6 Awesome Activities to Celebrate National Chemistry Week
National Chemistry Week is an annual event hosted by the American Chemical Society in which they invite schools, businesses, and communities to learn about the importance chemistry has in our lives. The 2019 theme is Marvelous Metals and runs from the 20th-26thof October.
Middle schoolers (or anyone, for that matter) find it much easier to relate and be interested in topics when you can show how the information they’re learning applies to the world around them. Of course, a great way to teach them is to get hands-on with some awesome chemistry activities.
Here are 6 of our favorites (and great tools year-round, not just National Chemistry Week!):
1. Exploring Materials: Memory Metal
This activity shows participants how a memory metal spring is different from an ordinary spring, and they learn about how the metal behaves on the nanoscale.
2. Watch the Animated TED-Ed Magical Metals Video
If you want to take part in National Chemistry Week but aren’t able to find the time or materials to do a practical activity, this animated lesson is a great way to teach kids about shape memory alloys and how they are advancing technology, such as the Mars Rover.
3. Spark of Life
Toward the end of the week, all the kids will be thinking about Halloween and the Spark of Life is the perfect activity to sparkdiscussion about innovation, the human body, and Frankenstein. In this activity, kids will use their own body and two types of metal to create a battery using their own body.
4. Battery Stack
Another great battery activity (easily combined with the last) is the Battery Stack, where learners put together a voltaic pile, which was the very first kind of battery. Talk about how batteries have progressed and now last longer while getting smaller for a well-rounded lesson, and the different ways batteries impact our lives.
5. Exploring Fabrication – Electroplating
Exploring Fabrication – Electroplating is an experiment where learners coat a nickel coin with copper using the electroplating process. It teaches participants about how electroplating deposits nanometer-thin layers of materials, like copper.
6. Exploring Materials – Ferrofluid
Exploring Materials – Ferrofluid is another hands-on activity, but doesn’t require a large number of materials. Learners can see the properties of ferrofluid and magnetic black sand, and learn about how their behavior relates to their size.