Are you frustrated with finding ways to get your students to understand how matter changes? Identifying differences between chemical and physical changes can frustrate the teacher and the student. When I first began teaching, this was a unit I dreaded. I felt intimidated about accurately teaching this concept to my students and didn’t feel confident in myself.
Flash forward over ELEVEN YEARS, and I can now say this is one of my favorite teaching units. While teaching is still challenging, you’ll feel like a rockstar when students have grasped this difficult concept. Have that same rockstar feeling by learning tips and strategies to teach your students a physical and chemical changes unit.
What is a change in matter?
It is essential to know the difference between the two ways that matter can change.
When teaching about color changes to identify a chemical change, you need to differentiate between adding colors such as food coloring or color being produced, like when leaves change color in the fall. Leaves no longer receive what they need, which is why they change color. Mold is another example of a chemical change. Part of the bread changes color because of something new on the bread, the mold. This is important to allow students to understand.
Referencing physical and chemical changes
Aside from anchor charts displayed around my classroom, we also read science texts and go over numerous examples to identify the differences between the two changes. Again, repetition and review are necessary to help students remember and apply their learning.
- Naked Eggs
- Elephant’s Toothpaste
- Race of the Ice Cubes
- Air balloons – baking soda and vinegar using a balloon (as seen in the picture below)
- Rates of rotting apples
- Digestion in a bag
- Tarnished coins
- Pumpkin Science
I hope these tips help you in your classroom. This unit can be confusing at first glance, but I hope these strategies and ideas will help make it much clearer.
Still have questions? Let me know by leaving them in the comments below.
Looking for some materials to teach this unit, join my email list to help get you started!