Chemical Identification


Chemical Identification (5th-8th) 

Students perform several experiments to determine the identities of four different household powders based on their solubilities in water and simple chemical reactions with acetic acid and iodine. After the testing, students will learn how to distinguish between physical and chemical properties of substances and how these can be used to identify substances.

SKU: Chem-ChemID Category: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Lesson Overview

Students will:

  • Brainstorm possible ways to identify various white powders
  • Perform experiments to determine the identity of four white powders
  • Discuss the differences between physical and chemical properties of substances, and chemical versus physical changes

Lesson Objectives

Students will be able to

  • Analyze experimental data to determine the identity of an unknown sample
  • Distinguish between chemical and physical properties of substances that can be used for their identification

This lesson is aligned with these Next Generation Science (NGS) Standards.

Standards Covered

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)

PS1 Matter and its Interactions – PS1.A Structure of matter

  • (3rd-5th) Because matter exists as particles that are too small to see, matter is always conserved even if it seems to disappear. Measurements of a variety of observable properties can be used to identify particular materials.
  • (6th-8th) The fact that matter is composed of atoms and molecules can be used to explain the properties of substances, diversity of materials, states of matter, phase changes, and conservation of matter. 

PS1 Matter and its Interactions – PS1.B Chemical reactions

  • (3rd-5th) Chemical reactions that occur when substances are mixed can be identified by the emergence of substances with different properties; the total mass remains the same.
  • (6th-8th) Reacting substances rearrange to form different molecules, but the number of atoms is conserved. Some reactions release energy and others absorb energy. 

Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) 

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

  • (3rd-5th) Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.
  • (6th-8th) Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meets the goals of the investigation.

Crosscutting Concept (CCC)


  • (3rd-5th) Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.
  • (6th-8th) Macroscopic patterns are related to the nature of microscopic and atomic-level structure.
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