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Chemistry: Teachers

Chemistry Essentials for Educators

Background information is often helpful for teachers preparing an instructional unit. Refresh your chemistry skills with this review of basic chemistry and this summary of chemistry terms and concepts.


Crash Course: Chemistry is a series of ten-minute videos providing fast-paced, engaging content about chemistry concepts for older students and adults. Start with The Nucleus and The Fundamental Laws, and continue with other topics of interest. 6 Reactions That Changed History describes the life-altering discoveries of chemical reactions involving fire, food, and fertilizer.

Chem4Kids is a comprehensive website providing a good review of core concepts for teachers and a resource to share with students.

Chemistry Library from Khan Academy is a series of informative videos that will reawaken you to the wonder of chemical processes. Take a look at Introduction to Chemistry and Elements and Atoms.

Science4Fun: Chemistry provides an illustrated introduction to the elements, atoms and molecules, chemical bonding, organic chemistry, and chemical reactions.

You'll find a good overview of chemistry at Brittanica Students.

What's That Stuff? explores the chemistry of matter in the materials around us, from detergent pods and cat litter to marshmallows and pool chemicals.


In its Tales From The Periodic Table series, the Exploratorium museum features a collection of half-hour videos introducing the elements and how they combine to form compounds.

From the Australian Academy of Science, What Has Chemistry Ever Done For You? explains just how essential chemistry is to our modern life.

Live Science presents What is Chemistry? and The History of Chemistry, highlighting the contributions of famous chemists.

PBS LearningMedia

PBS LearningMedia resources are designed to be used by educators in the classroom and include teaching tips, discussion questions, background reading, and suggested classroom activities.

Ruff Ruffman's Kitchen Chemistry introduces younger students to the properties of matter. Fun videos are accompanied by a Teacher's Guide. Grades K-2.


What's The Matter? introduces young students to the concept that everything is made of matter and that matter usually exists in one of three phases. Grades K-2.

60 Second Science video shorts suggest simple chemistry experiments that will spark young chemists' imagination and curiosity. Take a look at Rainbow Gel, Moving Molecules, Easy Putty, Gas in a Bag, and Color Exploration. Grades K-3.

Substances and Chemical Reactions is a complete lesson plan that teaches students how we recognize chemical reactions through demonstrations and hands-on experiments. Grades 2-5.

Simple Chemistry and Matter, recorded at the Science Center of Iowa, presents several demonstrations that show atomic models, effects of temperature on atoms, and physical and chemical changes. Grades 2-5.

Sponge Candy: Chemistry takes students through the chemical processes and reactions that result in delicious sponge candy. Grades 3-6.

Acids and bases combine to form chemical reactions in these classroom experiments: Acids and Bases: Bottle Rockets, Acids and Bases: Testing Rocket Cars, and Acids and Bases: Making a Film Canister Rocket. Grades 3-6.

This series of short, simple animations from UNC-TV includes Atoms and Elements, Categorizing Matter, Phases of Matter, Phase Changes, Properties of Matter, and Measuring Matter. Grades 4-6.

From the Smithsonian Resources for Teaching and Learning, Good Thinking: Chemical Reactions is a professional development video for upper-elementary teachers that explores common student misconceptions about atoms, molecules and reactions and discusses teaching methods to bring these concepts to life.

Compound vs Mixture is a lesson plan designed to teach students that while chemical change is needed to break apart bonds in a compound, mixtures can be separated by physical procedures. Grades 5-7.

Understanding Matter is a collection of interactive lessons and complete lesson plans on the structure, classifications and physical properties of matter. Grades 6-8.


In this Building Blocks of Matter lesson plan, students explore atoms, molecules, chemical bonds, and the methods by which scientists study particles too small to see. Grades 6-8.

Atomic Structure is an interactive activity explaining protons, neutrons and electrons. Grades 6-8.

In Cheesy Chemistry, students make their own cheese as they discover the chemical reaction that occurs to separate milk into curds and whey. Grades 6-8.

