Chemistry Anyone?

Chemical Identification—Identifying the Unknown

Students became chemistry sleuths in the science lab this week. In this lesson, we discussed how to identify a chemical without the use of complicated machines. Students learned that in addition to using their senses, they could also use chemical properties for identification. Each group of students was given four known white powders to test (baking soda, borax, salt, and cornstarch) and using the data they collected from a series of 4 tests, they were then able to use their test results to identify an unknown white powder.
They performed tests of two different properties: solubility and reactivity. They observed which samples dissolved in water and/or in rubbing alcohol, which reacted with vinegar or iodine (if a substance reacted with vinegar the students observed bubbling and if a substance reacted with iodine, it turned purple!).

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