Chemical Reactions and Balancing Equations

Michael Wiedenfeld
Chemistry or Physical Science/ 9-12

Links to Files Associated with This Lesson  

  1. Chemical Reactions Lab.doc

  2. Chemical Reactions Software.doc


  4. Palm Pilot Rules for Use.doc

  5. Palm Pilot Project.ppt

  6. Student Group Graph 2.xls

  7. Student Group Graph.xls


Content Area Objectives Addressed:


Technology Objectives Addressed:

Activity Description

            What was the process that your students went through to complete this lesson?

 Chemical Reactions Lab

 Palm Pilot Project

Students received direct instruction on types of reactions and the process of balancing equations.  Following the instruction students were placed in small groups of 2-3 students.  In order to manage 25-30 students and 5 computers, five of the groups started with the computer software and practiced the process of balancing equations. The other 4-5 groups started with a laboratory activity involving seven different reactions.  Students were required to write balanced chemical equations for all reactions observed in the laboratory activity.  After the groups in the lab finished the chemical reactions activity the groups switched activities.

How did you monitor student progress?

The software keeps score for each of the three objectives and also keeps track of every step that they perform incorrectly.  After they are finished using the software they receive a printout of their scores and mistakes that was turned in for credit.  The laboratory activity was collected and graded by the instructor.


Was there a template or an example that students were expected to follow?

The software was demonstrated to students in order for all students to see the procedure that they were expected to follow.

            How much time did you dedicate to this project?

                        Total : 3 hr. (2-90 minute class periods)

                        Daily (approximate) : (90 min

            How was the final product presented?

There was not a final product produced by students as a result of this lesson.  The technology was used to allow students to practice until they were able to demonstrate their proficiency at balancing equations.


Who was the audience for the final product?

NA – or Instructor


Learning Issues

What prior knowledge was required on the part of the students in order for them to be successful in this project? (include curriculum and technology knowledge)

Students must be able to write chemical formulas correctly in order to balance equations.

The is no major technology knowledge prerequisite skills since this activity involves the use of instructional software.


Resource Management

            What was the student to computer ratio?

5-6 students per computer.

How did you schedule your students’ computer time?

            Discribed above.


What was the location of the computers and other technology equipment used by students?

Computers are located in the classroom


How would you suggest beginning teachers obtain computer resources for their students? (Knowing some of your strategies would be valuable for our pre-service teachers.) Grab any technology you can get!  Even older computers can be used for a lot of activities.  Manage computer access for students like an elementary teacher would use a  “station”.



Rate the level of access for students to use computers/other technologies as they needed  --high, medium, low



Rate the level of supervision required for students during the project, specifically for computer and other technology use –high, medium, low

Computer – low ,  Lab activity - high



What hardware was required for your project?

            Win95 or higher machines

What software was required for your project?

            “World of Chemical Reactions” written by me using visual basic.

Anything else?

            Normal “wet lab” chemistry equipment.


            What kind of assessment did you use for this project? (Include a copy if you can.)

            Software printout graded.

            Laboratory activity graded


What categories did you assess? (I.e.:  content, screen design, depth/breadth, etc.)

Content only.



How does the product that you submitted compare with other students’ products for this same project?

Students performed a minimum of 15 reactions using the software and my example contains only two.


            What did you like best about this project?

Software makes students focus on the details that they traditionally ignore or forget in order for the software to indicate that they correctly answered the question.



            What did the students like best about this project?

The instantaneous feedback from the software.



            Rank the level of student involvement in this project –high, medium, low


            Rank the level of student interest in this project –high, medium, low


            Would you teach this lesson again?









Garbage Quiz


VOCABULARY: Use these words to fill in the blanks.

Sanitary landfill              Leachate                       Groundwater Recycling                  Solid waste             Decompose                    Reuse                           Compost


1.  To ____________________ is to rot and break down material.


2.  ____________________ is poison or toxins that can leak into the ground water.


