Atoms, Polymers, Gases and More - A Guide to High School Chemistry Experiments

Any type of experiment, whether a large scale scientific research endeavor or one performed in a small high school classroom, should be performed with the proper safety precautions in place. When performing any kind of chemistry experiment in the classroom, it’s essential that students use the right safety equipment and understand the proper procedures to avoid serious injury. As students, you should always be sure to have permission to do any kind of experiments first, particularly when using chemicals. Certain chemicals when mixed together can cause volatile reactions, and can be irritating to the eyes, mouth, and lungs. Also, if certain chemicals are spilled, they can cause skin problems and other serious issues.

When performing any kind of experiment, especially with chemicals, eye protection should always be worn. This usually consists of a plastic safety glasses style covering that secures to the head tightly to avoid anything getting into the eyes. A lot of chemical reactions can release gases, which can cause serious eye irritation. Any direct contact with the eyes can even cause blindness. People should not wear contact lenses while working with chemicals, as the chemicals can cause irritation and even blindness in people who are wearing contacts while working with them. Another important safety rule in the lab is to always to have a fire extinguisher on hand. Fires from Bunsen burners or other chemical reactions can occur, so a fire extinguisher should be nearby in the event fires get out of control. Eye wash machines are also important to have, in the event that chemicals do get directly into the eyes. These washes just use water, and can help rinse the chemicals out of the eyes immediately before any potential permanent damage is done.

Another important safety procedure when in the lab is to wear protective gloves. Gloves made out of rubber that are thick and long will protect hands and arms from chemical burns and other chemical related skin injuries. As with anything you experiment with, it should be assumed that all chemicals are dangerous, and that each one should be handled with extreme caution. Make sure you have a partner with you and that you have the proper permission to be in the lab. You should never eat or drink while working in the chemistry lab, and of course, there should never be smoking either. Make sure hands are washed before and after doing any experiments as well. Following these simple safety rules will help to ensure that everyone stays safe while learning new things about the exciting world of chemistry.

Here are some educational and fun chemistry experiments designed for students at the high school level:

  • Acid Rain – Measuring PH – This easy experiment teaches us how to measure PH levels and how acid rain can have an effect on it.
  • Experiments with Ammonia – This experiment educates students about ammonia and its properties.
  • Enzyme Chemistry – Learn more about how the enzymes in food create a chemical reaction that breaks down protein.
  • Baking Soda Bubbles – An easy yet fun experiment using baking soda for students to see the properties of carbon dioxide.
  • Experimenting with CO2 – A simple and safe experiment for students to understand how CO2 works.
  • Fizzing & Foaming – Using just a few simple household materials, you can watch a glass of liquid turn into foam!
  • A Simple Chemistry Experiment – Here is an easy yet interesting chemistry experiment that students can try in the classroom.
  • Polymer Experiments – Find out what one AP chemistry class did with polymers here.
  • Bubble Bomb – This fun and easy experiment shows how carbon dioxide works, and is great for all ages and grade levels.
  • Chemical Energy of Peanuts – Check out how the stored chemical energy found in peanuts can actually create sustainable energy.
  • Crystals – This interesting experiment looks at what happens when certain gases and liquids cool down and lose water.
  • Virtual Chemistry Lab – This interactive chemistry lab allows students to mix different chemicals to determine their reactions.
  • Antacid – An interesting experiment that takes a closer look at acids and bases.
  • Liquid Air Demonstration – See how gases can become liquids with this demonstration.
  • Classic Chemistry Experiments – This printable PDF file has several classic chemistry experiments for students to try.
  • The Blue Bottle – This experiment shows how Glucose (an aldehyde) in an alkaline solution is gradually oxidized by dioxygen, forming gluconic acid.
  • A Copper Cycle – Using copper nitrate, learn about the many properties of the mineral copper.
  • Boyle’s Law – This interactive page helps to demonstrate the famous Boyle’s Law.
  • The Cat’s Meow – This simple and safe experiment shows how different molecules react at the surface of a liquid.
  • A Clock Reaction – This experiment shows different chemical reactions based on quantities of liquids and time spent mixed together.
  • Growing Crystals – Use this website to help demonstrate and experiment with growing different crystals using various elements.
  • Smell the Difference – This experiment shows how different molecules have different properties, even with their smells.
  • Production of Oxygen – This experiment demonstrates to students how to generate oxygen and test its properties.
  • Chemical Reaction Powered Car - This experiment can be used to create a moving car powered by a chemical reaction!
  • Chemistry of Sweat - Use this experiment to see how sweat keeps your body cool.