Physical Science

Lesson plans are subdivided according to Georgia Performance Standards.
(All files are in PDF format unless otherwise noted.)

 

Atoms and the Periodic Table

  • Atoms and Changes (PowerPoint)
    Playing Jeopardy to learn about matter, atoms, parts of atoms, and changes.
  • Bag O' Isotopes
    In this activity, students will learn to calculate average atomic mass using the fictional element legumium.
  • What's So Special About Bottled Drinking Water? Testing Water for Hardness
    This laboratory teaches students about water hardness, polar and non-polar molecules, and anions and cations.
  • Classes of Matter - Part I
    Several types of household matter will be placed at different lab stations and students will be asked to identify if it is a solution, mixture, compound or element, and what type, if applicable.
  • Classes of Matter - Part II
    This inquiry based lab builds upon the ability to classify matter and asks the student to explain the experiments used to determine the chemical and physical properties of the sample, and determine if their data matches their classification. This lab can be remediated or extended by including more identifications of less obvious classification.
  • Formulas Poker
    Studying the concepts of balancing charge and naming chemical compounds.
  • Periodic Table of Fun
    This group project is meant to reinforce the concept of that the periodic table is a method of organizing the elements. Students will select a category of their choice (animals, food, etc.) and come up with a periodic table of these 'elements' organized in a way of their choosing. Points are according to attached rubric.
  • Resume of an Element
    This is a worksheet that addresses properties of atoms and the periodic table. The lesson was developed for a Physical Science class. The worksheet is completed from information gathered on a specific internet site, The Flavor of Organic Chemistry.
  • Making Scents of Esters
    Introduces students to organic chemistry through the study of flavor. In this lesson, students prepare esters through the process of esterification. (This is activity may be used as a stand-alone lesson or as Lesson 2 of a 3-part unit entitled The Flavor of Organic Chemistry).
  • What is Flavor...And How Do We Know?
    Introduces students to organic chemistry through the study of flavor. In this lesson, students learn about the components of flavor, taste, and aroma through interactive experiences. (This is activity may be used as a stand-alone lesson or as Lesson 1 of a 3-part unit entitled The Flavor of Organic Chemistry).
  • Physical Properties of Wood
    This is a hands-on lesson in which students investigate the relationship between physical properties of wood and its suitability for construction purposes. Students will investigate the density, stiffness, and elasticity of several species of wood.
  • Power of Peanuts
    This lesson plan is for a laboratory activity demonstrating the amount of energy found in a peanut. Peanuts contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Oxidation of the molecular bonds found in these compounds leads to the release of energy.

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Chemical Reactions

  • Basic Decomposition
    Witnessing an acid/base reaction and the decomposition of a solid base in an acidic liquid as well as the evolution of a gas.
  • Basic Synthesis
    This lesson plan is a tool to use when teaching chemical reactions. Students will synthesize magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide using common household products. Teacher conclusions and review of lab will demonstrate the use of chemistry in society and how the products synthesized in this lab are used in everyday life.
  • Classes of Matter - Part II
    This inquiry based lab builds upon the ability to classify matter and asks the student to explain the experiments used to determine the chemical and physical properties of the sample, and determine if their data matches their classification. This lab can be remediated or extended by including more identifications of less obvious classification.
  • Flavor of Organic Chemistry
    This three-part unit introduces students to organic chemistry through the study of flavor. The unit presents basic concepts of organic chemistry such as defining organic compounds, functional groups, naming organic compounds, and the importance of organic molecules in everyday life. Lesson One, What is Flavor. . .and How do We Know?, introduces students to the components of flavor, taste and aroma, through interactive experiences. In Lesson Two, Making Scents of Esters, students prepare esters through the process of esterification. In Lesson Three, Flavor-"Fool", students discover how the five senses affect the perception of flavor. The lessons contained in this unit may be used together as a unit or as stand-alone lessons.
  • Making Scents of Esters
    Introduces students to organic chemistry through the study of flavor. In this lesson, students prepare esters through the process of esterification. (This is activity may be used as a stand-alone lesson or as Lesson 2 of a 3-part unit entitled The Flavor of Organic Chemistry).
  • Pink Lemons Lab
    Discussing neutralization of acids and bases.
  • Power of Peanuts
    This lesson plan is for a laboratory activity demonstrating the amount of energy found in a peanut. Peanuts contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Oxidation of the molecular bonds found in these compounds leads to the release of energy.
  • Stoichiometry of S'mores
    In this activity, students will explore the principles of stoichiometry by building S'mores, the delicious, chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker treats.

