One of the best parts of teaching middle school science is all of the hands-on activities and experiments you get to complete. When science is interactive, kids have an easier time understanding the material.
While studying chemistry, we spent some time learning about chemical reactions.
When we hear the term, chemical reaction, we usually visualize something exploding, don’t we? But not all reactions are that noticeable. We’re actually surrounded by chemical reactions every day without thinking about it. Reactions like rust, a match lighting, yeast in bread, or silver tarnishing.
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What is a Chemical Reaction?
It is when a chemical change occurs. The substances you start with react together and form something different. The reactants create a product. Bonds keeping atoms together are either broken or formed to create new molecules.
How do you know a chemical change has occurred? Look out for:
- vaporization (production of gas)
- precipitation (creation of a solid)
- change in color
- change in temperature
- change in properties
In our science co-op, we learned about four types of reactions.
- This is the simplest type of chemical reaction. Two or more reactants are combined to create a more complex product.
- A + B → AB
- This is when a compound is broken down into its separate parts.
- AB → A + B
- Single replacement
- This occurs when an element’s place in a compound is taken by another element.
- A + BC → AC + B
- Double replacement
- In a double replacement, the ions in compounds are switched, creating a new compound.
- AB + CD → AD + CB
We’ve been using Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself for activities this year and love it!
A Chemical Reaction Middle Schoolers Will Love
This is an extremely popular experiment, that seems quite simple, but when you add in scientific questions, it makes it perfect for a middle school science lesson.
- a balloon
- plastic bottle
- baking soda
Questions to answer before you begin:
- How can you use these materials to create a reaction?
- What do you think will happen?
Inflating a Balloon with a Chemical Reaction
Questions to answer during and after the experiment:
- What type of change took place?
- How long did it take for the reaction to occur?
- What happened?
- How long did the reaction continue?
- What forms of matter did you observe during the experiment?
- Why do baking soda and vinegar react when combined?
- What is the chemical equation for this reaction?
Additional Experiments to Try
10 Volcano Activities for Middle School from us at Education Possible
Groovy Science Activity – Make Your Own Lava Lamp from us at Education Possible
50 Ways to Play with Baking Soda and Vinegar from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Kitchen Chemistry: Cake Experiment from Teach Beside Me
Watch Some Amazing Reactions
The 27 Most Impressive Chemical Reactions from Buzz Feed
What experiments have you completed to study chemical reactions?