Are you frustrated with finding different ways to get your students to understand how matter changes? Identifying differences between chemical and physical changes can be frustrating for both 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 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 are no longer receiving something 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
- 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
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.
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