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Exploring Physical and Chemical Changes

physical and chemical changes header

Colourful chemicals in test tubes and flasks (iiievgeniy, iStockphoto)

physical and chemical changes header

Colourful chemicals in test tubes and flasks (iiievgeniy, iStockphoto)

Format
Subjects
Let's Talk Science

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Students observe and classify physical and chemical changes of matter.

Overview

Activities Timing Student grouping Description
Minds-On: Introduction to Physical and Chemical Changes 10-15 minutes Large group Students are introduced to the concept of physical and chemical changes in matter.
Action: Exploring Physical and Chemical Changes 30-45 minutes Small group Students observe demonstrations of physical and chemical changes and determine the characteristics of each.
Consolidation: Gallery Walk 15-20 minutes Small group or independent Students summarize their learning and share with their peers.

This lesson can be done over a few days.

Students will:

  • Explore the properties of different solids and liquids
  • Demonstrate an understanding of physical and chemical changes

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Explore the properties of different solids and liquids
  • Demonstrate an understanding of physical and chemical changes

Students can:

  • Predict and observe what happens when various solids and liquids are combined
  • Identify and describe the properties of a variety of solids and liquids
  • Describe and classify physical and chemical changes

Success Criteria

Students can:

  • Predict and observe what happens when various solids and liquids are combined
  • Identify and describe the properties of a variety of solids and liquids
  • Describe and classify physical and chemical changes
Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of the properties of solids and their use of appropriate vocabulary to describe the characteristics of solids and liquids (Minds-on, Action).
  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of physical and chemical changes (Action, Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Have conversations with students as they do the gallery walk (Consolidation).

Products

  • Students could complete and submit the Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible (Action).
  • Students could complete and submit the informational poster using the Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric as a guide (Consolidation).

Evidence of Student Learning

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of the properties of solids and their use of appropriate vocabulary to describe the characteristics of solids and liquids (Minds-on, Action).
  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of physical and chemical changes (Action, Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Have conversations with students as they do the gallery walk (Consolidation).

Products

  • Students could complete and submit the Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible (Action).
  • Students could complete and submit the informational poster using the Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric as a guide (Consolidation).

Students will:

  • Explore the properties of different solids and liquids
  • Demonstrate an understanding of physical and chemical changes

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Explore the properties of different solids and liquids
  • Demonstrate an understanding of physical and chemical changes

Students can:

  • Predict and observe what happens when various solids and liquids are combined
  • Identify and describe the properties of a variety of solids and liquids
  • Describe and classify physical and chemical changes

Success Criteria

Students can:

  • Predict and observe what happens when various solids and liquids are combined
  • Identify and describe the properties of a variety of solids and liquids
  • Describe and classify physical and chemical changes
Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of the properties of solids and their use of appropriate vocabulary to describe the characteristics of solids and liquids (Minds-on, Action).
  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of physical and chemical changes (Action, Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Have conversations with students as they do the gallery walk (Consolidation).

Products

  • Students could complete and submit the Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible (Action).
  • Students could complete and submit the informational poster using the Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric as a guide (Consolidation).

Evidence of Student Learning

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Observations

  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of the properties of solids and their use of appropriate vocabulary to describe the characteristics of solids and liquids (Minds-on, Action).
  • Observe and record anecdotally students’ understanding of physical and chemical changes (Action, Consolidation).

Conversations

  • Have conversations with students as they do the gallery walk (Consolidation).

Products

  • Students could complete and submit the Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible (Action).
  • Students could complete and submit the informational poster using the Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric as a guide (Consolidation).

 

Materials and Preparation 

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • Note taking materials (e.g., pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Change Experiments Predict and Observe Chart [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF(optional - see lesson)
One per student or enough for small groups
  • Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF]
  • Materials for demonstrations*

*This will depend on the demonstrations chosen. See the Action section for suggestions.

For teacher use

 

Materials

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • Note taking materials (e.g., pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Change Experiments Predict and Observe Chart [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF(optional - see lesson)
One per student or enough for small groups
  • Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF]
  • Materials for demonstrations*

*This will depend on the demonstrations chosen. See the Action section for suggestions.

For teacher use

 

  • This will depend on the demonstrations chosen.
  • Crosscheck for student allergies (egg, dairy, fruit, etc.) before choosing a demonstration.

