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 six unknown white powders to test (baking soda, borax, salt, cornstarch, chalk, and sugar) and using the data they collected from a series of 2 tests, they were then able to use their test results to identify the powders.
They performed tests of solubility in order to identify their unknown samples. They observed which samples dissolved in water and/or in rubbing alcohol and which did not. Working collaboratively, they determined the properties of each unknown sample. Students did a great job staying focused on their experiments and collecting the data they needed to identify the powders.