Today’s freebie is my collection of digital notebook documents for the 6th grade chemistry unit. See the earlier posts with more documents for scientific inquiry and ecology. To learn more about why I use digital notebooks and how to set them up, check out my digital notebook page here.
Although I call this a chemistry unit to my students, it’s really more of an introduction to matter. It’s not until 7th and 8th grade that our science curriculum delves into a close study of the periodic table and specific chemical reactions. The main learning goals for this unit include learning how to classify matter (substances and mixtures), measuring matter (volume, mass and density), and describing the states of matter and how they change. Some parts of this unit were adapted from the FOSS unit Mixtures and Solutions (which I love from my days teaching elementary), and the culminating CSI project was conceived entirely by my creative predecessor Krista Bouhaidar.
- Chemistry Study Guide (gives an overview of the standards of the unit and many learning resources for students)
- What is matter? (definition of matter, is air matter?)
- What is matter made of? (atoms, elements, compounds)
- Classifying matter and map (substances vs. mixtures, separating mixtures)
- Dissolving salt experiment and data table (review)
- How is matter measured? (volume, mass, density)
- Measuring density (Archimedes’ Principle, PhET density simulator)
- How can matter change? (chemical vs. physical changes)
- What are the states of matter? (solid, liquid, gas, and ooblek!)
- How does matter change state? (with a sublimation investigation)
- Chemistry of soda homework (atoms, elements, compounds)
- Dissolving salt homework (substances vs. mixtures)
- Density simulator homework (adapted from PhET)
- Changes in matter homework (chemical vs. physical changes)
- States of matter game homework (solid, liquid, gas)
Assessments: (with the exception of tests for obvious reasons!)
In addition to a paper and pencil test, there are two performance assessments and a presentation assessment in this unit. The performance assessments are lab-based: the Saturation Puzzle challenges students to apply their understanding of dissolving and mixtures to identify a mystery powder (adapted from a similar FOSS activity), and the Density Column Challenge involves applying their understanding of density to create a successful density column (inspired by this from Steve Spangler). For the presentation assessment students create and explain a model that represents the 3 states of matter and how they change.
- Saturation puzzle experiment test (substances vs. mixtures)
- Saturation puzzle data table
- Density column challenge (mass, volume, density)
- Density column contest (extension project)
- Density column poster
- States of matter project description (and student notes)
- States of matter project student checklist
- States of matter project rubric
CSI Project: (a real-life application of chemistry)
To conclude our chemistry unit, we did a mini-unit on forensic science to teach students how chemistry is applied in real life by forensic scientists to help solve crimes. After introducing the imaginary crime, students would spend one class at each of the five different labs investigating five different pieces of evidence: blood, clothing fibers, pen ink, broken glass, and unknown powder. Each of the labs build on same concepts covered in the chemistry unit, so it was a engaging way of applying learning in a new and exciting context. Again, big props to Krista Bouhaidar for creating the original version of this!
- Official police report (to introduce the case)
- Suspect information (to introduce the suspects)
- Glass density lab
- Powder analysis lab
- Fiber analysis lab
- Ink chromatography lab
- Blood analysis lab
- CSI web adventures (a great extension activity for homework)
- CSI conclusion (assessment)
- CSI conclusion rubric
- CSI science court (on the last day we have a simulated court room)
Coming soon: Free digital notebook stuff for geology!
Copyright stuff: As with all work I post on my blog, you are free to use and adapt this work for non-commercial purposes (ie. in your classroom!) as long as you also share what you do too. This is part of my collaboration crusade, so if you do re-mix something I created, please consider sharing it here or on your own blog.