Category Archives: Matter


Our work today uses the concepts of mass and volume from lesson 4 and connects them into a formula used to describe a physical property of matter: density.  We can calculate density using the equation density = mass / volume.  Students should come away with an understanding of what density is and how it can be used to provide evidence in support of the identity of a substance.  Students should also recognize the limitations of density in making such a determination.

We will begin the lesson with the ChemCatalyst from the Lesson 05 PowerPoint.  Students will learn the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic properties of matter, and then they will work in pairs to complete the Lesson 05 Student Worksheet.  Students who complete the worksheet will have the remainder of the class period to practice calculating the densities of various materials.

Notes from class:


Homework for this evening:

  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lesson 5 and then verify accuracy with the Lesson 05 Homework Answers.
  • Write notes for Lesson 5 on the Chapter 01 Notes handout.
  • Come to class tomorrow prepared to ask questions about anything of the homework problems from lesson 5 you did not understand.
  • Continue working on the Chapter 1 Study Guide.

Extend Your Learning!

According to, the density of gold is 19,300 kg/m³.  According to your textbook, the density of gold is 19.3 g/cm³.  Use dimensional analysis to connect the densities, given that there are 1,000 grams in 1 kilogram (1,000 g = 1 kg) and 1,000,000 cm³ in 1 m³.  The video below can help you through the process:

Mass and Volume

For lesson 4, we will explore the concepts of mass and volume.  We will briefly discuss the ChemCatalyst from the Lesson 04 PowerPoint and students will be reintroduced to the metric system.  To help reinforce the learning, we will embrace the power that is Pete Hendley:

We will discuss common metric system prefixes and learn the difference between milli- (1/1000), centi- (1/100), and kilo- (1000) as applied to the base units of meter, liter, and gram.  For the remainder of the lesson, students will work with a partner to complete Activity A for both the Triple Beam Balance and Measuring Volume Gizmos on the Explore Learning website.  For instructions on how to set up a Gizmo account, click here.  Students who complete Activity A of both Gizmos should continue working on Activities B and C of the Measuring Volume Gizmo.

Homework for this evening:

  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lesson 4 and then verify accuracy with the Lesson 04 Homework Answers.
  • In preparation for the mini-quiz tomorrow, review the SyllabusSafety Contract, Lesson 1-3 homework answers, and your Chapter 01 Notes handout.
  • Email Mr. Swart below with any questions you have about lesson 1-4 homework problems you did not understand.  If needed, we will briefly address questions and then students will have the class period to complete the mini-quiz.
  • Return signed copy of syllabus and student safety contract (both due tomorrow – a signed safety contract and syllabus is absolutely required for student participation in labs).


Defining Matter

Class will begin with time for student questions about any of the content from lessons 1 and 2.  Students will be reminded about the mini-quiz on Friday which will cover the class syllabus, lab safety (safety contract) and content from lessons 1-3.  To best prepare for the mini-quiz, students should review all class notes, read the textbook, answer the homework questions at the end of each lesson, and review the homework answer keys.  Notes are not allowed on mini-quizzes.

For lesson 3 today, students will write a response to the ChemCatalyst questions in the Lesson 03 PowerPoint. Students should leave class today able to share the definition of matter, and be able to differentiate between what is and is not matter.  To achieve that learning, students will work in groups to complete the Lesson 03 Student Worksheet.

When finished, students will determine whether or not they have access to the Explore Learning website.  Students will need an account in order to access the Gizmo activities beginning tomorrow.  For students who need to create an account:

  1. Enter the class code (provided by Mr. Swart).
  2. Click the Enroll in Class button.
  3. Choose “I need to create…” option.
  4. Enter your First and Last name (not email!)
  5. Use your student numer (s-#######) as your username.
  6. Enter birthdate as password (MMDDYYYY)
  7. Click “Submit”

Extension: Is light a particle or a wave?  The TED-Ed talk below will help us answer the question of whether light is matter or not matter.  Watch the video and answer the question for yourself: is light a particle or a wave?  Use evidence to support your claim!

Homework for this evening:

  • Work through the homework problems at the end of Lesson 3 and then verify accuracy with the Lesson 03 Homework Answers.
  • Read Lesson 4 in the textbook.
  • Write notes for Lesson 4 on the Chapter 01 Notes handout.
  • Come to class tomorrow prepared to ask questions about anything you read in lesson 4, or homework problems from lesson 3 you did not understand.
  • Return signed copy of syllabus and safety contract (due no later than Friday).


Unit 2 Review

We packed a lot into our short Friday class period today, starting off with a return to the potato catalase lab packet.  We worked through pages 4-6 and students were directed to find the results from all of the classes on yesterday’s lesson post.  Students also received a copy of the Potato Catalase Lab Report Checklist and learned that they may work with a partner to complete the report and the due date is December 1.  Students were told that they can turn the report early to receive feedback which can be used to revise and improve their report by the due date.

For the last part of class, we reviewed Unit 2 content, with students encouraged to review the process of a slice of pizza or a cheeseburger being digested.  Students should practice writing an explanation which breaks down the parts of the food into biomolecules, explaining how those molecules are digested (anatomy of the digestion system and enzymes involved), and then explaining how the biomolecules are absorbed into the body and reassembled (biosynthesis) to form new biomolecules the body needs to live.

