Electroplating Metals

For our final lesson of Unit 1, the concept of electroplating metals was introduced by watching a short video featuring a garage-style setup with a guy who uses a spork and pickle juice to electroplate a part of his cart project:

After the video, we discussed how to set up an electroplating apparatus (pictured below) and also discussed safety concerns and required personal protective equipment to be worn during the lab tomorrow (goggles and lab apron required, hair tied back, closed-toe shoes).  Students then worked with their table team to design an electroplating experiment and write up a procedure to follow tomorrow.


For the Wednesday lab, students must carefully document all aspects of their work in preparation for writing a lab report.  Students who finish early may begin writing the lab report.




The Lesson 26 PowerPoint will introduce students to the four models of chemical bonding.  Students will also receive a handout of the models with additional information.  After the PowerPoint, students will work in pairs to organize the Substance Cards and record their learning on the Lesson 26 worksheet.

Homework for this evening:

  • Read Lessons 26 and 27 in the textbook.
  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lessons 26 and 27 and write notes for Lessons 26 and 27.
  • Come to class tomorrow prepared to ask questions about anything from Lesson 26 you do not yet fully understand.

Classifying Substances

We enter the final chapter in Unit 1 with the Lesson 25 PowerPoint, introducing students to the concept of classifying substances based on properties of matter like conductivity and solubility.  After slide 6 in the PowerPoint, students will receive the Lesson 25 Worksheet and then work in groups of 4 students to test the conductivity and solubility of the substances listed on the worksheet.  By the end of class, students will compile all of the data from the lab into the table on page 2 of the worksheet.

Notes from class:




Homework for this evening:

  • Read Lesson 25 in the textbook.
  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lesson 25 and write notes for Lesson 25.
  • Come to class tomorrow prepared to ask questions about anything from Lesson 25 you do not yet fully understand.

Week 9

Monday, October 28 (HS-LS1-6): Today marks the final Monday of the 1st Quarter. We began class with a review of the Egg Lab experiment conducted last week, focusing on the data collected on Friday.  We drew models to show the flow of water across the cell membrane when the cell was placed in corn syrup.  Next, students were given an open-notes pop quiz designed to evaluate both understanding and engagement.  Students all received the Dehydration Synthesis Gizmo with remaining class time set aside to begin working on the Gizmo.  Students who complete the Gizmo by next Monday will receive bonus credit.

Tuesday, October 29 (HS-LS1-6): As we conclude our study of how organisms live and grow, we must answer the question: how do cells build new molecules with the nutrients they acquire following digestion?  To address this question, students consider the elements found in the four major classes of biomolecules:

  • Carbohydrates: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O)
  • Lipids: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O)
  • Proteins: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and nitrogen (N), and sulfur (S)
  •  Nucleic Acids: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P)

To understand the process of building biomolecules with atoms of elements obtained after the digestion process, students will learn about dehydration synthesis.  Students will also learn about hydrolysis, the process of apart polymers to produce monomers while consuming water.

Notes from class:


Next, we watched a segment of the NOVA video Hunting the Elements, beginning at 58:05 and ending at 1:18:00, and students were tasked with keeping track of how much of each element are present in the human body.

Finally, students will receive the grading rubric for the Unit 1 Project.

Wednesday, October 30 (HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2): As carbon dioxide levels increase in the atmosphere, the oceans absorb carbon dioxide and become more acidic. When ocean water becomes more acidic, the shells of young shelled sea creatures fail to form properly, often dissolving before the animals can mature.

With that background, we watched the video about ocean acidification below:

After the video, we took class notes:

Next, we watched the video below that focused on solutions to ocean acidification:

After a brief discussion, class ended with students tasked with reviewing the rubric in preparation for forming project teams tomorrow.

Thursday, October 31 – Friday, November 8 (HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2):

Your team is tasked with researching which species of photosynthetic organism is best suited to grow in your company’s aquatic farm. Photosynthetic aquatic organisms consume carbon dioxide during photosynthesis to produce glucose and oxygen, so aquatic farming may help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the water and reduce acidification of the surrounding water.

As described in detail on the Unit 1 Project Scoring Rubric, a complete project (Google Doc, Google Slides, video, web page, or poster) must include:

  • An explanation of ocean acidification and research into sources of ocean acidification.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (GlobalChange.gov)

Ocean Acidification Chemistry (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

All credible scientific sources must be cited.

