Chemistry Basics

Lesson Title: Chemistry Basics: What is Chemistry? (1 of 5)
Academic Standards: HS-PS1-3
Content Creator: Mrs. Wendy Martin
Level: High School
Duration: 25-35 min
  /  Chemistry Basics: What is Chemistry? (1 of 5)


  • Define matter.
  • Understand the phase changes of matter.
  • Know the difference between a physical property and a chemical property.
  • Be able to identify physical and chemical properties of an element.
  • Discuss the difference between a physical change and a chemical change.


Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Chemistry is the study of matter and all of the changes that matter goes through. Everything around you is matter. Therefore, chemistry is all around you! To understand changes that are going on in your world, an understanding of how matter is organized is needed. This first class is a basic introduction to matter, the physical and chemical properties of matter and the physical and chemical changes that matter go through. Students will be introduced these concepts through various hands-on activities.


  1. Start in lecture room.
  2. Introduce class with 2D video on Matter.
  3. Discuss the phases of matter.
  4. Move to lab area and do phase activity. See ancillary section for description.
  5. Watch 360 video on density. Link in ancillary section.
  6. Discuss physical properties and chemical properties.
  7. Move to open space and do properties activity. See ancillary section for description.
  8. End class with a description of physical and chemical changes and examples of both.

Demonstratives & Media

Suggested Ancillary Support

2D video on Matter: Phase activity: I had three IFXs; a cloud, a bottle of water and an ice cube.  One per lab table. Students were given a collection of sticky notes and as a group, took the sticky notes to the correct lab station. Sticky notes for solids included: definite shape, definite volume, tightly packed molecules, incompressible. Sticky notes for liquids included: molecules flow past one another, constant volume, takes shape of container but doesn't always fill, virtually incompressible, less tightly packed molecules. Sticky notes for gas: conforms to shape of container and fills it, molecules far apart, easily compressed, molecules move past one another. 360 field trip link (density): Have a copper atom in the middle of room. Have the word physical on one side and chemical on the other. Give them option on sticky notes and have them place notes on physical or chemical side. Use whatever properties of copper you wish. There ate many to choose from and easy to find.