Preparation

  • This will depend on the demonstrations chosen.
  • Crosscheck for student allergies (egg, dairy, fruit, etc.) before choosing a demonstration.
  • Some basic familiarity with the properties of solids, liquids and gases
  • Some experience with predicting in an inquiry setting

Student Prior Knowledge and Skills

  • Some basic familiarity with the properties of solids, liquids and gases
  • Some experience with predicting in an inquiry setting
Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • Note taking materials (e.g., pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Change Experiments Predict and Observe Chart [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF(optional - see lesson)
One per student or enough for small groups
  • Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF]
  • Materials for demonstrations*

*This will depend on the demonstrations chosen. See the Action section for suggestions.

For teacher use

 

Materials

Material/Technology/Setting Quantity
  • Note taking materials (e.g., pencils, markers, etc.)
  • Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF]
  • Physical and Chemical Change Experiments Predict and Observe Chart [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF(optional - see lesson)
One per student or enough for small groups
  • Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF]
  • Materials for demonstrations*

*This will depend on the demonstrations chosen. See the Action section for suggestions.

For teacher use

 

  • This will depend on the demonstrations chosen.
  • Crosscheck for student allergies (egg, dairy, fruit, etc.) before choosing a demonstration.

Preparation

  • This will depend on the demonstrations chosen.
  • Crosscheck for student allergies (egg, dairy, fruit, etc.) before choosing a demonstration.
  • Some basic familiarity with the properties of solids, liquids and gases
  • Some experience with predicting in an inquiry setting

Student Prior Knowledge and Skills

  • Some basic familiarity with the properties of solids, liquids and gases
  • Some experience with predicting in an inquiry setting

 

Teaching and Learning Activities 

Assessment opporunties icon

This icon indicates potential assessment opportunities.

Minds-On: Introduction to Physical and Chemical Changes 10-15 mins.

Instructions Teaching Tips

Show students the Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow [Google slides] [pptx] [PDF].

Note: the title of each slide is a prompting question. Allow students a chance to answer the question before showing them the body text outlining the explanation.

""
Exploring Physical and Chemical Changes slideshow (©2022 Let’s Talk Science).
Line drawing of speech bubbles

Discussions

Discussion prompts can include:

  • “What are some examples of physical changes that you can think of?”
  • “What are some examples of chemical changes that you can think of?”
Line drawing of a computer monitor with a play button

Images and Videos

Pause the slideshow to describe the images using the alt text for students who are blind or have low vision.

 

Action: Exploring Physical and Chemical Changes (30-45 min.)

Instructions Teaching Tips

Model some physical and chemical changes to students.

You could choose one demonstration from each of the two categories listed below. These demonstrations are quick and can be conducted within a class period.

Note: Crosscheck for student allergies (egg, dairy, fruit, etc.) before choosing a demonstration.

Physical Changes

  • Melt an ice cube
  • Dissolve sugar or salt in water
  • Cut a piece of paper or a different material into smaller pieces

Chemical Changes

Alternatively or in addition to, you could choose a physical and a chemical change experiment that requires more than one class period to complete with students.

Physical Changes

Chemical Changes

To help students keep track of the experiment over the course of the week, use the Physical and Chemical Change Experiments Predict and Observe Chart [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF] reproducible to monitor the changes day by day.

Line drawing of a chalkboard with "abc" written on it

Language

Consider creating a word wall of terminology that students will encounter over the course of this lesson such as chemical reaction, physical reaction, precipitate, property, matter, etc.

Line drawing of an exclamation mark inside of a triangle

Safety

When conducting experiments that involve burning (e.g., carbon snake) or dangerous materials (e.g., steel wool) ensure that you (or students) wear safety goggles as well as gloves.

Warning! If using chemical hand-warmers as an example, students should not put the warmers in direct contact with their skin as they can be very hot. Also, ensure students do not cut open the warmers.

Have students complete the Physical or Chemical Change? quiz from Wordwall.

Alternatively, you could have students complete the worksheet version of the quiz Physical or Chemical Change? reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF] individually or in pairs.

""
Physical or chemical change? reproducible (©2022 Let’s Talk Science).
Assessment opporunties icon

The reproducible could be collected and used as an assessment of learning.

