'Anyone have any particularly inventive chemistry projects? I want my students leaving my class with more than chemistry facts.'

Meredith, I used to have my students create their own Periodic Tables of Something. I would get Periodic Tables of Cookies, sports teams, State Capitals, Disney characters, you name it, may students have thought of it and made a periodic table of the elements. They would have to have rows and columns that made sense for their 'elements' and they would have to make an element tag for each item just like on a real periodic table. The kids really got into this assignment and loved doing it.
Tomonori, there are a few discussion threads on science fair projects within the Learning Center Community Forums. You might find some ideas by reading through a couple of them. Here is one of them: Science Fair Topics

Another excellent source for STEM projects in Chemistry is the Siemens STEM Academy website. You can filter by grade level and content area. I love all the resources available to teachers on this site!

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

Have you tried a pH project? A great deal of thinking and the journaling you could do, amazing.

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

Kids love slime too, so many different forms of slime that you can create. I personally love oobleck, you can even go back to primary grades and utilize the Dr. Seuss book, in addition you can throw in states of matter.

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

Kalee above has done the pH, great cheap activity.

Ethan Daniel Ethan Daniel 10 Points

I have just read your article. It was amazing. It made me think of something I have read previously.

Nicole Nihan Nicole Nihan 1240 Points

There are some great ideas on this thread. I'm looking forward to looking into the Drinking and Driving resources - definitely relevant to my student's lives. I have midterms coming up a couple weeks after winter break ends, I think I may have to implement the 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader' chemistry book as a review project.

Isaac Rapelje Isaac Rapelje 10 Points

Off the top of my head here are some creative chemistry projects Density challenge: I tell students they have been hired by criminals to smuggle "stuff" across the boarder with out sinking their ship. - Flinn Stoichiometry rockets- Flinn build your own battery- make your own indicator average atomic mass of M & M s The one I am currently working on is a green chemistry project where students create a green cleaner, biofuel, bioplastic, paint, glue, soap, basically anything related to green chemistry. It is great because students use readily available less toxic chemicals. At the end of the project students make a commercial "selling" their project. If you can give me a specific unit or topic I might have more.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Winter Olympic Chemistry

Tori Popoloski Tori Popoloski 1500 Points

Such Great Ideas!!

Tori Popoloski Tori Popoloski 1500 Points

Such Great Ideas!Cannnot Wait to use them!

Johanna Barrera Johanna Barrera 910 Points

Hi, Students can make do an element project. Every student are assigned to which element to research on. Teacher can provide guided questions to promote learning the element. (How is the element used, how does look in an atom form, what form of state is it, etc.) After, students are to create an atom model. I hope this help!

Donna Arellano Donna Arellano 945 Points

This sounds very interesting and entertaining! It could also be done in an upper elementary grade.

Kim Harris Kim Harris 160 Points

Depending on what standards in chemistry you are teaching, I have had students design an airbag using stoichiometry and the Ideal gas law. If you would like a copy of this please email me at [email protected]

Varsha Sharma Varsha Sharma 20 Points

I would like a copy. [email protected]

Rebecca Nelson Rebecca Nelson 75 Points

I would love to take a look at this project!  [email protected]  Thanks!

Natasha Kabasa Natasha Kabasa 10 Points

Hi people l have to come up with 3 possible projects l could do for my final Advanced level exams ....l loved the green chemistry one...please help

Kathryn Hedges Kathryn Hedges 650 Points

A friend of mine had her students research making hand cream and lotion.  It is a popular to make your own.  This involves making sure the pH is correct, and finding the right combination of ingredients to make the emolsion the right consistancy. Students seemed to like the products and enjoy the project. 

Testing local water and soils for polutants is also something that kids think is important.  We found lead in dust on houses near our school.

I had students testing rice for arsnic - it was a citizen science project and we were all surprised by the results.  We also tried washing the rice to see if we could lower the levels significantly because we found a source that sugested that would help.  We plotted where the rice was grown and looked at price to see if cost or location grown was related to levels of toxin. 

I often got ideas from citizen scientist and sometimes they will even supply materials for doing the tests if you agree to send results to the researcher.


Debbie Rydalch Debbie Morgan 954 Points

These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

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