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Energy Transformations

  • Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions
    This lesson focuses on the use of technology to collect, graph and analyze data from an exothermic and an endothermic reaction.
  • Energy Content of Foods
    The energy content of foods is investigated. The energy released by a number of food samples and absorbed by water is determined using technology. Inferences about the energy content of foods with high fat content and foods with high carbohydrate content are then made.
  • Energy Transfer and Heat Loss
    This activity is designed to introduce the concept of energy transfer as it relates to heat loss. Students will observe and compare the transfer of heat energy from containers made of different types of materials.
  • Ethnobotany: What's The Dirt Say About the Past?
    Ethnobotany is the study of the role of plants in a society. Since agriculture is the basis of ancient societies, more so than today, soil samples tell an ethnobotanist what plants were important to daily life.
  • Force, Speed, and Horsepower
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of energy, force, work, power, horsepower, and torque. The lesson will use items familiar to students to better explain the concepts listed above. This lesson contains both a hands-on and lecture component.
  • Is it Done Yet? Heat Transfer in the Kitchen
    In this guided inquiry laboratory exercise, students will examine the methods of heat transfer as applied in common cooking methods.
  • Measuring the Speed of Light with Chocolate
    This lesson can be used as a lab or demonstration to teach students about the speed of light and it relationship to frequency and wavelength. It discusses the equation c = f f=λ.
  • Phases of Matter (PowerPoint)
    Playing Jeopardy to learn phases of matter, scientific methods, and measurements.
  • Power of Peanuts
    This lesson plan is for a laboratory activity demonstrating the amount of energy found in a peanut. Peanuts contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Oxidation of the molecular bonds found in these compounds leads to the release of energy.
  • Staying Warm in the Cold
    Animals in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are subjected to violently cold temperatures. Still, amidst these treacherous conditions, these animals have adapted to be able not only to survive but also to thrive in the harsh cold. This laboratory activity will demonstrate one of the mechanisms used by these animals to survive.
  • Temperature Management and Its Importance
    This lesson will describe how temperature is influenced in a controlled environment and how changes in temperature influence plant and animal production.

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Forces, Motion, and Work

  • Force, Friction, Speed, and Acceleration (PowerPoint)
    Playing jeopardy to learn about force, friction, speed, and acceleration.
  • Force, Speed, and Horsepower
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of energy, force, work, power, horsepower, and torque. The lesson will use items familiar to students to better explain the concepts listed above. This lesson contains both a hands-on and lecture component.
  • Which Substance is "Inclined" to Experience More Friction? Experiment 1 of 2
    This two- part lab incorporates food into a class demonstration and student worksheet of friction of a surface and friction of a substance, and the ways to minimize the effects of friction. Students time Experiment 1 and based on those results they form and test a hypothesis for Experiment 2. This lab best targets remedial classes that have trouble visualizing the effects of friction.
  • Which Surface is "Inclined" to Experience More Friction? Experiment 2 of 2
    This two- part lab incorporates food into a class demonstration and student worksheet of friction of a surface and friction of a substance, and the ways to minimize the effects of friction. Students time Experiment 1 and based on those results they form and test a hypothesis for Experiment 2. This lab best targets remedial classes that have trouble visualizing the effects of friction.
  • Junkbox Wars (zip)
    In this engineering design exercise, students will apply their knowledge of basic physical concepts to design four machines and compete in challenges with classmates. This lesson plan is based on materials obtained from the Discovery Channel's Junkyard Wars classroom website.
  • Kitchen Gadgets Galore!
    Students identify simple machines in common kitchen gadgets and then design their own new gadget.
  • Mechanical Advantage of Ramps
    In this group lab students will be studying how inclines, friction, and the force applied to a block affect the ideal and mechanical advantage. Applications can be made in a physical science or a physics classroom, and the level of difficulty can be easily changed by changing the factors of the equation.
  • Physical Properties of Wood
    This is a hands-on lesson in which students investigate the relationship between physical properties of wood and its suitability for construction purposes. Students will investigate the density, stiffness, and elasticity of several species of wood.
  • Physics Olympics
    In this review activity, students complete several short athletic events before analyzing the physics involved in each event.
  • Playground Physics
    This lesson makes use of playground equipment including swings, a merry-go-round, slide, and seesaw to understand some basic principles of physics such Newton's Law of Motion (especially 1st and 2nd), center of gravity, momentum, rotational inertia, torque, and the coefficient of sliding friction. The lesson is to be conducted outside on a playground and requires a Vernier force probe for one of the four activities.
  • Straw that Broke the Camel's Back
    This is an inquiry lesson in which students are given toothpicks and straws and asked to construct a platform that will hold as much weight as they can. After the lab is finished students are asked to perform weight, mass, force, and velocity questions about their platform.
  • Understanding Circular Motion
    Designed for Physics students, this inquiry lab will help students understand the relationship between the variables in the equation for circular motion. Students will conduct three experiments. One variable in the circular motion equation is changed in each experiment. The conclusion of the lab involves deriving the circular motion equation using measured data.
  • Work, Power, and Machine
    Playing Jeopardy to learn work, power, and machine.
  • Average Speed of a Constant Velocity Vehicle
    The purpose of this lab is to calculate the speed of a constant velocity vehicle (CVV), to develop skills in precision and accuracy, data collection and calculations related to average speed. A constant velocity vehicle is a car that mechanically maintains the same speed, and can be ordered from a science supplies catalog.

