Flame tests are many students favorite lab in chemistry because the colors are so vivid and distinct. In an effort to improve student understanding of E=hf and to inspire them to understand that electrons returning to a lower shell emit energy in quantized units, I open the topic of light (which is pretty early in the course, now) with an ion flame test inquiry lab using ordinary household materials like salt, antacids, and detergent. Students work in pairs or trios to determine which ion is causing the colors – the metal or the non-metal.
This enlightening activity then motivates them to work through the mathematics and makes the metallic ion version of the flame testing lab later in the unit even better. On average, my class averages on the test on this unit went up 8 points by adding this activity. Inquiry labs rock!
This lab is designed much like a boxed microchem lab. Once it is set up, you can store it in your supply room in a box and just pull it out and go, year after year.
This product includes a Power Point to introduce the products and the topic, student lab sheet, student data tables for lab books, teacher instructions for set up and management, and tent cards to facilitate organization for students.
• Inquiry Based Activity
• Reinforcement of difficult concepts
• Cooperative Learning
• Teacher instructions
• Student handouts and lab book forms
Key words: Planck, energy, electron, emission, light, frequency, spectroscope, spectrometer, spectral lines, flame, colors, chemistry, experiment, laboratory, lab, pre-AP, inquiry