National Chemistry Week

National Chemistry Week lessons enliven classroom science investigations.

By Andrea Ferrero


national chemistry week

Bubbling beakers and smoking concoctions have become common scenes for popular movies and cartoons featuring mad scientists. National Chemistry Week gives teachers the opportunity to enthrall and capture students' attention by taking chemistry from the figments of film into the classroom. Taking place from October 17-23rd, this year's theme, endorsed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), is Behind the Scenes with Chemistry. 

Safety First

Students can begin the journey into chemistry week by designing their own lab coat. Each student will need a plain white t-shirt and a black permanent marker. Using the marker, they can draw on the lapels, put a seam down the center, add buttons, and draw a single pocket with their name. Once students are "suited up", you can share the tools most commonly used in chemical investigations and discuss the associated safety measures for their use. 

Focus on a Topic

Explorations in chemistry provide an interesting way to view daily objects and materials in a new light. Students can build a deeper understanding of the topics covered in chemistry by selecting a topic, such as solutions, acids and bases, or ionic and covalent compounds to investigate. You can briefly discuss the topics that students can explore and/or provide resources for further details. You can tell students that they will look for examples of their topic in their daily lives and photograph it. After photographing examples of their topic, students can create a poster that illustrates and explains their content and its connection to their life. There are a myriad of ways you can make chemistry lessons fun and enjoyable for your students. The lessons below present a variety of ingenious ways to investigate chemistry in your classroom.

Chemistry Week Lessons: 

Forensic Detectives: Chemistry at Work 

This lesson introduces students to the world of chemistry and the many professions available within it. They research and report on one of the jobs available. Full of links to a myriad of media resources this lesson brings the careers of chemistry to life. 

The Chemistry of Hair Care 

This lesson involves students in the investigation of the chemistry of hair care products. Using their knowledge of acids, bases, and the pH scale, along with articles included in the lesson, students research the components of common hair care products to prove their overall efficacy. 

Element Advertisement

While creating a podcast, students describe an element of the periodic table in exquisite detail. This lesson gives a fun and inspiring way to get all students interacting with the elements. After being assigned a single element, students explore and report on its symbol, number, atomic mass, name, possible applications, cost, and industry information.