Be sure you are familiar with all safety requirements before selecting an activity and purchasing and using chemicals.
Chemistry for Informal Educators content on howtosmile funded by The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
Chemistry tends to be difficult for many students, partly because of the challenges in both teaching and understanding how macroscopic observations relate to the nanoscale behavior of particles. Research suggests that focusing on the most important concepts can help students build their understanding.
The following nine lists of howtosmile activities are organized based on a set of core concepts in chemistry that were proposed by chemist Peter Atkins in his article "Skeletal chemistry."
There are many resources on the web to help educators follow safe procedures while using chemicals.
Before purchasing and using any of the chemicals suggested in the activities compiled on this site, it is essential that you prepare to store, use, and dispose of chemicals safely. Be sure you:
The Regents of the University of California and howtosmile.org assume no responsibility for your use of chemicals or for the safety of any of the activities in the howtosmile.org collection. These materials are provided for information only.
Following are several links with helpful safety information.
The "NCW (National Chemistry Week) and Community Activity SAFETY GUIDELINES," published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), provide useful safety guidelines for presentations, hands-on activities, and demonstrations.
The American Chemical Society’s poster can be used to remind learners of "Milli's Safety Tips."
For each chemical cataloged in howtosmile at least one retailer is noted. The link provided in howtosmile.org is usually to the smallest quantity of a chemical offered by the retailer. To minimize chemical waste, the American Chemical Society (ACS) advises that "for many reasons, less is not only better; it is less risky and less expensive."
Retailers might have multiple variations of the same chemical. Make sure you are buying the right amount, the right quality (cheaper is often fine), and the exact chemical you want. (For example, is the chemical supposed to be anhydrous/without water? Should it be in solid form, or in solution?)
(Note: One of the retailers, Flinn Scientific, sells only to educational institutions.)
All chemicals in the howtosmile.org website are catalogued according to the Flinn Storage System. Some chemicals are also cataloged with the Stanford Storage Group System. This system is a convenient approach to chemical storage when space and the size of the chemical inventory are limited. Since the system works with only two shelves (plus additional shelves for more hazardous substances), it can be used in many situations.
Anyone who undertakes an activity or experiment involving chemicals is responsible for properly disposing of chemical waste. The following resources provide information that will help you choose an appropriate disposal method. As always, be sure you are informed of federal, state, local, and district regulations before you dispose of any chemical.
Chemical information and images are taken from the Flinn and Oxford MSDS, the Flinn catalog, and Wikipedia. The List of commonly available chemicals from Wikipedia and the Acid-Base Indicators at General Chemistry Online! provided additional information.
Select from the list below to search for activities that include the chemicals you choose.