During their middle school years in chemistry class, most children are soaking up knowledge like sponge. Unfortunately, this process is often painful for many of the students involved as they see class as something that is boring and a waste of their time. Luckily you can combat this boredom and make your students want to come to class by performing exciting chemistry experiments from time to time. The following two experiments are hand selected to be both exciting (nothing boring here) and a great way to teach your students about different topics.
*Sodium and Water:
To do this experiment, you simply need some of the alkaline metal sodium (don’t use to much!) , and a glass of water. It is also better to do this experiment either outside or in a controlled environment because the explosion resulting from the sodium will cause quite a stir. Simple have your students move a safe distance away and drop the sodium in the water. After you do this, quickly hurry towards your students and watch the reaction. It is best to be wearing safety glasses in case fragments of something fly from the explosion. You can use this experiment to teach your students about many things. You can teach them about different groups of elements on the periodic table and talk about their properties (sodium is an alkaline metal and most metals in its category react the same way with water). Also, you can talk about chemical reactions and talk about the reaction that occurs when the sodium is put in the water.
To do this experiment, you need a container filled with liquid nitrogen, a variety of objects to place in the liquid nitrogen, safety gloves, and a means in which to do this (tongs, a rope, etc..). Liquid Nitrogen is very cold and will give your frostbite instantly if your skin comes in contact with it! Its temperature is one hundred and ninety six degrees Celsius. You can find liquid nitrogen in the specialty science stores for teachers as well as soldering shops. The best things to freeze are things with high water content. In the past, I have seen it done with roses where you freeze the rose and then throw it on the grown to shatter it. You can also do other things with liquid nitrogen, such as make ice cream! Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen is quick and is a great experiment because everyone gets to taste the end result. The best things to talk about after doing this experiment is states of matter, freezing points, boiling points, transfer of energy and so forth.
*WARNING: These experiments are excessively exciting and your students may beg you for similar experiments! As a teacher, be prepared to respond to these requests.*