Analysis #10

(grades 5-10)
Soft-bound, 48 page book, 16 reproducible task cards, full teaching notes.

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An excellent introduction to chemical analysis, even for students with no chemistry background. Follow simple flowcharts to separate mixtures, observe safe interactions between household substances, compare pH, and more. Simple and elegant.

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Analysis Starter Kit

book not included, please order separately

WE SUPPLY in quantities that serve one student or two students working in a lab pair: sublimed sulfur, alum, baking soda, corn starch, fine-grained popcorn salt, fine-grained confectioners sugar, sand, cleanser, garden lime, aspirin tablets, seltzer tablets, ascorbic acid, ammonia, vinegar, tincture of iodine, aluminum foil, waxed paper, candles, red and blue litmus paper, masking tape, 10 mL graduated cylinder, dropper bottles, eye droppers, clothespins, bottle caps, index cards, straight pins. YOU SUPPLY purple cabbage, can of beets, heat source for drying (Bunsen burner, hot plate or warm radiator), and lab balances. (Purchase Weighing #05 to make an improvised balance accurate to 0.01 g. Or buy the Pocket Gram Scale, listed below, accurate to 0.1 g.)


  • free activity
  • book content
  • get materials
  • teaching tips
  • objectives
  • standards

Table of Contents for #10 Analysis:

Preparation and Support

A TOPS Model for Effective Science Teaching • Getting Ready • Gathering Materials • Sequencing Task Cards • Gaining a Whole Perspective• Long Range Objectives • Review/Test Questions

Activities and Lesson Notes

  1. 1. Read a Flow Chart
  2. 2. Sand from Salt (1)
  3. 3. Sand from Salt (2)
  4. 4. Write a Flow Chart
  5. 5. Reaction Table (1)
  6. 6. Reaction Table (2)
  7. 7. Powder Puzzles (1)
  8. 8. Powder Puzzles (2)
  9. 9. The Litmus Test
  10. 10. Dilute or Neutralize?
  11. 11. Titration

  • 12. Cabbage Water Indicator
  • 13. Color Recipes
  • 14. What's the pH?
  • 15. Beet Juice Indicator
  • 16. Buffers Resist Change
  • Supplementary Pages

    pH color chart


    Complete Master List for #10 Analysis:

    Key: (1st/2nd/3rd) denote needed quantities: (1st) enough for 1 student doing all activities; (2nd) enough for 30 students working in 10 lab groups all self-paced; (3rd) enough for 30 students working in 10 lab groups, all doing the same lesson. Starred* items may be purchased below.

    1. * 1/10/10: small graduated cylinders, 10 mL
    2. 1/1/1: jar of sand
    3. 1/1/1: source of water
    4. 1/10/10: Bunsen burners (or an electric hot plate or warm radiator)
    5. * 2/20/20: Pyrex beakers, 50 to 100 mL capacity (or substitute crucibles or tuna cans)
    6. 2/20/20: watch glasses (or substitute tin can lids or crucibles or squares of cardboard)
    7. 1/10/10: tongs (or substitute clothespins)
    8. 1/10/10: scissors
    9. * 1/10/10: gram balances
    10. 1/1/1: bottle sublimed sulfur

    11. * 5/50/50: bottle caps
    12. 1/10/10: index cards
    13. * 1/1/1: roll masking tape
    14. 1/1/1: packages each of: alum, baking soda, corn starch, salt and sugar. Include a dispensing spoon with each box.
    15. 1/10/10: dropper bottles each of: white vinegar, iodine, water and ammonia.
    16. * 2/20/20: additional dropper bottles
    17. * 1/10/10: paper clips
    18. * 1/1/1: rolls aluminum foil
    19. * 1/10/10: candles with drip catchers (or Bunsen burners or alcohol lamps)
    20. * 5/10/5: baby food jars or equivalent with lids

    21. * 10/100/100: strips each of red and blue litmus paper
    22. 1/1/1: roll waxed paper
    23. * 1/1/1: small portions each of cleanser and garden lime dispensed in labeled lids
    24. 1/10/10: aspirin tablets
    25. * 1/10/10: straight pins
    26. 1/1/1: head red (purple) cabbage
    27. 1/2/2: lemons (bottled concentrate or ascorbic acid crystals)
    28. 1/1/1: can beets
    29. 1/10/10: seltzer tablets

    Convenient Shopping:

    Analysis Class Kit

    book not included, please order separately

    WE SUPPLY all items in our Starter Kit, in class quantities that serve up to 30 students organized into 10 lab groups. YOU SUPPLY other materials as detailed above.

    Aluminum Foil

    regular strength, 20 square feet x 12 inches rolls

    Buy aluminum foil here as a convenience item, or for less in many grocery stores.

    Baby Food Jars - assorted

    without lids

    Each set includes 4 small, 4 medium and 4 large glass jars.


    50 mL, heat-resistant Pyrex

    Needed for #10 Analysis and #12 Solutions.

    Bottle Caps

    crimped-edge, new

    Ideal for counting, uniform weights, and mini-containers to hold small portions of chemicals. These unused caps flare more widely than recycled caps. Used bottle caps, if unbent/undamaged, are an excellent free alternative.

