Students love spectacular chemical reactions, but do they always know what they are seeing? Use these ten targeted demonstrations to help students become proficient in identifying the five different types of chemical reactions. Single Replacement
- Stunning silver crystals completely cover a wire surface and the solution turns blue when copper wire coil is suspended in silver nitrate solution.
- Aluminum dissolves, copper metal precipitates, and things really heat up when aluminum foil is added to copper(II) chloride.
- Mixing copper(II) chloride and sodium phosphate produces a beautiful turquoise precipitate.
- An “avalanche” of snow-white precipitate suddenly appears when sodium chloride and silver nitrate are combined.
- Mix Milk of Magnesia (MOM) with universal indicator, add hydrochloric acid solution, and watch a rainbow appear and disappear as the antacid neutralizes the simulated stomach acid.
- Adding water to solid calcium oxide gives calcium hydroxide, along with enough heat to fry an egg.
- Burning steel wool provides a glowing demonstration of the exothermic combination reaction of iron and oxygen.
- Fill a Petri dish with salt and universal indicator solution, attach alligator clips and a battery, and observe a rainbow of color changes as the water molecules split apart.
- Use a “wine airlock” to identify the gas and analyze the color changes produced when solid copper(II) carbonate is heated.
- Add a little isopropyl alcohol to a soda bottle, ignite the vapors and “whoosh”! The combustion of isopropyl alcohol and oxygen creates a rush of gases and a spectacular blue flame.
Perform the demonstrations together as an introduction or as a review of reaction types, or space them over several days to focus on specific types of chemical reactions. Teacher Demonstration Notes, along with a reproducible student worksheet, are included. Concepts:
Combination reaction, combustion, decomposition, electrolysis, exothermic reaction, oxidation–reduction, precipitation reaction, single and double replacement. Time Required:
One full class period Note:
Some common laboratory equipment is required, but not provided.
Materials Included in Kit:
Acetone, 50 mL
Aluminum foil, full roll, 12" x 25 feet
Bromthymol blue solution, 0.04%, 100 mL
Calcium oxide, lump, 700 g
Copper wire, 18-gauge, 15 feet
Copper(II) carbonate, 40 g
Copper(II) chloride solution, 0.05 M, 500 mL
Copper(II) chloride solution 1 M, 500 mL, 2
Hydrochloric acid solution, 3 M, 250 mL
Isopropyl alcohol, reagent, 50 mL
Milk of magnesia, 150 mL
Silver nitrate solution, 0.1 M, 250 mL, 2
Sodium chloride solution, 0.1 M, 500 mL
Sodium chloride solution, 0.1 M, 250 mL
Sodium chloride/universal indicator solution, 250 mL
Sodium phosphate, tribasic solution, 0.05 M, 500 mL
Universal indicator solution, 50 mL
Alkaline battery, 9 V
Battery clip with alligator clip leads
Culture (petri) dish, 90 x 15 mm, 7
Pencil leads, 0.7 mm, pkg/12
Pipet, Beral-type, thin stem, 15
Steel wool, fine, individual pad
Stopper, rubber, buchner funnel, size #6
Wood splints, pkg/100
Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)†
Science & Engineering Practices
Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Disciplinary Core Ideas
MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
HS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
Energy and matter
Stability and change
HS-PS1-2: Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
HS-PS1-4: Develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy.
MS-PS1-2: Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.