Kitchen Chemistry Storyline Bundle - Matter, Atoms & Molecules, & Thermal Energy

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    Chemical Kitchen - Storyline Starter Educator Guide


    Investigate matter, atoms, molecules and thermal energy in this three-dimensional, student-driven storyline bundle. Engage students in three-dimensional NGSS-aligned exploration and discovery through a yummy investigation into the science of baking cookies! 

    This Bundle Includes:

    1 Properties Of Matter, Atoms, & Chemical Reactions Phenomenon - Kitchen Chemistry

    Students launch an investigation into properties of matter, physical and chemical changes (like changing states of matter and chemical reactions), and thermal energy transfer by engaging with a kitchen science phenomenon. This activity guides students through baking sugar cookies (with suggested adaptations provided for classrooms who cannot bake in class), making and analyzing their observations, and finally generating questions to begin a student-led NGSS-aligned science storyline.

    2 Launching Learning Into Matter, Atoms and Molecules, and Synthetic Materials

    Engage students in your next atoms, molecules, and synthetic materials unit with this anchor phenomenon learning experience. Students will examine a petition in which parents from the school are demanding the removal of snack items made with high fructose corn syrup. The students’ task is to take on the role and perspective of a school board member and determine how to move forward. This includes evaluating the claims made, identifying what claims and evidence require additional investigation, and generating questions that are necessary to fully analyze the claims presented by the petition. Students will utilize their critical thinking and literacy skills in this activity to generate questions for their NGSS-aligned student-driven learning unit.

    3 Chemical Kitchen Text Workbook - Matter, Atoms, Molecules, & Thermal Energy

    Students solidify their understanding of physical science concepts like properties of matter, atoms and molecules, chemical reactions, and thermal energy transfer and apply these understandings to cooking/baking-related phenomena. (Text includes 22 student pages + answer key)

    This resource is designed to supplement hands-on and minds-on activities for a unit targeting middle school NGSS Performance Expectations related to properties of matter, atoms and molecules, chemical reactions, and thermal energy. This workbook is not meant to take the place of exploration and meaning-making activities nor was it designed to be completed in one sitting. Rather, it is an opportunity to reinforce student understandings developed during learning experiences over the course of a unit storyline.

    This activity is designed to be a part of a larger storyline, such as an investigation into sugar cookies baked with brown sugar vs white sugar. This is the premise of the iExploreScience Curiosity Spark "Chemical Kitchen." This student guide is designed to supplement learning throughout the unit. After uncovering science content ideas through exploration and discovery-based learning activities, students can practice and reinforce their understanding by completing relevant sections of the text. This student guide is best used when sections are assigned and completed following relevant learning activities.

    While it is not necessary to utilize the complete "Chemical Kitchen" student-driven storyline in order to use this student text, references to an initial phenomenon (a timelapse video of cookies baking in an oven -- already included in this text!) are woven throughout the workbook in order to prompt students to apply the science content to real world phenomena.

    4 Properties of Matter Student-Designed Inquiry Lab

    Introduce physical and chemical properties through an inquiry activity in which students carry out simple student-designed investigations to identify properties of matter.

    5 Properties Of Matter Inquiry Lab - Cooking Science Ingredients - Distance Compatible

    Evaluate student understanding by challenging them to apply their understanding of properties of matter to the ingredients in the cookie recipe. They will investigate the properties of each ingredient to determine how it might be identified if it were presented as an unknown. This activity is tied strongly to the Chemical Kitchen Anchor Phenomenon and directly prepares students for the assessment, Uh Oh! Kitchen Mix-Up: How Can I Identify This Stuff? It builds upon How Can Observing Matter Help Us Identify It? This lesson includes 11 student pages + a teacher lesson guide and answer key. 

    6 Particle Theory and Properties Of Matter Investigative Phenomenon

    Spark questions and interest in the idea that matter is made of particles too small to be seen with this three-dimensional activity exploring an investigative phenomenon. Students will begin to understand what makes one substance different from another while generating questions and activating prior knowledge.

    7 Exploring Atoms and Molecules (MS-PS1-1)

    In this lesson, students discover that those small particles that matter is made of are called atoms -- and that atoms can join together in different ways to form molecules. They can join with the same type or different types (different elements) to form these molecules. Students use LEGO/building bricks to develop their models (paper printable included if LEGO/building bricks are not available). This resource includes 11 student pages + teacher lesson plan and answer keys.

    8 Exploring Atoms, Elements, and Atomic Structure PhET Lab Simulation - Distance Included

    Discover atomic structure and subatomic particles in this digital simulation that utilizes the PhET HTML5 sims. Students explore mass and charges of electrons, protons, and neutrons, as well as how changing the number of electrons, protons, and/or neutrons changes the atom.

    9 Understanding Atomic Structure Through Atomic Models - Distance Compatible

    Build and refine student understanding of atomic structure by challenging students to evaluate atomic models to determine what they communicate about the structure and behavior of atoms and molecules. This three-dimensional activity looks closely at the science practice of modeling through a discussion of what atoms and molecules really look like. Since we can’t actually see individual atoms and molecules, scientists use models to represent these “things” so that they can better explain and predict phenomena.

