Mystery Chemical Reactions

Inspire students to explore chemistry, where they analyze data from double-replacement reactions and use evidence from their observations to help identify the reactants and products in chemical reactions.

Grades 9-12 45 min

How can scientists predict the properties of the products of a chemical reaction or design a chemical reaction to produce products with specific properties? Students will be analyzing data from double-replacement reactions to allow them to develop an answer to this Driving Question.

Learning Objectives

  • Predict the identity of the products of a chemical reaction, given the reactants.
  • Write the chemical formula of a substance, given the name of the substance.
  • Use evidence from observations in order to identify the reactants and products in chemical reactions.

What You’ll Need

Hands-on

  • Students and teachers need access to an Internet-connected computer or similar device to complete the investigation. Each device should include software for conducting virtual meetings or teleconferencing so that teachers can conduct class discussions and share content with the class.
  • A webcam would be beneficial, especially on the teacher’s device.

Minds-on

  • Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction.
  • Use mathematical representations to support the claim.

Some chemical reactions produce no visible change, whereas others produce impressive changes in appearance, which clearly indicate to an observer that a chemical change has taken place. With sufficient knowledge of the characteristics of compounds and the elements from which they form, one can make predictions as to the properties of different reactions’ products. In the following investigations, students will be analyzing data from double-replacement reactions to allow them to develop an answer to the Driving Question: How can scientists predict the properties of the products of a chemical reaction or design a chemical reaction to produce products with specific properties?

  • What sorts of evidence are indicative of a chemical change or reaction?

For Students

  • Have students develop a key for determining an unknown chemical on the basis of what they observed and learned from the investigation.
  • Have students research the uses of precipitation reactions, both industrially and for environmental remediation.

For Teachers

  • Suggested vocabulary words are listed in bold in the Student Guide. Consider having students create a glossary in their notebooks.
  • Using the answers developed in response to the Prelab and Assessment questions, have students complete the Skills and Practice exercise.
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