Monday, January 31, 2011


Today students began class with a jump in about the phases of matter. Once we went over the jump in, we began going over the homework from all the snow days. Students did an excellent job of getting their work done and did well on it. We went over it in bits and then gave them a chance to go back and refine their answers. Congratulations to the winners of the Physical/Chemical challenge.

Today we made sure that everyone had a good handle on density in regards to definition, math and formulas, and what it actually means. I do not float in Lake Anna, but I do float in the ocean - therefore I am more dense than Lake Anna and less dense than the ocean.

Students made predictions for a density column including corn syrup, water, mouthwash, baby oil, and vegetable oil. Things that are more dense-sink, things that are less dense-rise to the top, things with similar densities-mix. Then I poured the liquids in a randomly asked for order and students looked at how the layers formed because of the differences in density. They also fielded oral questions as the demonstration was performed. Here is a photo of a similar demo.

Students received grade sheets to check their progress and get missing work turned in. Tonight's homework is a Density Practice Sheet. If tomorrow is a snow day, then students should work on the "mixing solutions" sheet. Both are half sheets.

There will be a quiz this week, Thursday or not.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's an early dismissal - but we are still busy!

We began first period this morning with a recording of a thundering rainstorm until we needed some disco music to wake us up. Students started with some sorting cards about solids, liquids, and gases. Once sorted, they copied this information into their notes, re-checked their homework assignment dealing with that topic assignments, and then we went over their answers. Because of the shortened schedule this is the same material we covered in second and fourth.
In first, because the period was longer, we also discussed the meaning of density, the effects of density, and how to calculate density. 

Density is how close together the particles are in a substance. If they are close together the substance is more dense. If the particles are far apart, the substance is less dense. Because densities differ, you can make a density column like the one pictured to the left. I will be demonstrating one the next time we have class. 

We also discussed colligative properties. Adding solutes to a solution changes basic properties like melting points and boiling points, no matter what solute is added. A perfect tie-in for today. Salt is put on our roadways to LOWER the freezing point of water to about -4*C. Because the freezing point is lowered, the ice appears to melt and stay liquid, thus making our roads less icy. They do not salt the roads in places where the normal daily temperature is below 0 because the salt would have little effect.

Because it doesn't matter what the solute is, sugar could be used for the same purpose - it is just a lot more expensive! To read more, click here.

Tonight's homework is boxes F & G on the green sheet and to the density stuff on the back of Monday's homework. (it's a full page with the jars on the front)
If we miss school tomorrow students should complete the "Stranded" half sheet and the "Phases/PC sort" sheet. They should also work on B and I on the green sheet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Slide 2
Tonight – A and C on Green Sheet
If we miss 1 day
Complete “Stranded!” half sheet
Complete “Phases/P&C Sort half Sheet”
If we miss 2 days
B, F, G and I on Green Homework Sheet
These may or may not be assigned if we do not miss school

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unit 1 Test

Today students started class by reviewing the scientific method. We finished this contest from the previous day. Winners in first were Colleen and Chris, second were Jessi and Jason, and in fourth Moe, Meagan, Mark, and Mikayla.

We went over the previous night's homework (scientific method and wrap-up) and then commenced the Unit 1 Test. Students felt good about the test.

Tonight's homework is to do the front a phase sheet (most completed in class) and to finish their blue sheet.

Tomorrow students will have new seats and begin Unit 2 on Matter.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finishing up Unit 1

We are finishing up Unit 1. On Wednesday we covered scientific notation and went over the snowman homework that seemed to give everyone trouble. We watched a BrainPop on Precision and Accuracy followed by a difficult quiz and finished class with a math challenge. Homework was boxes EGJ.

On Thursday we started class with a precision vs accuracy challenge involving bullseyes, figures, and percent error. We covered scientific method and then worked through some fake scenarios like if Albert licked his pencils would they stay sharper longer and if Wellesley drank a sports drink would it make him run faster? Students took a Thursday quiz that covered all the math essential to this unit. Overall students did well, but many now know what they need to focus on - like including units. Thursday's homework was to make sure packets are complete and to work on a Unit 1 Review Sheet. Students were given another worksheet (SM and Wrap-up) in case snow closed school Friday.

Friday we began with another jump in on significant digits. We then discussed the previous days quiz and worked through Math Challenge 2. Students finished class with some goofy dimensional analysis coupled with switching partners every round by playing rock, paper, scissors. Homework is the SM and Wrap-Up sheet given previously and the Unit 1 Test is Monday.

In the event of snow on Tuesday, students will be given assignments to work on at home. These assignments will be due upon return to school. It is essential that we keep moving so that we can cover all the material before the state test at the end of term.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rainbow Lab

Today class began with going over last night's homework on quantitative and qualitative self-observations, going over units and variables, and determining the number of neutrons.

Next, a few volunteers through the squishy whales at a bullseye. We then discussed who was the closest to the middle and who was the most consistent. This related to accuracy (how close a measurement is to the real measurement) and precision (how close a set of points are to each other) which is what we discussed first. We did some examples as a class and then tied accuracy and precision to percent error, a formula we learned last week.

We finished the notes by discussing significant digits. Significant digits are used so that our calculations are not more precise than our measurements. All digits other than zero are significant. Its the zeros that are the tricky ones. We went over the rules and then did some practice situations. We will continue to practice this next week.

We finished class by performing our first lab. This lab is entitled Mixing Solution and is a task designed to see if students can follow directions and practice good lab safety. All classes did an excellent job with the lab. If they students were precise and accurate, they should have ended with six test tubes in rainbow order with the exact same amount of water in each test tube. Not everyone achieved this, but most were pretty close. Here are some photos from the lab. 

