In these difficult times, all of us involved in education are trying our best to keep young people learning as best we can. Here at SSERC we are doing our best to help. In addition to the large amount of resources already on our website, we are adding some others that might help more specifically in these times of lockdown and isolation.
1. We are keen that, as far as possible, experimental work should continue. With that in mind, we are giving details of some simple chemistry experiments that can be carried out at home with a minimum of equipment.
2. We are adding to the collection of videos with ones that reflect more ‘mainstream’ chemical reactions so as to help illustrate their teaching.
Here is a list of some chemistry-based activities that can be carried out at home. As new experiments are added, they will be added at the bottom.
Warning – The experiments listed here are all of low hazard. That is not to say there is no risk at all. For instance making the phone spectrometer needs a sharp craft knife, dyeing cloth needs boiling (or at least very hot) dye baths. Before passing these on to pupils, teachers should check and risk-assess to make certain they are happy for them to be used.
This is a simple experiment that can be used either as a fun activityfor lower levels or as an investigation into hydrogen bonding and surface tension at higher levels.
Simple investigation using water as a solvent to look at the colours in marker pens and also in some sweets. Extended by an introduction to Rf values.
A simple activity to grow grystals from common household substances. More advanced students can try to work out how the properties of the compound contributes to the crystal shape.
Students can make models of molecules using simple household materials such as sweets or plasticine.
Using just an old DVD and some card, students can make a simple spectrometer attachment they can fix to their phone and use to examine the spectra of various light sources.
A simple experiment to synthesise and isolate magnesium carbonate from magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) and sodium carbonate (washing soda).
Some staightforward investigations into some of the properties of hydrogels
Using cranberry juice to make an indicator paper, similar to litmus, and using it to test various household substances.
A series of simple experiments that can be carried out using steel wool or (in some cases) nails)
A series of 8 investigations into aspects of food chemistry: emulsions, enzymic browning, chocolate structure and more.
After an initial suggestion to scroll down to find video clips, we have decided that this is a rather unwieldy approach. Accordingly, each video is now on its own page which is linked to from here – this means you have can see at a glance what videos are here. As new videos are added, they will appear at the bottom of the list.
They can also all be found on the SSERCChemistry YouTube channel
Alkali metals – A series of reactions of alkali metals: the effect of adding small amounts of Lithium, Sodium and Potassium to water, burning sodium in air, a NileRed video of sodium burning in chlorine and a video of the US army dumping tonned os sodium in a lake.
Carbonates in acid – a simple experiment showing the effect of dilute acid on calcium and copper carbonates
Catalysis – A series of short experiments about caltalysis: including visible activated complexes and autocatalysis.
Metals in dilute acid – reactions of dilute HCl with copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
Haber process – a video explaining the working of the Haber process (including a simple lab version) for making ammonia.
Ostwald process – a video explaining the Ostwald process that converts the ammmonia from the Haber process to more useful nitric acid and nitrates.
Electrochemistry 1 – a look at simple electrode potentials, cells and half cells.
Electrochemistry 2 – a look at electrolysis and electroplating.
Burning Magnesium – a video showing the burning of magnesium in a microscale crucible and explaing the change in mass.
pH Rainbow – a video showing how to create a pH rainbow with dilute acid, sodium carbonate solution and universal indicator.
Exothermic and endothermic reactions – a series of exothermic reactions an an interesting endothermic one.
Sugar and sulphuric acid – the spectacular reaction between sugar and concentrated sulphuric acid to make a carbon ‘snake’.
Unsaturation in Hydrocarbons – how to test for unsaturation using bromine water.
Equilibrium – a video showing the effects of concentration, pressure and temperature on equilibrium.
Food Chemistry – a series of 5 videos on emulsions, enzymic browning, oxidative rancidity, the Maillard reaction and TLC. Originally made a few years ago with ES, SFDF and Abertay University.
The Blue Bottle – A video showing and explaining the ‘Blue Bottle’ experiment with methylene blue and the ‘Traffic Lights’ variation using indigo carmine.
Oxidation States – This video looks at oxidation states in transition metals: touching on copper and iron and then focussing on vanadium and manganese.
Oxidising agents – touching on the nature of oxidation but mainly focussing on reactions that donate oxygen and facilitate combustion: nitrates, chlorates, permanganates etc.
Reduction of copper – A look at displacement reactions and then the reduction of copper oxide to copper by carbon and hydrogen.