Chemistry Unit 1: Measurement, Matter, and the Laboratory

Course Goals:

  • Develop your understanding of the nature of science as it pertains to the  physical world.
  • Understand and describe, qualitatively and quantitatively, the chemical nature of matter and apply your understanding to natural phenomena you observe in everyday life
  • Better use technology in your learning, becoming a better digital citizen

Course Essential Questions

  • How can we study things that are to small to see?1
  • How might scientific inquiry be used to investigation the natural world?
  • How can I use my experience in chemistry to learn to think and communicate clearly, logically, and critically in preparation for college and a career?
  • How can I best assess my own learning and progress?

Unit Essential Questions

  1. Aren't all chemicals dangerous? How can we work safely with chemicals?
  2. How are the basic concepts, skills, and understandings in chemistry related to one another? interrelated?
  3. How are the properties of compounds, elements, solutions, mixtures important to our work with these substances?
  4. How can properties of atter be measured and described?
  5. In what ways can data be used to visualize, display, and share new information?


  1. Practicing lab safety is foundational to all lab work.
  2. The SI measurement system is used by scientists worldwide.
  3. Chemical and physical properties are described using recorded observations and measurements that are both precise and accurate.
  4. Measurements and observations are analyzed using mathematical processes to discover connections and trends.
  5. Calculations and analysis are the justification for your results.
Lab Safety and Technique: Students will be able to......
  1. Demonstrate the use of goggles and aprons. Know when to wear them.
  2. Help one another practice safety, including use of goggles and aprons.
  3. Use Safety Data Sheets to understand the propertues of substances used in lab and prepare to use those substances safely.
  4. Work safely in lab, making good decisions.
  5. Describe the use of each piece of glassware and equipment before using it.
  6. Ask for a consultation if unsure of a procedure or piece of equipment.
  7. Demonstrate procedures for weighing, measuring volume, removing a chemical from a stock bottle, pouring solutions, measuring pH with paper and a meter, lighting a Bunsen burner and using it to heat various substances in different vessels, using a hot plate, and appropriate use and care of all lab equipment.
  8. Keep the work area neat, clean, and safe.
Measurement and Analysis Skils: Students will be able to....
  1. State the prefixes, values, and relative sizes for milli- , centi- , and kilo- to use with the SI units grams, liters, meters as equalities.
  2. State 5 base (fundamental) SI units used in chemistry and how to use them both in lab and in calculations.
  3. Measure mass, length, and volume in SI units, with appropriate precision, and record the measurement with the correct significant digits.
  4. Describe measurements as accurate and/or precise, and explain your reasoning.
  5. Write a ratio from an equality, express the ratio as a fraction, and use the fraction as a conversion factor.
  6. Use dimensional analysis to convert between units in problem-solving.
  7. Use multiple conversion factors in dimensional analysis.
  8. Use scientific notation (standard form) in calculations for numbers less than as well as greater than 1.
  9. Use scientific notation to express significant figures in numbers with leading or trailing zeros
  10. Explain the difference between derived units and fundamental units.
  11. Describe some derived units used in chemistry (ex. volume, density) and how to use them.
  12. Define density as a relationshp between the mass and volume of an object or substance.
  13. Write density as a ratio of mass per unit volume; as a conversion factor
  14. Use the density formula to find mass or volume of a known or unknown substance.
  15. Use the units for density as a conversion factor. Use algebra to rearrange the density equation to solve for any of the 3 variables.
  16. Use dimensional analysis together with mathematical equations to correctly express the solution to a calculation.
Observation, Description, and Analysis of Matter: Students will be able to....
  1. Describe the structure of a polymer, using sodium alginate "gummy worms" as an example.
  2. Describe the bonding in a polymer.
  3. Describe the differences between pure substances, mixtures, solutions, elements, and compounds using the terms heterogeneous and homogeneous.
  4. Sketch and interpret particle models of pure substances, mixtures, solutions, elements, and compounds.
  5. Describe each processes of interconversion of states of matter in words and in particles, using a sketch.
  6. Describe each process of interconversion in terms of energy (thermal) lost or gained.
  7. Use both element names and symbols for 48 common elements, using periodic table with both names and symbols. List common substances containing some of the elements.
  8. Three basic laws describe how matter behaves in chemical reactions. List and describe each.
Academic Vocabulary: Bricks Academic Vocabulary: Mortar
  • unit
  • SI system
  • fundamental unit
  • meter
  • derived unit
  • ratio
  • mass
  • volume
  • Scientific notation
  • Conversion factor
  • significant figures
  • accuracy
  • precision
  • dimensional analysis
  • density
  • particle model
  • chemical energy
  • thermal energy
  • substance
  • pure substance
  • homogeneous
  • heterogeneous
  • mixture
  • solution
  • element
  • compound
  • thermal
  • chemical reaction
  • physical change
  • polymer
  • chemical bond
  • describe
  • calculate
  • analyze
  • classify
  • interconversion
  • interpret
  • list; state
  • explain
  • define
  • law (in science)