    10 Solubility, Molecular Structure, and Properties Of Matter Phenomenon Lab

    Investigate the solubility of salt and sugar to discover how molecular structure explains observable properties of matter. This activity engages students in an investigative phenomenon (how salt and sugar dissolve at different rates) to spark initial questions and launch their learning forward on a student-driven storyline. After exploring the structure of molecules in subsequent activities (like Chemical Kitchen's Modeling Molecules), students can return to this phenomenon to apply what they have learned and demonstrate their mastery of unit content.

    11 Modeling Molecules - Molecular Structure and Macroscopic Properties Of Matter

    In this activity, students build three dimensional models of first, common molecules and second, those under investigation (salt and sugar) to learn more about bonding, chemical structure, and its impact on observable properties of matter. The first part of this activity engages students in general model-building, while the second part of the activity is strongly tied to the Chemical Kitchen Anchor Phenomenon. This activity includes 8 student pages + a teacher lesson guide and answer key.

    12 Matter Assessment- Properties of Matter & Chemical Reactions - Distance Included

    Engage students in a 3D, NGSS-aligned performance task to assess properties of matter and chemical reactions. Challenge students to identify unknown substances using what they have learned about properties of matter and how they change.

    This lesson builds upon How Can Observing Matter Help Us Identify It? and What’s In The Cookie? [If you did not complete these activities, you can still use this assessment! Just provide students some time to test labeled ingredients to log the properties of each substance before engaging in the assessment task.]

    13 Physical and Chemical Changes In Matter Stations Lab - Cooking Science

    Spark student interest in physical and chemical changes in matter in this stations-style lab activity. Students will investigate physical changes (phase changes, specifically) and chemical changes by observing what happens when thermal energy is added to each ingredient in a typical sugar cookie recipe. (This could be applied to other substances but the investigation is designed to connect back to the Chemical Kitchen anchor phenomenon). By observing how water boils and evaporates, how eggs harden, how sugar melts and then caramelizes, and so on, they can begin to understand the complex chain of changes and reactions that happen within substances (and cookie dough) as thermal energy is transferred.

    Students will walk away with an understanding that the addition of thermal energy changed the ingredients and changed them in different ways. This exploration is a launching point for a closer look at phase changes, as well as chemical reactions, and provides students with tangible experiences and personal examples to build knowledge from and apply learning back to. Students will be ready to investigate their own questions about matter, physical changes, and chemical reactions after this activity. Teachers can return to these examples throughout the unit to reinforce student learning and formatively assess understanding.

    14 Factors That Affect Energy Transfer - Distance Compatible

    In this lesson, students will explore energy transfer and factors that affect it. Students will design an investigation to test the relationship between the volume of water and energy transfer -- as measured by the time it takes to raise the temperature of the water to a specific degree. By the end of the lesson, students can describe one factor that affects energy transfer -- the amount of something -- and use it to explain why their soup is still cold!

    This lesson includes:

    • 50+ student pages
    • detailed teacher lesson guides
    • complete answer keys + rubrics

    *While this bundle was not designed for virtual learning, some of the included resources are compatible with distance learning and include Google Slides digital workbooks.

    How can this lesson be used?

    • engage students in explorations to uncover the science content
    • follow-up explorations with the text workbook to clarify and reinforce understanding and make connections back to real-world phenomena
    • these resources can be used by students individually or in small groups

    How much class time will this take?

    • provided material may two to three weeks to work through, although students who work quickly may move through the material at a faster pace
    • this time frame does not account for additional resources and activities you may incorporate into your unit storyline
    • storyline length can always be adapted to fit your needs

    Is this NGSS-aligned?

    This resource is part of a storyline (Chemical Kitchen) designed to work toward the tagged Next Generation Science Standards. Because Performance Expectations are designed to assess learning by the end of the grade band, unit material may not fully assess every Performance Expectation tagged in the post. This bundle does not include the entire Chemical Kitchen storyline.

    • 5-PS1-3 Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. 
    • MS-PS1-1 Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.  
    • MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.  
    • MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.  
    • MS-PS1-5 Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved. 

    What if I have questions?

    You can email me at with questions about resources or implementation. I'm happy to help!

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    Terms Of Use:

    Copyright © 2022 iExploreScience LLC. All pages of this product are copyrighted, and all rights are reserved by the author. You may not create anything to sell or share based on this packet. The product is created for the use of ONE teacher. Please do not share with colleagues. If they like the product, please send them to my TpT store. I appreciate your support with this request! You are permitted to share ONLY the cover image of this product on your blog or via social media as long as you link back to my product on TpT. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

    *Note: NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.

    Total Pages
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    Included with rubric
    Teaching Duration
    1 month
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. Examples of materials to be identified could include baking soda and other powders, metals, minerals, and liquids. Examples of properties could include color, hardness, reflectivity, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, response to magnetic forces, and solubility; density is not intended as an identifiable property. Assessment does not include density or distinguishing mass and weight.
    Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
    Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed. Emphasis is on qualitative molecular-level models of solids, liquids, and gases to show that adding or removing thermal energy increases or decreases kinetic energy of the particles until a change of state occurs. Examples of models could include drawings and diagrams. Examples of particles could include molecules or inert atoms. Examples of pure substances could include water, carbon dioxide, and helium.
    Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. Examples of reactions or changes could include phase changes, dissolving, and mixing that forms new substances. Assessment does not include distinguishing mass and weight.
    Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. Examples of reactions could include burning sugar or steel wool, fat reacting with sodium hydroxide, and mixing zinc with hydrogen chloride. Assessment is limited to analysis of the following properties: density, melting point, boiling point, solubility, flammability, and odor.


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