    Candles - emergency

    cylindrical, 5 inches by about 3/4 inches diameter

    Also called utility candles. A handy heating source. Correctly sized for #09 Floating and Sinking. Drip catchers not included.

    Dropper Bottle with Eyedropper

    1/2 ounce, amber glass

    Very handy for storing and conveniently dispensing small quantities of liquid. You may also purchase eyedroppers without bottles as item #1120.

    Lime - garden

    powdered calcium hydroxide

    Needed in #11 Oxidation to make limewater, the classic test for carbon dioxide. Only one small pinch is needed per liter.

    Graduated Cylinder - 10 mL

    shatter resistant plastic on stable base

    An important lab inquiry tool for measuring small liquid volumes.

    Gram Pocket Scale

    digital, pocket size

    Digitally weighs up to 500 grams, plus tare container. Sensitive to 0.1 gram in multiple weight units. Durable, but not childproof. Comes with two AAA batteries to get you started.

    Litmus Paper

    100 red strips and 100 blue strips in 2 tubes

    Traditional acid/base indicator strips. Red strips turn blue in base; blue strips turn red in acid. Needed for #10 Analysis

    Paper Clips

    size #1, steel, box of 100

    Paper clips have 1001 uses in TOPS experiments, and science in general. Feel free to use paper clips you already have, but be aware that different brands come in different sizes and weights. In experiments where uniformity is important, don't mix brands.

    Straight Pins

    steel, one and 1/16 inch long

    Used in many TOPS experiments. Sometimes required for their magnetic properties. Don't purchase aluminum straight pins by mistake.

    Tape - masking

    3/4 inch x 55 yd roll

    A handy science supply used in most TOPS modules.

    Teaching Tips for #10 Analysis:

    We encourage improvisation - it's one of the main goals of our hands-on approach! You and your students might invent a simpler, sturdier or more accurate system; might ask a better question; might design a better extension. Hooray for ingenuity! When this occurs, we'd love to hear about it and share it with other educators. Please send ideas and photos to

    Lesson by Lesson Objectives for #10 Analysis:

    1. Lesson 1: To learn how to interpret flow chart instructions.
    2. Lesson 2: To separate a mixture of salt and sand following flow chart directions.
    3. Lesson 3: To separate a mixture of salt and sand quantitatively, following flow chart directions.
    4. Lesson 4: To develop a flow chart for quantitatively separating sand and sulfur.
    5. Lesson 5: To develop a reaction table to use as a reference for identifying unknown powders.
    6. Lesson 6: To react powders in combination and observe possible masking effects. To further refine a table of reactions to be used in identifying unknown powders.
    7. Lesson 7: To qualitatively analyze the composition of various mixtures of white powders, using testing agents that react in characteristic ways.
    8. Lesson 8: To continue analyzing the composition of various mixtures of white powder, using testing agents that react in characteristic ways.
    9. Lesson 9: To discover how litmus paper responds to acids, bases and neutral solutions.
    10. Lesson 10: To distinguish between water dilutions and acid-base neutralizations. To observe that the strength of an acid or base is reduced most effectively by neutralizing it.
    11. Lesson 11: To compare the relative strengths of vinegar and ammonia by titrating with litmus paper.
    12. Lesson 12: To investigate the properties of cabbage water as an acid-base indicator.
    13. Lesson 13: To examine the broad range of colors that cabbage water exhibits in response to acids and bases of various strengths.
    14. Lesson 14: To estimate the pH of acids and bases by observing color changes in cabbage water. To confirm these results with litmus paper.
    15. Lesson 15: To study how beet juice interacts with acids and bases. To correlate its color change with pH.
    16. Lesson 16: To observe how buffered solutions neutralize both excess acid and base to maintain a stable pH.

    National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) for #10 Analysis:

    TEACHING Standards

    These 16 Task Cards promote excellence in science teaching by these NSES criteria:
    Teachers of science...
    A: ...plan an inquiry-based science program. (p. 30)
    B: and facilitate learning. (p. 32)
    C: ...engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning. (p. 37)
    D: and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. (p. 43)

    CONTENT Standards

    These 16 Task Cards contain fundamental content as defined by these NSES guidelines (p. 109).
    • Represent a central event or phenomenon in the natural world.
    • Represent a central scientific idea and organizing principle.
    • Have rich explanatory power.
    • Guide fruitful investigations.
    • Apply to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
    • Can be linked to meaningful learning experiences.
    • Are developmentally appropriate for students at the grade level specified.

    Unifying Concepts and Processes

    NSES Framework: Systems, order, and organization • Evidence, models and explanation • Constancy, change, and measurement • Evolution and equilibrium • Form and function
    Core Concepts/Processes: Common household substances have acid-base properties which may be investigated with comon household pH indicators.

    Science as Inquiry (content standard A)

    NSES Framework: Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. • Design and conduct a scientific investigation. • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. • Think critically and logically to connect evidence and explanations. • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. • Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
    Core Inquiries: Develop reaction tables and flow charts to test what substances unknowns contain (qualitative analysis) and how much they contain (quantitative analysis)

    Physical Science (content standard B)

    NSES Framework:Heat • Properties and changes of properties in matter • Chemical reactions • Interactions of energy and matter
    Core Content:Flowcharts • Qualitative analysis • Quantitative analysis • Acids • Bases • Neutral solutions • pH • Titration • Buffers