In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about physical and chemical changes. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Physical and Chemical Changes topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Physical and Chemical Changes
Give each student one or two pieces of scrap paper, newsprint, or pages from old magazines. Challenge them to work in groups to create as many physical changes for the paper as possible. They may want to tear, cut, or color on the piece of paper. They can crumble or even wet the paper too. Encourage students to be creative! Afterward, have each group share a few of their examples with the whole class. Then challenge the groups to think of how paper can go through chemical changes. They do not have to carry out the changes, only list their ideas. Have them share these with the class.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Demonstrate a chemical change for the whole class. Have students observe baking soda and vinegar in their separate bowls and write down the properties. Then combine the two together in a large bowl. (Be sure students stand away from the bowl.) What happens? Have students take notes, draw pictures, or even take photos. Explain that when baking soda and vinegar are combined, they go through a chemical change. Bubbles form because a gas is released, which is a byproduct of the chemical change!
Family and Homeschool Activities for Physical and Chemical Changes
Science in the Kitchen
Cook with your child and explore science in the kitchen! As you cook a meal, ask your child to identify the type of change each food is undergoing. For example, when you chop vegetables, do they go through physical or chemical changes? Why? When you cook them, are they going through physical or chemical changes? Why? Have your child take notes as you cook together. He or she may want to draw pictures or take photos of ingredients before and after they are changed.
Take a walk with your child around your community or at a park. Then point out all the physical and chemical changes that are happening around you! For example, you might study a dying plant and observe its brown leaves or wilted flowers. What type of change does a plant go through when it dies? You may want to study a crack in the sidewalk. What kind of change is that? Have your child write down what you see together on the walk and draw pictures or take photos. Why is land always changing? Discuss together.