Tonight's homework is the snowman conversion sheet and to finish the rainbow lab.
There will be a Unit 1 Test next Friday.

Enjoy the three day weekend.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today we started class with conversions involving some measurement the students made over the weekend. They measured their phones using their thumbs, their TVs and refrigerators with their hands, and their rooms with their feet. In class we measured those body parts and then converted them into more usual units.

Next we did conversions with some of the crazy things people do to get in the Guinness Book of World Records - like longest ear hair, skinniest waist, tallest man, etc. I think the one the kids thought was the weirdest was the lady who can pop her eyes out 12mm.

After all that review, students took their Thursday Quiz and followed up with notes on quantitative and qualitative measureements.

Tomorrow we will be doing a lab so students need to wear appropriate clothing. Homework tonight is boxes A, C, and F on the blue sheet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tonight's homework is boxes B and H on the blue homework sheet. Also try box I if you didn't get it the night before. 

Don't forget that tomorrow is Thursday... that means you have a quiz. This quiz will cover percent error, lab equipment, and dimensional analysis.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Snow Day!

Happy Snow Day to everyone. Please do not forget to do last night's homework (Box D and I on the blue homework sheet). If you would like to get ahead on the homework sheet, go right ahead. There are plenty of things you ought to know how to do.

Yesterday, students started with percent error. Anyone who could remember the formula from Friday and told me got a snowflake sticker. Then we measured three classroom objects and calculated percent error based on what I said the actual measurements were. I think we have gotten our first formula dow pat.

Next we went over lab equipment. Here is a good handout to review them. Students tried on their own to id the equipment before I told them what everything was and were quite successful.

We finished class with some dimensional analysis. Dimensional analysis (or train tracks) is used to convert from one unit to another. Right now we are just learning the process, but these conversions are very important in chemistry and even have their own special name in that regard - stoichiometry.

The important thing to remember in conversions is to match the units diagonally (and usually down) so they cancel and you are able to convert to the new unit you are trying to get to. Some conversions are going to take more than one step. For right now we are doing a mix of standard conversions and completely made up ones.

Anyone who needs help with this needs to let me know! This website has a pretty good explanation.

Enjoy the snow day everyone and come back ready to learn!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Best of Safety Photos

Students took safety photos in class - both correct and incorrect - to review the safety rules for the required safety test. Many of the photos were quite good and some hilarious. Here are some of my favs. If you know of one that you liked that I didn't post, please let me know and I will add it.
Aaron is not disposing of these chemicals correctly
a chemical spill!
Samantha has a cracked beaker!
do not play with flames in the hallway, especially with a volatile liquid
waft chemicals
point heated things away from everyone
dale just looks like he is having fun
nadya is dead and sam is trying to tell me about it
mark and william are bleeding and they touched the blood - a big no no!
oops... more blood. tell the teacher and no one should touch it
Briana is a great lab model
Kelsi has chemicals in her eye - rinse in the eye wash for 20 min and tell the teacher
Aren't these funny?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 2 of Chemistry

Today students began class by looking at a Material Safety Data Sheet on Sodium Chloride (salt) and answering questions about it. Although we use table salt every day, in large quantities and in certain situations it can be dangerous.

We looked at first period's safety photos and then second and third period took their photos. I left my disk at school, so I will try to post some of those tomorrow. Needless to say, they are hilarious. Fourth period was especially creative with fake blood and chemicals in the eye, whereas second got creative with heat and flame safety.

Students moved to their new seats - alphabetical by first name - so MsJ can learn them, took their first Thursday Quiz on the syllabus (Do you know how to spell Jancaitis?) and then played Fact or Scat to get to know each other and go over some safety rules. Students enjoyed the game and probably liked the getting to know you questions better than the content ones.

Tonight's homework is to get the safety rules signed and to study for tomorrow's safety test.

Friday's homework is a worksheet called Thumb-possible and measuring items around the house using body parts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Day of Class

Today was a get-to-know-you sort of day. Students started with an informal survey and drew a picture of themselves that I will use to help learn their names (I am terrible at names). I familiarized the students with classroom procedures, discussed homework and classwork, and let them know how class was going to run.

We went over the safety rules (test on Friday) by looking at a safety cartoon and trying to identify all the rules. In fourth period Dee and Moe both scored over sixty-five points. Others in other classes did well too, I just need to learn their names.

In first period, we started taking safety photos related to the safety rules.I haven't had a chance to look at all of them yet... but here is a good one. Perhaps I will learn what that tool is for. Second and Fourth period are taking their photos tomorrow.

Please read over the syllabus and safety rules and get those safety rules signed. Tomorrow will be the syllabus quiz. Safety Test is Friday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! Welcome back!

Greetings students, parents, and guardians.

Welcome to a new school year with Ms Jancaitis! This blog has been set up to connect students, parents, and guardians with the chemistry class.

At Open House or in class, each student will receive a course syllabus, safety rules, and a breakage sheet. The safety rules and breakage sheet needs to be read and signed by both the student and parent guardian.

  1. The course syllabus outlines what the course will be like, what topics will be covered, and course expectations. It also contains contact information. There will be a quiz on this syllabus on Thursday.
  2. The safety rules are rules designed to keep the classroom safe and orderly to maximize learning and prevent accidents and injuries. These rules need to be studied because there will be a safety test on Friday and infractions of these rules can lead to disciplinary action as well as low assignment grades.
  3. A breakage sheet is a contract holding students accountable for the items that are broken if the student is acting a manner that is unsafe for themselves or those around them.
Please have these papers signed and returned by Friday. Students not returning signed safety rules and breakage sheets will not be able to participate in labs and activities until the contracts are signed and returned.