Line drawings of a large gear and a small gear

Community Connections

If students are not familiar with the examples in the reproducible, you can substitute with examples of your own.

Computational Thinking

When students decide whether a change is physical or chemical, they are using the computational thinking skill of logical thinking.

 

 

Consolidation: Gallery Walk 15-20 min.

Instructions Teaching Tips

Individually or in small groups of 2-4 students, have them create informational posters or infographics about physical and chemical changes.

Students could do this using poster paper with markers or a digital program such as Canva, Visme, or Piktochart.

Assessment opporunties icon

Students could use the Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric reproducible [Google doc] [Word doc] [PDF] to guide the creation of the poster.

""
Physical and Chemical Changes Poster Checkbric (©2022 Let’s Talk Science).
""
This sample was created using Visme (©2022 Let’s Talk Science).

Hang the completed posters around the classroom and have students do a Gallery Walk to look at the work of their peers.

Assessment opporunties icon

During the gallery walk, have conversations with students regarding what they have learned about physical and chemical changes.

line drawing of a lightbulb

Idea

You may wish to first do a mini-lesson on creating an infographic using the Infographic Creator Learning Strategy.

tech tips icon

Technology

Using a digital infographic program gives students the opportunity to develop digital literacy skills as well as show off their creativity.

 

Background Information for Teachers

Physical and Chemical Changes Around Us

Every day, matter undergoes changes. These changes can be classified as either physical changes or chemical changes.

Physical changes can almost always be reversed. For example, when liquid water freezes and forms ice, you still have water. It is just in a different state.

Ice waterfall into pool in cave
Solid ice on the far cave wall and liquid water in the pool in front of it (Source: pxhere.com)
Image - Text Version

Shown is a colour photograph of frozen and liquid water in a cave.

Bright green, liquid water fills the floor of the cave, in the foreground. The edge of the pool is white, as if it might be starting to freeze. Behind, the back wall is streaked with long white icicles. It looks as if this water has been falling from above, where sunlight shines into the cave.

 

A chemical change, or chemical reaction, is a process by which one or more substances are changed into others through chemical means. This may involve a substance joining together with another substance. It may also involve a substance breaking apart into different substances. A chemical change is a change in which at least one new substance forms.

Fireworks
Fireworks at night (Source: nguyentuanhung via Pixaby.)
Image - Text Version

Shown is a colour photograph of fireworks exploding in dark sky.

Seven fireworks, in different colours, explode in round bursts across the top of the image. Smaller, bright yellow bursts float at the edges of some shapes. Below, five tall, narrow explosions burst up from ground level. They resemble bouquets of sparkling purple flowers. The one in the centre is made of bright green streaks. The light from the fireworks is reflected in calm black water along the bottom edge of the image.

 

Additional Resources

Reproducibles

Media

Reproducibles and Media

Reproducibles

Media

Science

  • It is highly recommended that students follow up this lesson with the Mystery Powders lesson.
  • Students could try mixing different types of liquids to look for evidence of physical or chemical changes.
  • Students may wish to explore how changes in solids and liquids impact them, their families, the community and the environment. For example, they could consider weather-related situations such as when rain turns to sleet or freezing rain.
  • Students may wish to explore the meaning of these international symbols that give us information on the safety of substances. You could bring in empty containers bearing these symbols and discuss with students what they think the symbols might mean and why they are placed on these products. Assure students that the symbols help us know how to safely use and dispose of the products so there is no harm to us or to the environment.

Literacy

  • Students could create a poem or rap in which they define and give examples of physical and chemical changes.

Computational Thinking

  • Have students write conditional statements for identifying if a change is physical or chemical. Conditional statements give rules to direct the flow of what happens, such as if something is true, then something will happen or else something else will happen. For example, if bubbles form then it is a chemical reaction, or if it melts then it is a chemical change.
  • Students could use Scratch to practice coding skills by sorting images into physical and chemical changes. Refer to this guide to better understand how students could do this.
  • Students could also learn about the computational concept of inputs and outputs by identifying the inputs of a chemical reaction (e.g., baking soda and vinegar) with the outputs of the reaction (e.g., gas bubbles).