Resources provided are examples to help teams get started.  High-performing teams will find additional scientifically credible resources.

Projects will be shared with the class on Friday, November 8.



Electron Configurations

For our final lesson of Chapter 4, students took notes about the concept of sub-shells and then worked through the Lesson 24 Worksheet.

Notes from class:

Students are encouraged to watch the Crash Course chemistry video below as optional homework.

For Thursday’s lesson, students will gain additional practice with electron configurations via the Electron Configuration Gizmo.

Additional notes from class:



Keep Learning!

Extend your learning with additional videos focusing on electron orbitals and electron configurations.

Homework for this evening:

  • Read Lesson 24 in the textbook.  Login via hs.saplinglearning.com and enter your username and password.
  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lesson 24.  Take notes.
  • Come to class tomorrow prepared to ask questions about anything from Lesson 24 you do not yet fully understand.

Transition Metal Chemistry

Today we learned about how to name compounds that involve transition metals.  To help launch the lesson, students watched a video by Tyler DeWitt titled Transition Metals in Ionic Formulas:

After watching the video, we practiced writing ionic formulas with transition metals via the Lesson 23.1 worksheet.

Notes from class:



Extend your learning!

Students are encouraged to review lesson content by watching the videos below:

Real-world application:

Click on the image below to learn more about how transition metals are used in the process of coloring paint.


Next, click on the image below to learn how transition metals impact the color of gemstones:


What do you notice about the two different images?  How can different transition metals turn different materials (paint and gemstones) similar colors?  How do similar chemical formulas result in different colors?  To help answer this, consider the difference between paint and gemstones: you light observes light reflected by both substances.  Does light interact with paint and gemstones differently?

Week 8

Monday, October 21 (HS-LS1-3): Our work this week is to apply our learning of homeostasis to the cellular level.  The primary focus of the lesson today was to provide students with the vocabulary to explain the concepts of osmosis and transport of water across the membrane via the membrane protein channel aquaporin.

To begin class, students will be introduced to the Egg Lab.  Each student will receive a chicken egg, and they must measure and record the volume of their egg using water displacement.  For this first day of the Egg Lab, students will then place the egg in a container with vinegar to begin the process of dissolving the shell.

Students will begin class by watching the Amoeba Sisters: Cell Transport video (below).

After the video, students will complete a worksheet that goes along with the Amoeba Sisters video.

Tuesday, October 22 (HS-LS1-3): To begin class, students will attend to their egg (Day 2).  Their job today is simply to replace the vinegar without harming their egg.  The fresh vinegar will continue to dissolve the egg shell over the next two days

Next, we will work through the Membrane Functions PowerPoint slide deck.  Students should commit the vocabulary terms to memory.  The aquaporin claymation video included in the slide deck is also provided below for easy access:

Wednesday, October 23 (HS-LS1-3): Next, we will finish working through the Slide Deck from yesterday and then students will apply their learning about osmosis by working through the Osmosis Gizmo on the Explore Learning website.

Any remaining time may be used to complete the Mitosis and Cancer BioInteractive from last week.

Keep Learning! Students who would like a more in-depth review of cell membranes and transport are encouraged to watch the Crash Course video below outside of class:


Thursday, October 24 (HS-LS1-3): For day 4 of the Egg Lab, students will work with their lab table groups to complete the following:

  1. Gently rinse each egg to remove any last parts of the shell.
  2. Gently dry each egg.
  3. Measure the volume of each egg separately using water displacement.
  4. Each student in the group should record the volume of each egg in their lab notebook.  For example, a group of four students will each have four egg volume recordings in each student’s lab notebook.
  5. Rinse out the cup and dry it with a paper towel, and return the egg to the cup.  Label the cup with the student’s name.
  6. Carefully cover the egg with one of the following:
    • Vinegar (egg #1)
    • Corn syrup (egg #2)
    • Distilled water (egg #3)
    • Bonus liquid (egg #4)
  7. Label the cup with the liquid used and then cover the cup with plastic.
  8. Record any additional observations about the egg during the class period.
  9. Return the cup to the fume hood for further observation tomorrow.

For the remainder of the class period, students should work hard to complete any missing biology assignments.  We have an exam next Thursday, so students who are caught up on work should begin assembling a page of notes to use on the exam.