Daily Learning Activities

Day 1
August 17

Day 2
August 18

  • POGIL roles to use in next activity
  • Check out textbooks
  • Check in on periodic table - ID a few element samples as preassessment

Day 3
August 21

  • Eclipse viewing
  • Elements to Know
  • Check-in on elements; begion study cards and strategies

Day 4
August 22

  • Scientific investigation (sodium alginate polymers) using POGIL roles
  • Concepts involved in the formation of a polymer
    • covalent bonds
    • solution process and concentration
    • ions
    • cross-linking
  • Asking questions about the process - record on whiteboard; cornell notes
  • Assignment: What products contain alginate? What is its purpose? What is its chemical formula?

Day 5
August 23

  • Measuring Volume and SigFigs - lab activity & response sheet
  • Pre-assessment: students will explain how to determine the precision of a measuring instrument
  • Post-assessment: lab practical

Day 6
August 24


  • Element quiz
  • Measuring, Day 1 Volume
  • Pre-assessment - discussion. (Post-assessment - technique quiz)

Day 7
August 25

  • Measuring, Day 2
    • direct measurement, displacement, measure and apply formlula
  • SigFigs - identification of, in measurements
  • Recording measurements, data tables, and calculations format
  • Accuracy and Precision

Day 8
August 28

  • Measuring, Day 3
    • Mass - measuring by difference
  • Precision and accuracy practice
Day 9
August 29
  • Measurement techniques quiz: accuracy, precision, data tables, calculations
  • Metric equivalents—>conversion factors —> dimensional analysis intro, with dominos
Day 10
August 30
Day 11
August 31
  • Short classes - finish measurement; assess with quiz
  • Calculation format
Day 12
Sept 1
  • Review quiz; redo it
Day 13
Sept 5
  • Learning Target/Question
    • Why is precision in measurement important?
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Discuss measurement quiz #2 questions as examples of measurement precision
    • Sig Figs - presentation - Discuss each condition, nonzero digits and zeros,
  • Assessments
    • Scientific Notation (pre-assess with oral quiz)
    • Pre-assess dimensional analysis with discussion and thumbs up/thumbs down
  • Assignment
Day 14
Sept 6
  • Learning Target/Question
    • How is the analysis of units of measure useful in calcultions and lab work?
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Dimensional Analysis - calculating with dominos process-oriented guided inquiry lab (small group activity) Day 1 (2-day activity)
    • Using roles as on role cards, discuss and reach concensus in small groups
    • Need highlighters or colored pencils (yellow, pink, blue, orange)
  • Assessments
    • self-assessment with exit pass
    • quiz in 2 days
    • Pre-assess understanding of types of matter with particle model diagrams
  • Assignment
Day 15
Sept 7
  • Learning Target/Question
    • How is the analysis of units of measure useful in calcultions and lab work?
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Dimensional Analysis - calculating with dominos process-oriented guided inquiry lab (small group activity) Day 2 (2-day activity)
    • Using roles as on role cards, discuss and reach concensus in small groups
    • Continue to hi-light patterns in conversion actors as helpful
    • Learn the 7 common conversion factors we will use this year
  • Assessments
    • self-assessment with exit pass
    • quiz in 2 days
  • Assignment
Day 16
Sept 8
  • Learning Target/Question
    • Learn protocols and their rationale for working safely in the lab
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Lab Safety Video
    • Lab Safety POGIL in small groups, with roles
    • Whole class discussion at key points
  • Assessments
    • Lab Safety Quiz after Day 2
  • Assignment

Day 17
Sept 11
  • Learning Target/Question
    • Learn protocols and their rationale for working safely in the lab, Day 2 and Safety Data Sheets
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Continue POGIL from Day 1
  • Assessments
    • Exit pass
    • Lab Safety Quiz tomorrow
  • Assignment

    • Prepare for quiz
Day 18
Sept 12
  • Lab Safety Quiz
  • Application of measurement skills - collecting density data
  • Begin Gold Penny Lab write-up - Google docs (make folder titled Chemistry-Lastname and share with me
  • Format for writing the explanation to your solution to a problem; lab calculation format
Day 19
Sept 13
  • Make silver and gold pennies in lab
  • Find density of all 3 kinds of pennies
Day 20
Sept 14
  • Learning Target/Question
    • (learning target)
  • Activities/Strategies
    • Activity
    • Strategy
  • Assessments
    • Assessment
    • Assessment
  • Assignment

    • Assignment
    • Assignment
Day 21
Sept 15
  • graphing, analysis of data
  • Quiz - data analysis


NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion Quantity, Energy and Matter

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Disciplinary Core Ideas:


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This work by Luann Christensen Lee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright 1989-2076 L.C.Lee,


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