MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Student Chemical Reactions Demonstrations

Student Chemical Reactions Demonstrations

Submitted by Kendra Haver, Fridley Area Learning Center, Fridley, MN

Original Author - Rachelle Haroldson, Fridley High School, Fridley, MN
Author Profile


In this chemistry lab demonstration, students are given a set of instructions for producing chemical reactions. Students work in pairs or small groups to investigate the reaction they are given. They determine what has occurred, what is produced, what type of reaction that has occurred, and write a chemical equation for it. The students will then demonstrate their reaction to the class with the explanation.

Learning Goals

The students will observe a chemical reaction given a set of instructions. The student will determine the balanced chemical equation of the reaction. The student will determine the type of chemical reaction that has occurred based on the results. The student will provide a demonstration and explanation of that reaction to the class.

Concepts covered include types of chemical reactions, writing balanced equations, and conducting safe laboratory experiments.

Context for Use

For this lab, students will need two or three 50-minute class periods to conduct the experiment and then demonstrate depending on the class size. Basic chemistry lab equipment and safety equipment will be needed. There is also a need for quite a few chemicals that can be ordered from a science supply company like Flinn, Carolina, or Fischer. Students should already be familiar with types of chemical reactions and how to write balanced equations. Although this lab is designed for a high school General Chemistry course, it could easily be adapted for other situations by using more guidance, use of different chemicals, or doing the demonstration yourself.

Subject: Chemistry:General Chemistry:Chemical Reactions
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: High School (9-12)

Description and Teaching Materials

This lab/demo is a good way for students to review and apply their knowledge of describing an actual chemical reaction with verbal descriptions and balanced chemical equations. It also provides them the opportunity to work collaboratively to explain and teach to the classmates.

Materials needed for this activity:
Bunsen burners
test tubes
test tube racks
test tube clamps or tongs
wood splints
Mg ribbons
Cu ribbons
CaCl2 Student Instructions Chemical Reaction Demos-short detail (Microsoft Word 33kB Sep18 08) Instructor Key Chemical Reaction Demos (Microsoft Word 94kB Sep18 08) Student Instructions Chemical Reaction Demos-long detail (Microsoft Word 115kB Sep18 08)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Answer key provided shows what to look for when assessing student learning. The students will hand in their observation tables. A rubric can be made to assess the student demonstrations.


9-12 II.B.1,4 chemical reactions -Describing chemical equations using words and balanced equations; describing rearrangement of atoms.

References and Resources