Career Education

  • Have students consider people who experience and use physical and chemical changes in their jobs, for example:
    Physical Changes Chemical Changes
    Skating Rink technician
    (melting and freezing ice)
    Bakers
    (colour change, odour, bubbles)
    Miners
    (break rock into smaller pieces)
    Fire fighters
    (change in temperature, gas production)
    Chefs
     (cut things into smaller pieces, dissolve solids in liquids)
    Welders
    (change in temperature, light produced)

     

Extensions

Science

  • It is highly recommended that students follow up this lesson with the Mystery Powders lesson.
  • Students could try mixing different types of liquids to look for evidence of physical or chemical changes.
  • Students may wish to explore how changes in solids and liquids impact them, their families, the community and the environment. For example, they could consider weather-related situations such as when rain turns to sleet or freezing rain.
  • Students may wish to explore the meaning of these international symbols that give us information on the safety of substances. You could bring in empty containers bearing these symbols and discuss with students what they think the symbols might mean and why they are placed on these products. Assure students that the symbols help us know how to safely use and dispose of the products so there is no harm to us or to the environment.

Literacy

  • Students could create a poem or rap in which they define and give examples of physical and chemical changes.

Computational Thinking

  • Have students write conditional statements for identifying if a change is physical or chemical. Conditional statements give rules to direct the flow of what happens, such as if something is true, then something will happen or else something else will happen. For example, if bubbles form then it is a chemical reaction, or if it melts then it is a chemical change.
  • Students could use Scratch to practice coding skills by sorting images into physical and chemical changes. Refer to this guide to better understand how students could do this.
  • Students could also learn about the computational concept of inputs and outputs by identifying the inputs of a chemical reaction (e.g., baking soda and vinegar) with the outputs of the reaction (e.g., gas bubbles).

Career Education

  • Have students consider people who experience and use physical and chemical changes in their jobs, for example:
    Physical Changes Chemical Changes
    Skating Rink technician
    (melting and freezing ice)
    Bakers
    (colour change, odour, bubbles)
    Miners
    (break rock into smaller pieces)
    Fire fighters
    (change in temperature, gas production)
    Chefs
     (cut things into smaller pieces, dissolve solids in liquids)
    Welders
    (change in temperature, light produced)

     

The chemistry of cookies - Stephanie Warren (2013)
This video (4:29 min.) from TedEd explains the science behind baking cookies.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Chemical Reaction (more balloons)| Mister C (2020)
This video (18:46 min.) from learningscienceisfun shows how to fill balloons using baking soda and vinegar.

Ice Melting Time Lapse (2010)
This video (0:44 min.) from Ben Hall shows as ice undergoes a change of state in slow motion.

Mirror Lake Freezing (2019)
This video (2:20 min.) from Ausable River Association shows as Mirror Lake slowly goes through different stages of freezing.

Chemical Reactions (2019)
Join Phil as he explores chemical reactionIn this video from Science Max (11:54 min.).

Learn More

The chemistry of cookies - Stephanie Warren (2013)
This video (4:29 min.) from TedEd explains the science behind baking cookies.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Chemical Reaction (more balloons)| Mister C (2020)
This video (18:46 min.) from learningscienceisfun shows how to fill balloons using baking soda and vinegar.

Ice Melting Time Lapse (2010)
This video (0:44 min.) from Ben Hall shows as ice undergoes a change of state in slow motion.

Mirror Lake Freezing (2019)
This video (2:20 min.) from Ausable River Association shows as Mirror Lake slowly goes through different stages of freezing.

Chemical Reactions (2019)
Join Phil as he explores chemical reactionIn this video from Science Max (11:54 min.).

Reproducibles

Media

Reproducibles and Media

Reproducibles

Media

Science

  • It is highly recommended that students follow up this lesson with the Mystery Powders lesson.
  • Students could try mixing different types of liquids to look for evidence of physical or chemical changes.
  • Students may wish to explore how changes in solids and liquids impact them, their families, the community and the environment. For example, they could consider weather-related situations such as when rain turns to sleet or freezing rain.
  • Students may wish to explore the meaning of these international symbols that give us information on the safety of substances. You could bring in empty containers bearing these symbols and discuss with students what they think the symbols might mean and why they are placed on these products. Assure students that the symbols help us know how to safely use and dispose of the products so there is no harm to us or to the environment.

Literacy

  • Students could create a poem or rap in which they define and give examples of physical and chemical changes.

