5 Online Activities for Understanding Chemical Reactions in 5th Grade

To help students better understand the difference between chemical and physical changes, we spent some time using our laptops to further explore both concepts this past Thursday. Students progressed through a number of activities at their own pace to review and exercise their knowledge.

Using Kidblog, my best friend and sharing platform, I made a post with five different links for students to explore. Students who finished before others had fun spending additional time creating chemical bonds through the final link.

Online Activity 1: Compounds and Mixtures

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 5.37.32 PMThis interactive, created by BBC, begins by allowing students to combine two elements. They are then prompted to try to pull them apart, but will be unable to do so. This interactive activity gives students a clear visual of compounds and chemical reactions, as well as the difference between a mixture and a compound (chemical bond). For my class, this provided a good review on separating mixtures as well, which we already explored thoroughly in a number of labs. This activity ends with a short quiz that provides immediate feedback. I think some of the questions are rather tricky for 5th graders, so I allow students to go on to the next activity without completing it.

Added bonus: My students were thorougly entertained by the voiceover’s accent.

Online Activity 2: Heat Makes the Difference

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 5.56.23 PMI use this website to review state changes. My goal is for students to better understand the difference between a physical and chemical change at the end of class. Here, students can see a physical change and that within a physical change matter can be changed back to its original state.

Online Activity 3: Chemical Change Virtual Lab

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 6.03.22 PMStudents read information on how physical and chemical changes are distinguished before viewing four different events and determining whether a physical change or a chemical change took place. Students must complete the observation checklist before submitting an answer, which encourages students to collect data before drawing conclusions.

Online Activity 4: Chemical vs Physical Change Activity

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 6.08.26 PMAfter students “Enter the Lab” and submit a name, they’re given examples of 12 changes. From the information given, students must determine whether a physical or chemical change occured. I like this activity because of the immediate feedback that is paired with an explanation of why each answer is correct or incorrect.

It’s helpful to revisit the Activity 4 examples the following day with the whole class. I go through the changes on the SmartBoard and ask students to offer explanations of each change before we submit our answer as a class. I find this final review helps solidify the concept.

Online Activity 5: Creating Chemical Bonds with the Periodic Table of Elements

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 6.16.42 PMStudents have a blast combining elements to see if they create a chemical bond. This interactive Periodic Table of Elements allows students to drag elements into the lower box. If two elements can create a chemical bond, they will bond together and students will be unable to separate them. If the elements do not create a bond they will remain separated in the box. Information on the elements and the bonds they create is also provided. Sometimes the program will also give a suggestion on an element to add that will create a chemical bond with one that has already been placed in the box.

Important Note: I preview this interactive with students before we begin exploring these websites independently. I show students how to add and remove elements from the box and show them what will happen if a chemical bond is created. You’ll be running around the room like crazy, answering questions if you neglect to preview this site first.

Do you have any online activities that you like to use with your class? Share them in the comments below.

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