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The next unit we will explore is chemistry. This corresponds to pages 161-179 and pages 207-229 in the textbook. The atoms we have learned about are not always happy and often bind to become more stable. Stability comes with a full outer shell of electrons.


Give an example of an atom that is not chemically stable.


How many electrons does it want to gain / lose to become stable?


When two atoms bind chemically, they produce evidence of the reaction. There are ways to determine a chemical reaction occurred. They are:


Once they bind, the compound takes on an entirely different set of properties (i.e. salt or water). There are different types of bonding.

The formation of covalent bonds can be shown easily with electron dot diagrams. These simply show the outermost electrons of the atom as dots surrounding the symbol for that element. Another representation is a structural diagram. In these, a shared pair of electrons is represented as a line between the two atoms.

An ionic bond is formed when one atom (usually an alkali metal) gives its electron to another atom (usually a halogen). This creates two ions that attract. This bond is looser than a covalent bond.

The bonds an atom forms determines the shape of the object as a whole.


Some of the mixtures do not react. These mixtures could be separated back out. Lets try to separate things:

A mixture is made of two or more substances combined in such a way that they can be easily separated. The atoms have not reacted with each other and therefore retain their own identifying properties.

A solution is a mixture whose substances mix uniformly. The dissolving substance (like water) is called the solvent. The substance dissolved (like salt) is called the solute. The solubility of a solute is the amount that will dissolve in a given amount of solvent at a given temperature. Solubility increases as temperature increases.


Pour a little water in the bottom of a test tube. Tear a thin strip of paper towel. Draw a black line about an inch up from the bottom of the paper towel. Place the paper towel into the test tube with the mark side down (be careful not to let the black mark fall into the water). Set it aside and come back to it later.

Describe what happens to the black mark as the water moves up the paper towel.


How could you separate iron filings from salt?

How could you separate sand, salt, and water from each other?


A compound cannot be separated easily. It is made of two or more different elements that are combined chemically. This combination is always in the same proportion. The term molecule is used to describe any combination of atoms. Molecular formulae! Characteristic properties of compounds can be vastly different from those of the elements that combine to make it.

Bonds form most readily if they complete the outer electron shells of the joining elements making them stable. Sharing electrons is called a covalent bond. More than one electron can be shared.


There are at least four ways to speed up a chemical reaction. They are:


Special compounds like acids and bases need some further explanation. Definitions and examples:

An acid is substance which produces positive hydrogen ions (H+) in water. A base is any substance which produces negative hydroxide ions (OH-) in water. The more concentrated the ion, the stronger the acid or base. Indicators are special compounds that change colors as the concentration of H+ or OH- changes. The strength of an acid or base is measured on the pH scale. The scale goes from 0 (most acidic) - 7 (neutral) - 14 (most basic) and is logarithmic. This means that a 2 is 10 times more acidic than a 3. Acids taste sour, bases taste bitter and feel slippery. Acids are usually a Hydrogen combined to a nonmetal. Bases are usually a Hydroxide combined to a metal.

When you combine an acid and a base, they react to neutralize each other. This produces salt and water. This is actually the definition of a salt: the compound produced in a neutralization reaction when the hydrogen is replaced with another element from the base.

pH scale


Ionic bonds - Two ions of different charge attract each other (gives its e- to the other)

Covalent bond - Two atoms share the same e-

Compounds - different whole than parts (in proportion)

Mixture - two or more substances together, but not reacting with each other

Acids - release H in water

Bases - release OH in water

pH - scale of acidity: 1 - 14

Salts - ionic compound produced from acid + base

Organic - living


Contrast the two different types of bonds, covalent and ionic.

Is a mixture easy to separate?

What is a solute? Solvent?

How would you separate a mixture of sugar and salt?

How would you know if a chemical reaction occurred?

How would you speed up a chemical reaction?

Label acids, bases, and salts.


If you have enjoyed the topics in this unit, feel free to investigate further. Here are some ideas. These are NOT required, but I hope you have fun and delve into some of them:


Continue exploring chemistry further. Dabble with a chemistry kit. Make something cool and bring it in to share.


Create an acid / base chart of common foods (did you know how acidic orange juice is?).


If hydrochloric acid is so strong, why doesn’t it eat away my skin when I spill it; what is molarity / molality?


Write another Dihydrogen Monoxide-like story. Be creative and have fun with it.


There is another type of bond called a hydrogen bond. What is it

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