Computational Thinking

  • Have students write conditional statements for identifying if a change is physical or chemical. Conditional statements give rules to direct the flow of what happens, such as if something is true, then something will happen or else something else will happen. For example, if bubbles form then it is a chemical reaction, or if it melts then it is a chemical change.
  • Students could use Scratch to practice coding skills by sorting images into physical and chemical changes. Refer to this guide to better understand how students could do this.
  • Students could also learn about the computational concept of inputs and outputs by identifying the inputs of a chemical reaction (e.g., baking soda and vinegar) with the outputs of the reaction (e.g., gas bubbles).

Career Education

  • Have students consider people who experience and use physical and chemical changes in their jobs, for example:
    Physical Changes Chemical Changes
    Skating Rink technician
    (melting and freezing ice)
    Bakers
    (colour change, odour, bubbles)
    Miners
    (break rock into smaller pieces)
    Fire fighters
    (change in temperature, gas production)
    Chefs
     (cut things into smaller pieces, dissolve solids in liquids)
    Welders
    (change in temperature, light produced)

     

Extensions

Science

  • It is highly recommended that students follow up this lesson with the Mystery Powders lesson.
  • Students could try mixing different types of liquids to look for evidence of physical or chemical changes.
  • Students may wish to explore how changes in solids and liquids impact them, their families, the community and the environment. For example, they could consider weather-related situations such as when rain turns to sleet or freezing rain.
  • Students may wish to explore the meaning of these international symbols that give us information on the safety of substances. You could bring in empty containers bearing these symbols and discuss with students what they think the symbols might mean and why they are placed on these products. Assure students that the symbols help us know how to safely use and dispose of the products so there is no harm to us or to the environment.

Literacy

  • Students could create a poem or rap in which they define and give examples of physical and chemical changes.

Computational Thinking

  • Have students write conditional statements for identifying if a change is physical or chemical. Conditional statements give rules to direct the flow of what happens, such as if something is true, then something will happen or else something else will happen. For example, if bubbles form then it is a chemical reaction, or if it melts then it is a chemical change.
  • Students could use Scratch to practice coding skills by sorting images into physical and chemical changes. Refer to this guide to better understand how students could do this.
  • Students could also learn about the computational concept of inputs and outputs by identifying the inputs of a chemical reaction (e.g., baking soda and vinegar) with the outputs of the reaction (e.g., gas bubbles).

Career Education

  • Have students consider people who experience and use physical and chemical changes in their jobs, for example:
    Physical Changes Chemical Changes
    Skating Rink technician
    (melting and freezing ice)
    Bakers
    (colour change, odour, bubbles)
    Miners
    (break rock into smaller pieces)
    Fire fighters
    (change in temperature, gas production)
    Chefs
     (cut things into smaller pieces, dissolve solids in liquids)
    Welders
    (change in temperature, light produced)

     

The chemistry of cookies - Stephanie Warren (2013)
This video (4:29 min.) from TedEd explains the science behind baking cookies.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Chemical Reaction (more balloons)| Mister C (2020)
This video (18:46 min.) from learningscienceisfun shows how to fill balloons using baking soda and vinegar.

Ice Melting Time Lapse (2010)
This video (0:44 min.) from Ben Hall shows as ice undergoes a change of state in slow motion.

Mirror Lake Freezing (2019)
This video (2:20 min.) from Ausable River Association shows as Mirror Lake slowly goes through different stages of freezing.

Chemical Reactions (2019)
Join Phil as he explores chemical reactionIn this video from Science Max (11:54 min.).

Learn More

The chemistry of cookies - Stephanie Warren (2013)
This video (4:29 min.) from TedEd explains the science behind baking cookies.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Chemical Reaction (more balloons)| Mister C (2020)
This video (18:46 min.) from learningscienceisfun shows how to fill balloons using baking soda and vinegar.

Ice Melting Time Lapse (2010)
This video (0:44 min.) from Ben Hall shows as ice undergoes a change of state in slow motion.

Mirror Lake Freezing (2019)
This video (2:20 min.) from Ausable River Association shows as Mirror Lake slowly goes through different stages of freezing.

Chemical Reactions (2019)
Join Phil as he explores chemical reactionIn this video from Science Max (11:54 min.).