Chemistry Matters: Introduction to Matter explores physical and chemical properties of matter, mixtures, solutions and alloys. Grades 6-8.

NOVA: Beyond the Elements includes video clips and a Reactions Interactive that allows students to explore the chemical reactions that produce fire, cement, fertilizer and more. An Educator's Guide provides teaching tips and classroom activities.

Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities

The American Chemistry Society has a wealth of resources for K-8 educators:

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The American Association of Chemistry Teachers offers complete lesson plans, activities, games and labs for elementary and middle school educators. Start with Chemistry Basics and filter by grade level and subject.

Science Kids offers lesson plans, videos and experiments to help you teach the basics of chemistry.

Science Buddies provides chemistry lesson plans and engaging activities and science projects for elementary and middle school educators.

The Science Spot features chemistry lesson plans, worksheets, and powerpoint presentations as well as links to resources for teachers of grades 5-8.

A middle school science teacher shares chemistry resources for grades 5-8, including lesson plans, worksheets, and useful links.

Take a look at these beginning chemistry experiments and hands-on activities for elementary classrooms, designed to make chemistry fun.

Teacher Tools from Jefferson Lab include hands-on activities, worksheets, tutorials and online puzzles for individual student practice. Check out the math/chemistry connections in the customizable Element Balancing Game and Element Math Game. The Student Zone is designed for independent use.

The Royal Society of Chemistry offers teaching resources for grades 2-3, grades 4-6, and middle school with an emphasis on chemistry in everyday life.

Teacher Student

At BBC Bitesize, find guides to teaching about matter, atoms, elements and compounds, chemical reactions and the periodic table.

NOVA Teachers: Chemistry has lesson plans where middle school students investigate physical and chemical changes, determine the percentage of oxygen in the air, and participate in additional classroom activities.

Visit the Exploratorium and take a look at its experiments and interactives for basic chemistry.

More Resources for Teachers

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Interactive periodic tables that give information about each element and compound can be very helpful. Find such student-friendly tables at PBS LearningMedia and Jefferson Lab. The Idaho National Laboratory's interactive table gives more information for older students. A simpler version with pictures incorporates a visual dimension that teachers may find helpful when introducing the periodic table.

Scholastic's Study Jams are a series of short, entertaining videos teaching concepts such as atomic structure, acids and bases, mixtures and compound and much more.

You'll find lots of resources to use at The Science Spot, with its terrific collection of links, quizzes, and interactive sites for students about all aspects of chemistry.

DK Find Out is a good place to refer elementary students who are interested in chemistry. Colorful interactive pages include matter, elements, compounds, atoms, molecules, atomic particles and chemical reactions.

SmartClass4Kids is a good site for kids with several illustrated chemistry topics. Comparison charts and diagrams make concepts easy to understand. Take a look at Physical Properties of Matter, Chemical and Physical Changes, and Classifying Matter: Elements and Compounds.

Additional kid-friendly chemistry sites are Science Kids: Chemistry, Ducksters: Chemistry, and E-Learning for Kids. Brittanica Kids: Chemistry has leveled selections for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8.

Simple videos for kids include Chemistry & Chemists (SciShow Kids), Chemical Reactions (SciShow Kids), What's Matter? (Crash Course Kids), and Chemical Changes (Crash Course Kids), and What Is Chemistry? (Science Classroom).

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Kids Discover offers online activities to help kids learn chemistry vocabulary, such as fill-in sentences, matching exercise, and a crossword puzzle (scroll to the bottom of page).

Your students may be interested in Interactive Simulations from the University of Colorado, including Build a Molecule and Build An Atom. These absorbing interactives will keep 5th -8th grade students' attention.

Visit this teachers' site dedicated to chemical formulas, full of interactive worksheets, tutorials and online activities to help students in grades 6 and up learn about naming compounds, writing formulas and understanding chemical bonds.

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