Considerations before activity:

  • What prior knowledge or student/class preparation was involved?

    • ​The prerequisite for SCH 4C is grade 10 academic or applied science. The students will require an introduction to chemical reactions: an understanding of reactants and products, elements and compounds, metals and non-metals and bonding

    • Is helpful if students have been introduced to word, skeleton and balanced chemical equations, not necessarily involving the types of reactions

  • What were the expected results before performing the activity?

    • ​By the end of this activity, students will be expected to:

      • differentiate between types of chemical reactions (synthesis, decomposition, combustion, single displacement, and double displacement)

      • practice writing and balancing chemical equations

      • use the activity series of metals and halogens to predict the products of single displacement reactions

      • utilize the solubility table to predict precipitation reactions 

  • What motivated the creation of this activity?

    • ​For my grade 12 college chemistry class, I found at the very beginning of the semester that about half the class was eager to inquire and ask questions about various chemical properties and reactions and the other half was very hesitant about going outside of their comfort zone 

    • I wanted to find a way to introduce the stages of inquiry to my students so they could build upon their inquiry skills, but at the same time learn chemical reactions in a meaningful way that would deepen their understanding 

Title: Levels of Inquiry through Chemical Reactions 

Course: SCH 4C- Grade 12 College Chemistry 

Strand: Matter and Qualitative Analysis 

Connection to curriculum: 

  • Overall Expectations:
    • investigate matter, using various methods of qualitative analysis;
    • demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of qualitative analysis of matter
  • Specific Expectations
    • use appropriate terminology related to qualitative analysis of matter, including, but not limited to: double displacement, precipitate, and energy level
    • use a table of solubility rules to write chemical equations for double displacement reactions and to write balanced net ionic equations for chemical reactions
    • investigate precipitation reactions and flame tests, using qualitative analysis instruments, equipment, and techniques
    • conduct qualitative analyses of an unknown sample, using a flow chart and experimental procedures, including flame tests and precipitation reactions, to determine the presence of metal ions 
    • use a table of solubility rules to predict if a precipitate will form in a given chemical reaction, and identify the precipitate formed
    • describe various types of chemical reactions, including synthesis, decomposition, single displacement, and double displacement reactions

Description of Activity:

This lesson plan is separated based on the 4- level model of inquiry, as outlined in "Simplifying Inquiry Instruction" by Randy L. Bell, Lara Smetana, and Ian Binns (link in resources). This lesson plan will introduce students to inquiry at the same time as introducing chemical reactions in an impactful way. 

 

Modified version of the four- level model of inquiry.
Level of InquiryQuestion?Methods?Solutions?
1includedincludedincluded
2includedincluded 
3included  
4   

 

Level 1: Confirmation 

In the first level students will confirm synthesisdecomposition and combustion reactions through the following activities. In this level, the question, method and solution are included. 

Lesson Resources:

  • Chemical Reactions Notebook

  • Chemical Reactions Notebook Example

Minds On: What is a chemical reaction?

1. Students will fill out: What I already know... (about chemical reactions)? and Questions I have ...(about chemical reactions?

2. Once shared with the class, have the students brainstorm in groups, "Where have I seen chemical reactions?"

3. Review with students the 3 ways of representing reactions: Word equations, skeleton equations and balanced equations 

- depending on previous knowledge, teachers may find it useful to review the law of conservation of mass here, states of matter etc. 

 

Action: Introduction to Synthesis and Decomposition 

The following can be done using demonstrations or showing videos. I have included videos here to give an example.

Synthesis: 

1. Demonstrate/ show a video of the decomposition of sugar using a catalyst. Have the students try to write a word, skeleton and balanced equation for what they see. 

2. Demonstrate/ show a video of the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Have the students try to write a word, skeleton and balanced equation for what they see. 

Videos: (make sure to only show the demo, not the explanation)

Elephant Toothpaste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVCEINrGus4

Decomposition of sugar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ocQhkHw_MM

3. Once students have completed both, ask the students to come up with a general equation for all decomposition reactions.

 

Decomposition:

1. Demonstrate/ show a video of the synthesis of magnesium and oxygen forming together to form magnesium oxide. Have the students try to write a word, skeleton and balanced equation for what they see. 

2. Demonstrate/ show a video of the synthesis of hydrogen and oxygen forming together to form water. Have the students try to write a word, skeleton and balanced equation for what they see. 

Videos: (make sure to only show the demo, not the explanation)

Iodine ad Aluminum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3kDZXP4_5A

Zinc and Sulfur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COXLvuryenc&t=195s

3. Once students have completed both, ask the students to come up with a general equation for all synthesis reactions.

Consolidation: Confirmation of Synthesis, Decomposition and Combustion 

Have the students complete a series of synthesis, decomposition and combustion reactions. Have them write down their observations. The students will then use these observations to confirm which type of reaction occurred and write out the word and balanced chemical reaction for each.  

Examples of reactions I had my class complete in the lab:

Reaction A: Burning of Magnesium 

Reaction B: Magnesium Oxide added to water

Reaction C: Heating Magnesium carbonate

Reaction D: Hydrogen peroxide and manganese dioxide (as a catalyst)

Reaction E: Observation of the burning of methane in the Bunsen burner

 

This lab also allows students to practise their qualitative analysis by using flame tests, and tests for gases such as the glowing splint and limewater tests.

Their observations and work are submitted for feedback by the teacher in preparation for the next portion of the lesson. 

 

Level 2: Structured Inquiry

In structed inquiry, the students will start to explore single displacement reactions and the use of the activity series. In structured activity the question and method will be included, however it is up to the students to come up with the solution. 

Here students will look at several single displacement reactions and take note of which reactions have occurred and which ones have not. It is important students organize their reactions by metal. Using these observations, will answer the following questions:

1. How could you tell if a reaction had happened in this lab?

2. Propose a general equation that summarizes what a single displacement reaction is?

3. From your observation, rank the metals in terms of their reactivity

4. If you had an unknown solution that suspected has zinc in it, how could you test this using a single displacement reaction?

5. For each reaction completed today, write the chemical reaction that took place. 

Students will hypothesize the order of reactivity for the metals they are working with. This will allow students to see how to effectively use the activity series of metals and how they can predict the products of single displacement reaction and determine if the reaction will happen or not. 

 

Their observations and work are submitted for feedback by the teacher in preparation for the next portion of the lesson. 

 

Stage 3: Guided Inquiry 

In guided inquiry, only the question: "What are single and double displacement reactions, what determines if the reaction will occur or not?" will be given. 

In this task students will design their own lab to investigate different types of single and double displacement reactions, what causes different products to occur and the reasoning behind no reaction occurring. The students were asked to develop the reactions they are going to test, a procedure, outline of safety precautions and an organized observation table. 

 

Guidance Given:

  • Several check points for feedback through the use of google classroom (allows for assessment opportunities)

  • A list of chemicals available to them 

  • use of computer for research 

Evaluation: Once students have completed their design, carry out their lab and complete their analysis, their reactions, procedure, observations and analysis will be evaluated.

 

Post-Activity Reflection Submission:

Having the students work through the levels of inquiry has been great to develop inquiry in the classroom. The students are more open and willing to take risks, ask questions and give explanations scientifically. Now that we have complete the first three levels of inquiry in this first unit, this will allow for open inquiry in the following units for example in the organic and electrochemistry units which have a great impact on their learning!

 

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