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Nature of Matter

  • Atoms and Changes (PowerPoint)
    Playing Jeopardy to learn about matter, atoms, parts of atoms, and changes.
  • Cat Chemistry
    This research lab is a worksheet filled out by students, and the purpose is to analyze food labels for inorganic compounds, to gain practice writing and recognizing inorganic formulas, and converting between chemical formulas and chemical names. A table of commons ions is attached, but this lab builds upon lectures of inorganic ions and other ions can be selected.
  • Classes of Matter - Part I
    Several types of household matter will be placed at different lab stations and students will be asked to identify if it is a solution, mixture, compound or element, and what type, if applicable.
  • Classes of Matter - Part II
    This inquiry based lab builds upon the ability to classify matter and asks the student to explain the experiments used to determine the chemical and physical properties of the sample, and determine if their data matches their classification. This lab can be remediated or extended by including more identifications of less obvious classification.
  • Comparing Heat Absorption in Different Soil Types
    Students will explore the following hypotheses: 1) Sand will absorb heat at a different rate than potting soil, and 2) A dark surface will absorb heat at a different rate than a light surface.
  • Cool as Ice!
    In this demonstration, students will explore the principles of operation of a microwave oven in relation to molecular motion.
  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • What is the Effect of Light on Ice?
    This lesson focuses on applying the scientific method. Can be used as Lesson 3 of 3 in conjunction with The Scientific Method: How do scientists solve problems? and Steps to Creating a Science Research Project.
  • Ethnobotany: What's The Dirt Say About the Past?
    Ethnobotany is the study of the role of plants in a society. Since agriculture is the basis of ancient societies, more so than today, soil samples tell an ethnobotanist what plants were important to daily life.
  • I Second That Emulsion
    Students explore mixtures and emulsions by making mayonnaise.
  • I'm Eating What?!?
    Students will be introduced to one another, as well as to the field of food science, as they match raw ingredients with finished food products.
  • In The Mix! A Separation Lab
    In this inquiry exercise, students will devise a procedure to separate and quantify the components of a mixture containing sand, salt, and iron filings.
  • Which Substance is "Inclined" to Experience More Friction? Experiment 1 of 2
    This two- part lab incorporates food into a class demonstration and student worksheet of friction of a surface and friction of a substance, and the ways to minimize the effects of friction. Students time Experiment 1 and based on those results they form and test a hypothesis for Experiment 2. This lab best targets remedial classes that have trouble visualizing the effects of friction.
  • Which Surface is "Inclined" to Experience More Friction? Experiment 2 of 2
    This two- part lab incorporates food into a class demonstration and student worksheet of friction of a surface and friction of a substance, and the ways to minimize the effects of friction. Students time Experiment 1 and based on those results they form and test a hypothesis for Experiment 2. This lab best targets remedial classes that have trouble visualizing the effects of friction.
  • Mechanical Advantage of Ramps
    In this group lab students will be studying how inclines, friction, and the force applied to a block affect the ideal and mechanical advantage. Applications can be made in a physical science or a physics classroom, and the level of difficulty can be easily changed by changing the factors of the equation.
  • What's in the Bag? An Observation Lab
    How good are your skills of observation and communication? In this lab, the class will be divided into groups and the group members will reach into a paper bag and feel one of several unknown objects, describing the object to the other group members. At the end, group members will compare their descriptions and guesses of the objects. This can also be modified to be a short filler activity.
  • Periodic Table of Fun
    This group project is meant to reinforce the concept of that the periodic table is a method of organizing the elements. Students will select a category of their choice (animals, food, etc.) and come up with a periodic table of these 'elements' organized in a way of their choosing. Points are according to attached rubric.
  • Physical Properties of Wood
    This is a hands-on lesson in which students investigate the relationship between physical properties of wood and its suitability for construction purposes. Students will investigate the density, stiffness, and elasticity of several species of wood.
  • Playground Physics
    This lesson makes use of playground equipment including swings, a merry-go-round, slide, and seesaw to understand some basic principles of physics such Newton's Law of Motion (especially 1st and 2nd), center of gravity, momentum, rotational inertia, torque, and the coefficient of sliding friction. The lesson is to be conducted outside on a playground and requires a Vernier force probe for one of the four activities.
  • Power of Peanuts
    This lesson plan is for a laboratory activity demonstrating the amount of energy found in a peanut. Peanuts contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Oxidation of the molecular bonds found in these compounds leads to the release of energy.
  • Scientific Method: How Do Scientists Solve Problems?
    The following lesson will allow students to name and explain the steps of the scientific method and use the scientific method to solve a problem. Can be used as Lesson 2 of 3 in conjunction with What is the Effect of Light on Ice? and Steps to Creating a Science Research Project.
  • Splat!
    In this lab, students will perform the viscosity splat test to measure the relative viscosities of several common food liquids. Using the splat diameter measured during the tests, students will construct a standard curve and use the curve to estimate the viscosity of glycerin.
  • Tyndall Effect in Jello
    This lesson demonstrates the Tyndall Effect by shining a laser pointer through JELL-O® of varying colors. Using different colors of JELL-O® changes the diffraction rate and thus changes the way the Tyndall Effect is observed. Mirrors and lenses can also be used to include the study of reflection and refraction.
  • Viscosity Funnel Lab
    In this lesson, students will investigate the concept of viscosity as it relates to some common food products. Students will gain an understanding of properties that affect viscosity and the importance of viscosity in food related industries.
  • What's Happening to My Food? (zip)
    Students will observe and classify physical and chemical changes commonly occurring in foods.
  • Average Speed of a Constant Velocity Vehicle
    The purpose of this lab is to calculate the speed of a constant velocity vehicle (CVV), to develop skills in precision and accuracy, data collection and calculations related to average speed. A constant velocity vehicle is a car that mechanically maintains the same speed, and can be ordered from a science supplies catalog.
  • Steps to Creating a Science Research Project
    What are the steps necessary to conduct a science research project? This lesson can be used as Lesson 1 of 3 in conjunction with The Scientific Method: How do scientists solve problems? and What is the Effect of Light on Ice?

