Flinn’s Exploring Chemistry™—Introduction to Chemistry—Matter and Measurement Package


The study of chemistry begins in the lab! Exploring Chemistry™ is the perfect tool to introduce and have students become excited about learning chemistry. Build a solid foundation for student achievement with five activities—three experiments, one demonstration and a POGIL™ activity. Activities revolve around the themes of observation, measurement and classification, describing how scientists do science and, more importantly, how students learn chemistry.


  • Scientific method
  • Mass and volume
  • Physical and chemical properties
  • Observation
  • Elements
  • Polymers
  • Experiment


What’s in this Introduction to Chemistry Package?

Your package includes chemicals and specialty equipment to perform the lab and learning activities listed. Quantities of chemicals are sufficient for three classes of 30 students working in pairs! Instructions for all activities may be found in Introduction to Chemistry, Volume 1, and Elements, Compounds and Mixtures, Volume 2 in the Flinn ChemTopic™ Labs series. Both books are included in the package. Student handouts for each activity may be reproduced for classroom use. Comprehensive instructions and teacher notes, with real sample data and answers to all questions, are also provided for each activity. All of the lab activities were created under the direction of the Flinn Scientific Curriculum Advisory Board of master teachers and then tested and retested to optimize safety and success. These activities truly are the best of the best!

The following activities may be performed in any order. One possible lesson plan is described.

  • Observation and Experiment—Introduction to the Scientific Method (Experiment)
  • Organizing Data (POGIL™ Activity)
  • Discovering Density—Looking for Patterns and Trends (Experiment)
  • Polyurethane Foam—Physical and Chemical Changes (Demonstration)
  • Properties of Elements—Metals, Nonmetals and Metalloids (Experiment)

Experiment Overview

Observation and Experiment
The scientific method is not a rigid path—it is a process, a process of discovery. Begin the process with this guided-inquiry experiment that students hold in their hands to see and feel what chemistry is all about. The experiment may be performed as a collaborative classroom exercise, with different student groups investigating the variables that will affect the outcome of a chemical reaction. Sharing the results helps will help students build presentation and science communication skills.

Organizing Data
The scientific method involves more than collecting data. Critical thinking commences when students organize raw data in ways that make the relationships clear. This POGIL activity is also the perfect introduction to the benefits of cooperative learning!

Discovering Density
Learn to measure mass and volume, graph data and identify the relationship between the variables. Why teach the concept of density if students can discover it?

Polyurethane Foam
Captivate students with the most popular demonstration ever! Classifying matter often hinges on a key question—how is the composition of a substance affected by a physical or chemical change? Observe physical and chemical changes leading to one amazing product.

Properties of Elements
What properties distinguish metals from nonmetals? What properties of metalloids make them similar to both metals and nonmetals? Identify patterns and trends with this microscale experiment. Students investigate the physical and chemical properties of eight elements, sort the elements into groups and classify them as metals, nonmetals or metalloids.


Observation and Experiment
Calcium chloride, 750 g
Phenol red, 0.02% aqueous solution, 1 L
Sodium bicarbonate, 700 g

Discovering Density
Brass shot, 500 g
Zinc shot, 500 g

Polyurethane Foam
Polyurethane foam, Part A, 140 mL
Polyurethane foam, Part B, 140 mL

Properties of Elements
Aluminum shot, 90 g
Carbon, charcoal, 90 g
Copper(II) chloride solution, 0.1 M, 500 mL
Hydrochloric acid solution, 1 M, 500 mL
Magnesium ribbon, 1.8 m
Silicon, 60 g
Sulfur, 50 g
Tin shot, 100 g
Zinc strips, 6
Iron nails, 90

Teacher Tips

  • Observation and Experiment is a guided-inquiry lab with nine different possible combinations of variables (chemicals) for students to investigate. Enough chemicals are provided for each student groups to perform at least five different trials.

Next Generation Science Standards and NGSS are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.