Demonstrating that chemistry really is everywhere.

If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their findings.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • Observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius.
  • Demonstrate that dissolving, mixing and changes of state are reversible changes.
  • Explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • That chemistry plays many important roles in our day to day lives.

Suggested activity use

These activities can be done as a whole class carousel of activities to demonstrate that chemistry is everywhere, including in items you may buy at the supermarket. A number of adults may be required to supervise the various tasks.

These activities would be suitable to be used as part of a science week, or just individual activities picked to stimulate discussion and questioning at the start of a relevant topic.

Practical considerations

Extra adults will be required to help supervise the activities if running them as a carousel.

Primary schools may find it difficult to get hold of some of the chemicals required for some of the activities.

When using this activity, it is possible to introduce or reinforce the misconception that the formation of ice cream is a reversible change. In fact this isn’t true. The formation of the substance called ice cream from its original ingredients is a chemical change, and hence is irreversible. Once formed, the substance is frozen, allowed to melt to a liquid form, and then frozen back to a solid again, so this process could be argued as being a reversible change of state – solid to liquid to solid.