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Radioactivity

  • Calculating the Half-Life of Twizzlers and M&Mium
    This lesson plan includes two labs designed to teach the concept of half-life. The Twizzler lab is designed to introduce the topic and is best if used before the M&Mium lab.
  • Food Irradiation...Friend or Foe? (zip)
    In this presentation, students will learn about the application of nuclear radiation to food sterilization. Students will learn why food is irradiated, the types of food irradiated, the types of irradiation used, and the effects of irradiation on foods.

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Solutions, Acids, and Bases

  • Antacid and Uncle Heartburn
    In this guided inquiry exercise, students will use their knowledge of acids and bases to devise a procedure to determine which of three antacids is most effective.
  • Basic Decomposition
    Witnessing an acid/base reaction and the decomposition of a solid base in an acidic liquid as well as the evolution of a gas.
  • What's So Special About Bottled Drinking Water? Testing Water for Hardness
    This laboratory teaches students about water hardness, polar and non-polar molecules, and anions and cations.
  • Classes of Matter - Part I
    Several types of household matter will be placed at different lab stations and students will be asked to identify if it is a solution, mixture, compound or element, and what type, if applicable.
  • Classes of Matter - Part II
    This inquiry based lab builds upon the ability to classify matter and asks the student to explain the experiments used to determine the chemical and physical properties of the sample, and determine if their data matches their classification. This lab can be remediated or extended by including more identifications of less obvious classification.
  • Electrifying Beverages
    In this demonstration, the average conductance of several common beverages will be determined. Students will relate the conductance of the beverages to ion concentrations inferred from beverage nutritional labels.
  • Introduction to Toxicology
    This lesson plan serves as an introduction to toxicology for the high school classroom. This lesson plan is useful in chemistry, physical sciences, and biology as you begin to talk about all things chemical and the importance of chemical reactions in our everyday lives, as well as the effects of chemicals on all living organisms.
  • Pink Lemons Lab
    Discussing neutralization of acids and bases.
  • Tyndall Effect in Jello
    This lesson demonstrates the Tyndall Effect by shining a laser pointer through JELL-O® of varying colors. Using different colors of JELL-O® changes the diffraction rate and thus changes the way the Tyndall Effect is observed. Mirrors and lenses can also be used to include the study of reflection and refraction.

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Waves

  • Cooking at the Speed of Light
    In this activity, students measure the speed of light using a microwave oven and the wave speed equation.
  • Cool as Ice!
    In this demonstration, students will explore the principles of operation of a microwave oven in relation to molecular motion.
  • Measuring the Speed of Light with Chocolate
    This lesson can be used as a lab or demonstration to teach students about the speed of light and it relationship to frequency and wavelength. It discusses the equation c = f f=λ.
  • Temperature Management and Its Importance
    This lesson will describe how temperature is influenced in a controlled environment and how changes in temperature influence plant and animal production.

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