Potato Catalase Lab

For the lab today, students were instructed to record the steps of the procedure in their lab notebooks.  Steps were provided orally to emphasize the absolute importance of active listening (and not talking) while instruction is being delivered.  Students conducted the lab working in groups and recorded data in a class data table on the white board.  Results from all three classes are provided below:

Period 1 Raw Boiled Frozen Vinegar Ammonia
% O2 start 17.06 17.81 17.58 17.65 18.21
% O2 final 16.10 17.80 18.96 18.49 18.14
Time (sec) 379 213 900 321 160
Mass of potato (g) 3.8 5.1 3.5 3.8 3.8
Period 4 Raw Boiled Frozen Vinegar Ammonia Raw
% O2 start 17.66 16.60 17.65 16.58 17.40 17.60
% O2 final 19.47 16.65 18.60 16.41 17.44 17.58
Time (sec) 600 226 417 247 285 300
Mass of potato (g) 5.5 6.5 5.9 5.6 6.9 8.1
Period 6 Raw Boiled Frozen Vinegar Ammonia
% O2 start 17.70 16.81 16.81 17.17 17.55
% O2 final 17.52 16.74 17.15 17.88 17.59
Time (sec) 300 300 300 300 300
Mass of potato (g) 8.1 3.1 6.3 7.9 4.9
Mr. Swart Raw Raw Raw
% O2 start 17.34 17.04 17.88
% O2 final 18.12 17.62 18.12
Time (sec) 300 300 300
Mass of potato (g) 6.6 6.9 7.9

Potato Catalase Pre-Lab

Class began with a brief review of the Amoeba Sisters enzyme worksheet from yesterday and then we transitioned to preparing for the potato catalase lab.  After turning in the enzyme worksheet, students picked up a catalase lab packet.  We discussed the function of catalase and then students had the remainder of class to complete the first three pages of the packet.  Students were told multiple times that the first three pages of the packet must be completed before they can participate in the lab tomorrow.  Students who did not finish the first three pages of the packet in class were instructed to complete the work as homework.  The following notes were shared to help students better understand how the lab would be conducted:


We began class with a vocabulary review from yesterday.  Students completed Activity D problem #3 where they matched 11 digestion related vocabulary words with the correct definitions.  Next, we reviewed the enzymes from yesterday’s lesson to reinforce vocabulary and to review where in the body the enzymes work and which biomolecules they act on.  Notes from the white board are shown below:

For today’s lesson, we furthered our study of enzymes by watching the Amoeba Sisters video below:

After the video, students had time to work on the video worksheet in class and were instructed to finish it as homework.


We continued our study of enzymes and digestion by focusing specifically on the process of digestion today.  Students all received a handout with an image of the digestive system, and then we labeled the parts and took notes on the process of digestion while watching the video below:

Additional notes from the whiteboard are shown below:


Class began with the following entry task:

Use the Item Bank (H20, CO2, ATP, O2, C6H12O6):

  1. Which are inputs of cellular respiration?
  2. Which are outputs?
  3. Write the equation for cellular respiration

The entry task launched our brief review of cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and chemical potential energy stored in glucose and transferred to ATP.

After taking notes, the discussion transitioned to a recognition that while humans can eat glucose directly by consuming plants, humans can also obtain energy by eating other animals that eat plants.  For example, when we eat beef, we are ingesting protein and fat (lipids) produced by a cow that ate grass.  That led us to the Biological Molecules Crash Course video (below) and the associated worksheet.  Each student was assigned one question from the handout to answer, and then students combined answers in a class share-out at the end of class.  A completed copy of the worksheet is also provided below.

November 8 – Updated

Our study of biomolecules continued with students working in groups of three to read about carbohydrates, lipids, and fats.  Each student read one section, and then all three shared what they learned with the other students in the group so that each student was able to complete one worksheet.  At the end of class, we re-grouped and created the summary table shown below:


Food – Our Body’s Source of Energy

At this point in our study of enzymes and digestion, students have learned how plants capture the energy in sunlight and store it as chemical potential energy in glucose molecules.  Animals (and plants!) metabolize glucose using cellular respiration, transferring the chemical potential energy from glucose to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of cells.  Photosynthesis takes place in chloroplasts, while cellular respiration occurs in mitochondria.

In The Breath of Life reading, students learned how the respiratory system of humans enables gas exchange, with the lungs inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.  The gas exchange occurs within the alveoli, thin-walled sacs inside the lungs.  The reading introduced the concept of feedback systems, focusing on the special nerve cells in the cardiovascular and nervous systems that can sense changes in pH.  As carbon dioxide builds up, the blood becomes more acidic, and the lungs are forced to exhale to rid the body of carbon dioxide which then brings the pH back to normal levels.

For today’s lesson, we once again turned to our textbook and students were instructed to read pages 328-332 and complete the associated worksheet.  The assigned reading was titled Food: Our Body’s Source of Energy and Structural Materials.  Now that students understand the link between photosynthesis (chemical potential energy stored in glucose), cellular respiration (glucose metabolized to transfer the energy in glucose to ATP), and the larger connection with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, it is time to learn more about how the digestive system makes use of the variety of foods available to us.  It is time to think beyond glucose.