What is here?

You can find fun activities suitable for a supervised Chemistry club. Each one includes:

  • full-colour student worksheet
  • teacher notes
  • technician notes.

The pages give abbreviated versions of these resources and links to the pdf files.

Health and Safety

When considering carrying out a practical activity with a class, you must check your local health and safety rules. Make an appropriate risk assessment and try the activity yourself first.

Activities focused on colours.

Anodising is an electrolytic process in which the surface of aluminium is prepared to take up dyes. Used soft drinks cans are an inexpensive source of aluminium sheet. This can then be dyed permanently using fabric dyes or fountain pen ink.

It is relatively easy to make blueprinting paper. Objects put on top of the paper block sunlight. An intense blue colour develops where sunlight can get to the paper. After washing, you get a white image of the object on a blue background.

In the days before people learnt how to make artificial dyes, the only way to dye cloth was using natural dyes. This activity involves making some vegetable dyes using simple laboratory methods. The dyes can then be used to dye some cloth.

Timed activities with scoring to find a winner.

We all know that if you let go of an inflated balloon it flies around the room. But can we use a balloon in a more controlled way to power a 'rocket' guided on a piece of string? You have to think carefully if you want to make a fast, long distance rocket.

We haven't got time to build a real lighthouse, but given one hour and some simple materials, we can build a model one. However, this needs team work and vision, as the winning lighthouse will not only be tall, it will be an elegant design with a working light.

Activities with a forensic theme.

It is easy to take your own fingerprints, though it's a bit messy with the ink. With enough care, you can find out what sort of fingerprints you have. You can also identify your friends from their fingerprints.

Different metal salts give off characteristic colours when heated in a Bunsen burner flame. In this activity, you can discover the different coloured flames made by metal ions, and work out which ones are in some 'unknown' salt solutions.

Doctors can learn a lot about a patient from their urine. Some simple chemistry is used in this activity to mimic the look and smell of urine. Different types of urine are made and tested for colour, odour, pH, and the presence or absence of protein and glucose.

Other ideas for activities.

Sodium nitrate solution can be painted onto absorbent paper and left to dry. A smouldering taper will set the paper on fire where the dried sodium nitrate is, and the paper will burn along the lines you have painted. Lots of fun, lots of smoke, and very smelly!

Face masks can be made using plaster of Paris bandages, available from craft shops. These can be modified and decorated in many ways. The activity will fit into three consecutive days, but it could also be done over several weeks as part of a club activity.