Friday, October 25 (HS-LS1-3): The egg lab concluded with students receiving the following instructions:

  1. Gently rinse and dry egg
  2. Measure and record the final volume using water displacement
  3. Discard the egg and cup

After discarding the eggs, cleaning up the lab station, and washing their hands (as they have been doing each day of the lab), students were tasked with working with their lab group to calculate the change in volume:

  • from Day 1 (Monday, volume of eggs with shell) to Day 4 (Thursday, volume of eggs without shell)
  • from Day 4 to Day 5 (volume of eggs after soaking overnight in various liquids)

A positive change means the egg gained volume.  A negative change means the egg lost volume.  Students reported out their data as a class (shown below), and then we discussed the movement of water across the membrane of eggs placed in various solutions (final picture below).



Polyatomic Ions

On Friday, students were introduced to the concept of ion, ionic compounds and polyatomic ions.  To practice writing formulas of polyatomic compounds, students used the handout containing common ions and their charges from Friday to use as a resource for completing the Polyatomic Ions POGIL activity today.

Students also received the instructions for creating a login so they can access the online version of our textbook.

Class Notes:


Students are encouraged to review lesson content by watching the videos below:

Ions, Ionic Compounds, and Formulas

Our work today introduced students to the concept of ions: atoms with positive or negative charge.  Up to now, students have considered atoms to be neutral, because we have discussed atoms as having equal numbers of protons (positive charge) and electrons (negative charge).  While atoms can certainly remain neutral, many atoms exist in nature as ions.  Atoms gain or lose electrons in predictable ways to form ions, and ions partner up in predictable ways to form ionic compounds.

A neutral atom has equal numbers of protons and electrons.  When a neutral atom loses one or more electrons, the atom will have fewer electrons than protons, and thus will have a positive charge.  We call a positively charged atom a cation (an ion with a positive charge).  Cations are often metals.  When a neutral atom gains one or more electrons, the atom will have more electrons than protons, and thus will have a negative charge.  We call a negatively charged atom an anion (an ion with a negative charge).  Anions are often non-metals.

Just like the positive end of one magnet is attracted to the negative end of another magnet, cations and anions attract.  When a cation bonds with an anion, an ionic compound forms.  The bond between the ions is called an ionic bond.  Ionic compounds can be simple: one cation with a +1 charge bond will bond with one anion with a -1 charge.  Similarly, one cation with a +2 charge will bond with one anion with a -2 charge.  If a cation with a +2 charge bonds with an anion with a -1 charge, the +2 cation will actually bond with two -1 anions, creating an ionic compound with three ions: one cation and two anions.  This is because anions and cations bond together following the Rule of Zero Charge: the positive and negative charges sum to zero.  Ions commonly exist in charges of +1, +2, +3, -3, -2, -1.

The charge of an ion for a given element is predictable.  It’s actually built into the structure of the periodic table.  Focusing on the main group elements:

  • Group 1A elements readily give up one electron to form +1 cations.
  • Group 2A elements give up two electrons to form +2 cations.
  • Group 3A elements give up three electrons to form +3 cations.
  • Group 4A elements don’t often give up or take electrons and thus remain neutrally charged (no charge).
  • Group 5A elements take three electrons to form -3 anions.
  • Group 6A elements take two electrons to form -2 anions.
  • Group 7A elements greedily take one electron to form -1 anions.
  • Group 8A elements don’t give up or take electrons and remain neutrally charged (which is why they are called Noble Gases – they don’t interact with other elements).

We then practiced writing formulas of ionic compounds using our improved understanding of the periodic table.

Finally, we extended our understanding of ions to include cases where cations and/or anions consist of multiple atoms bonded together.  We call such cations and anions polyatomic ions.  The ammonium ion (NH3+) is a common polyatomic cation.  Hydroxide (OH-) is a common polyatomic anion.  Polyatomic ions commonly have charges ranging from +1 to -3 depending on the atoms that come together to form the polyatomic ion.  Just like cations and anions attract, polyatomic cations attract anions and polyatomic anions.  Similarly, polyatomic anions attract cations and polyatomic cations.

To practice writing formulas of polyatomic compounds, students received a handout containing common ions and their charges to use as a resource for completing the Polyatomic Ions POGIL activity on Moday.

Notes from class:



For extra help, the video below will review ions:

For additional support writing ionic formulas, students are encouraged to watch the video below: