Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!

Chemical Reactions

Brittany Bowens, Lindsey Link | Published: October 11th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th
  • Subject Subject
  • Course Course Chemistry, Physical Science
  • Time Frame Time Frame 125 minutes
  • Duration More 2-3 periods


This lesson is a basic introduction to setting up a chemical equation. This could be part of a unit for physical science and can be done as a refresher or opener in chemistry for chemical equations.

Essential Question(s)

What happens to atoms during chemical reactions?



Students identify what they know about chemical reactions and watch a phenomenon on a reaction between a lit candle and water.


Students organize and decide reactants and products for various scenarios.


Students watch a video of the different types of reactions and an ICAP video in which Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson discusses the career opportunities as an OKC firefighter and the different reactions they face.


Students apply and demonstrate the different types of chemical reactions.


Students explain their understanding of matter flow in a reaction using the I Used to Think, But Now I Know strategy.


  • Setup that allows videos and slideshows to be played for everyone to view

  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Chain Notes & Exit Ticket handout (attached; one per student)

  • Chemical Equations Card Sort (attached; one per group)

  • Chemical Equations Card Sort Handout (attached; one per student)

  • Types of Chemical Reactions/S-I-T (attached; one per student)

  • Chemical Equations Chat Stations - Physical Science (attached; one per student)

  • Chemical Equations Chat Stations - Chemistry (attached; one per student)

  • 5 Molecular Model Kit


20 Minute(s)

Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Begin with slide 3. Briefly, read aloud the essential question: How are atoms/mass conserved during a chemical reaction? Then, move to slide 4 and share the learning objectives with students to the extent you feel necessary.

Display slide 5-9. Place students in groups of four. Share the instructional strategy Chain Notes with students. Pass out the attached Chain Notes & Exit Ticket handout and have them answer the following prompt:

  • Write three things you already know about chemical reactions.

Instruct students to pass their papers clockwise. Each student should choose one of the points their classmate has made and add an additional fact, idea, or correction to it using words or a drawing. Repeat this process of passing clockwise and writing until the papers get back to their original writers. After the original writers review the comments their classmates have made, ask each group to summarize their ideas to share with the class. Select one student from each group to share their summary.

This is a good time for you to evaluate students' prior experience related to the topic of the next video. Have students save the handout to complete the Exit Ticket at the end of the lesson.

Display slide 10. Ask students to watch the CBS Pittsburgh KDKA news video, titled “Experts Warn Against Using Water to Douse Candle Fires,” and have them write an equation for what took place.


30 Minute(s)

Scaffold students to remember the set up for a chemical reaction and write it on the board as they figure it out. Once students have given their final response, display slide 11 to affirm where the reactants and products fall for an equation.

Organize students into groups of 3-4 and pass out the Chemical Equations Card Sort cards. Instruct students not to open their cards until after you have finished giving the instructions. Go to slide 12. Tell students that they will complete a Card Sort, grouping the correct cards and using them to create the correct equations for each scenario. When they are finished, review the correct matches with the students by displaying slide 13-22.


20 Minute(s)

Move to slide 23, pass out the attached Types of Chemical Reactions/S-I-T handout and invite students to take notes of the different types of reactions and examples. Invite students to watch the “K20 ICAP - Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!” video as they fill out their Note Catcher. Emphasize for students to put the definitions in their own words. You may choose to pause the video in between reactions to double check students got each definition or review them again after the video.

Pause the video at time stamp 4:45. Inform students: "Next, we are going to learn about a profession that involves chemical reactions on a daily basis. We are going to meet Batt. Chief Benny Fulkerson of the Oklahoma City Fire Department."

Before returning to the video, ask students to consider the different types of reactions and the variety of jobs involved in the fire department. Additionally, instruct students to complete on their Types of Chemical Reactions/S-I-T handout the S-I-T (Surprising, Interesting, Troubling) strategy as they watch. In doing so, students should individually identify one surprising fact or idea, one interesting fact or idea, and one troubling fact or idea from the video.

When the video is over, give students 5 minutes to share their findings from the video and how the types of reaction and the job of a firefighter correlate to one another in groups of 2-4. Finally ask each group to share out a summary of what they learned.


50 Minute(s)

Physical Science Instructions: Display slide 24. Invite students to participate in the Chat Stations strategy. Move students into groups of 2-4, make copies and pass out the Chemical Equations Chat Stations-Physical Science handout. Assign each group to a station to start their first example. Inform students to discuss within their groups the correct product(s) for the reactant(s) and write them down on their handout. Inform students that they can try to figure out how to balance the equation for extra credit if they so choose. Give students about 3-5 minutes at each station, then rotate.

Chemistry Instructions: Display slide 25. Invite students to participate in the Chat Stations strategy. Move students into groups of 4, make copies and pass out the Chemical Equations Chat Stations-Chemistry handout. Assign each group a station to start their first example. Inform students they will have 10 minutes at their stations to discuss within their group the correct product for the reactant(s) they have based on the type of reaction indicated at each station. Students will then use the molecular model kit to create the Lewis Dot structure of the product(s). Finally, have students draw the model they created, write down the equation for their answers, balance the equation on their handouts, and disassemble the products only of the molecular models for the next group. Once time is called, have students move to the next station.


5 Minute(s)

Move to slide 26. Instruct students to return back to their Chain Notes & Exit Ticket from the beginning of the lesson. Have students complete the I Used to Think... But Now I Know activity, comparing what they used to think about chemical reactions that includes their stance the Essential Question posed at the beginning: What happens to atoms during chemical reactions?