3.  Another name for garbage is ____________________________.


4.   ___________________ is found under the ground and is used for drinking.  


5. To use an item again is to ________________the item.


6.  __________________ is a way to dispose of organic (once living) materials and turn it into fertilizer.


7.  Garbage made into new products is called _______________________.


8.  ________________________ is a place where garbage is put. It has a clay or plastic liner.





  1. What did you learn when our class did the Throw-Away Journal?







10.  Name two main problems with garbage.






11.  About how long does it take an aluminum can to begin to decompose?



12. Why would the packaging of products we buy at the store be a problem for our earth?







Choose two of the three questions.  Answer in detail.

13.  What do you feel is the most important thing you learned by doing this unit in Science?





14.  What did you learn by doing the reuse project?






15.  How would you manage your garbage if it were never picked up?

by the garbage collectors?












Chemical Reactions Lab


In this activity you will:

·        predict the products for each of the reactions.

·        make observations before and after the reactions take place.

·        identify the location of the products in each reaction.


Safety: Goggles and aprons are required throughout the laboratory activity.


Part1: The burning of Magnesium


1.      Obtain a 10-15 cm piece of Magnesium ribbon.

2.      Set-up and light a Bunsen burner.

3.      Hold onto one end of the magnesium ribbon with a pair of tongs.

4.      Ignite the magnesium by placing the end of the magnesium ribbon into the flame.
Caution: When the magnesium ignites it will release ultraviolet light which will harm your eyes.  Do not stare directly into the light.














Write a balanced equation for the burning of magnesium.





Part 2: Metal Reactivities



  1. Obtain a test tube rack and 6 test tubes.
  2. Add a few ml of Silver Nitrate to test tubes 1,and 3
  3. Add a few ml of Copper Nitrate to test tubes 2 and 4
  4. Add a few ml of Sulfuric Acid to test tubes 5 and 6
  5. Add a small piece of copper to each of the first two test tubes.
  6. Add a small piece of zinc to test tubes three through five.
  7. Add a small piece of Magnesium in test tube 6



Data Table: Place the letter R in the table below if you observe a reaction and NR if NO Reaction is observed.







Silver Nitrate




Copper(II) Nitrate




Zinc Nitrate




Sulfuric Acid





For each reaction that occurred write a balanced equation and an observation statement that describes where each product of the reaction is in each test tube.












Palm Pilot Project

Palm m100 Rules for Use/Agreement Form


          The Kuna School District has provided Palm m100 handheld computers to assist me in the completion of my Master’s thesis. I will be comparing the use of Palm handheld computers with agenda notebooks to assist students in keeping track of homework assignments, goals, and appointments.  The study will not take place until the 2002-2003 school year.   Implementing the Palm Pilot Project this school year will assist me in preparation for the study for the following year.  The Palms will be integrated into lessons throughout the year as well.  A Palm m100 will be provided to each student in my class for the 2001-2002 school year. No student will be penalized for non-participation.    Before receiving the Palm each student/parent must agree to the following:


v     If the Palm assigned to you is broken, lost, or stolen you will be responsible for it’s replacement.  ($130.00 each)

v     You must have the Palm with you at all class times.

v     Keep the Palm out of extreme temperatures (hot/cold).

v     Be gentle with your Palm (it is not a football or Frisbee).

v     Do not get food or drink on the Palm.

v     Do not beam notes to others without permission or during instruction.

v     Do not use the Palm during instruction time unless the teacher has given you permission.

v     Use appropriately:  No rude comments, pictures, or language.

v     No game playing during class time.

v     Do not loan your Palm to anyone without permission from Mrs. Wiedenfeld.

v     Do not leave unattended.

v     Ask for permission before downloading software on the Palm.

v     Batteries will need to be replaced at the expense of the student.

v     Return the Palm in good condition at the end of the school year! J


(Cut here & return )


I agree to the conditions stated on the Palm Agreement Form.



___________________________________              _____________________________

(Parent Signature)                                           (Student Signature)


______________________ (Date)