Chemistry of Life

The Chemistry of Life is a hands-on, investigative chemistry course for elementary and middle school teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District that integrates adult level content learning with classroom appropriate pedagogy.

Exploring chemical bonding

Author(s): SEP staff

Exploring chemical bonding

Students will engage in an exploration demonstrating the Octet rule and chemical bonding using paper models of elements forming covalent and ionic compounds.

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Testing for Lipids, Proteins and Carbohydrates

Author(s): SEP staff (Chemistry of Life lesson)

Testing for Lipids, Proteins and Carbohydrates

Students will test a variety of food samples for the presence of lipids, proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates.

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What is matter?

Author(s): SEP staff

What is matter?

This activity is based on a lesson from the Living by Chemistry curriculum developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science (see citation).

During this activity students explore in depth their own understanding of what constitutes "matter" and work together as a group to create a definition for matter.

Students work in pairs to debate how to sort "items" printed on cards into three categories: "matter", "non-matter" and "unsure" and then try to determine what properties all items in each category have in common. A whole class discussion about "tricky" items follows during which students ultimately agree on a definition of matter.

You can choose which cards you would like to use depending on your students' age, abilities, and experiences.  As an example, for elementary grades, you might choose not to use the entire set.

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