Middle School

3100 Cain Rd SE
Olympia, WA 98501
(360) 596-3000
(360) 596-3003 Attendance
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Chemical Interactions provides students with a diverse mix of empirical experiences that help students construct a solid basic understanding of the structure and behavior of matter in their world. Students conduct experiments to observe the macroscopic transformations of matter-phase change, dissolution, reaction—and apply kinetic particle theory to explain those transformations at the microscopic level. In the process, students learn useful conventions for thinking about and communicating chemical concepts including elements, atom, substances, molecules and compounds. Students will also observe energy transfers associated with reactions and infer energy transfers associated with phase change

Click here for a more detailed explanation of FOSS Chemical Interactions





FOSS Chemical Interactions Resource Book - this is an online copy of the classroom textbook!



Here is a copy of the Chemical Interactions Lab Notebook...we do not necessarily use these handouts in class but do follow the format for the most part. 

  Chemical Interactions Glossary - here is a copy of the vocabulary words we will be learning and using in Chemical Interactions



FOSS Chemical Interactions website  Username:  msb3rd     Password:  Bacon123 


Investigation 1: Substances

Students are introduced to chemistry lab tools and procedures.  They experience chemical reactions and learn three ways to identify chemical substances:  common name, chemical name, and chemical formula.  They use macroscopic evidence from reactions to identify reactants.

Essential Question:  How can substances be identified?


Guiding Questions:

  1.  What is a substance?

  2.  How are substances represented?

  3. What is a chemical reaction?

  4.  How can you tell a chemical reaction has occurred?

Investigation 2: Elements

Students learn that elements are the fundamental substances from which all matter on Earth is made.  They study the periodic table to become familiar with the 90 naturally occurring elements and search product ingredient lists for elements they contain.

Essential Question:   What are substances made of?

Guiding Questions:

  1. What is an element?

  2. How are elements represented?

  3. What is the periodic table and how is it organized?

  4. How can you tell what elements are in a substance?

  5. What elements are found in common household products?

  6. What elements are most abundant in the sun, Earth, ocean, atmosphere, and living things?

Investigation 3: Particles

Students investigate the macroscopic properties of gas and develop a particulate model to describe the invisible composition and interactions that account for the observable behaviors of gas.

Essential Question:  How do the particles in gases behave?

Guiding Questions:

  1. What is matter made of?

  2. How can you tell that gas is matter?

  3. How do the particles in a gas move and what is in between those particles?

  4. How do gases behave when compressed and expanded?

Investigation 4: Kinetic Energy

Students observe expansion and contraction of solids, liquids, and gases, and explain the phenomena in terms of kinetic theory-the constant motion of particles.

Essential Question:

How does kinetic energy affect the particles in matter?

Guiding Questions:

  1. What is kinetic energy?

  2. How do the particles move in solids, liquids and gases when energy is gained or lost?

Investigation 5: Energy Transfer

Students experience the effects of energy transfer and learn to conceptualize the process of energy transfer as changes of particle kinetic energy resulting from particle collisions.  Students are introduced to calories to measure heat and discover that energy is conserved. 

Essential Question-

How does energy transfer and in what way is it calculated?

Guiding Questions:

  1.  How is heat transfer calculated?

  2.  How is heat (kinetic energy) measured?

  3.  How is heat (kinetic energy) calculated?

Investigation 6:  Heat of Fusion

Students conduct experiments to determine the amount of heat needed to convert a mass of ice at 0°C to a mass of liquid water at 0°C. 

Essential Question:
How does energy affect the melting of a solid (ice)?

Guiding Questions:

  1. What is heat of fusion?

  2. How does heat of fusion affect the kinetic energy of particles in a substance?

  3. What is the heat of fusion of water and how is it calculated?

Investigation 7:  Phase Change

Students experience three common phases (states) of matter- solid, liquid, and gas-and investigate the conditions that induce substances to change from one phase to another. 

Essential Question:

How does energy affect matter as it changes phases?

Guiding Questions:

What are the three common phases of matter?

  1. What are the three common phases of matter?

  2. How do the particles move in solids, liquids and gases?

  3. How is change of state defined?

  4. What are the six processes of phase change?

  5. What is the difference between melting and dissolving?

  6. How do the particles behave differently when matter changes phases?

 Investigation 8:  Solutions

Students compare aqueous mixtures, one with a soluble solid and one with an insoluble solid.  They then dissolve table salt and Epsom salts to determine saturation and discover that different substances have different solubilities.  In the last part, students engage the concept of concentration, the ratio of solute to solvent in a solution. 

Essential Question:  What are the characteristics of solutions?

Guiding Questions:  

1.What is a mixture?  

2.What is a solution?  

3.By what process do solutions form?  

4.What happens on the particle level when solutions form?

5.What is a saturated solution?  

6.How much solvent and solute are needed to make a saturated solution?  

7.What is concentration?  

8.What is the relationship between concentration and mass?  

9.How can the concentration of a solution be determined?


Investigation 9:  Reaction

Students blow bubbles into limewater, observe the precipitate, and move atom tiles (representations) to simulate the rearrangement of atoms to form new substances (particles).  Students conduct two other reactions-hydrochloric acid/baking soda and an antacid neutralization reaction-and learn to balance chemical equations. 

Essential Question:

What happens to the atoms in substances when chemical reactions occur?  


Guiding Questions:  

1.   What are atoms and compounds?  

2.   How do molecules and ionic compounds form?

3.    How are chemical formulas and balanced equations used to represent chemical  reactions?  

4.   How can baking soda and HCl be used to confirm that atoms are not created or destroyed?

5.   How can HCl and antacid tablets be used to confirm that atoms are not created or destroyed?

Investigation 10:  More Reactions

Students conduct more chemical reactions, learning about limiting factors and reactants in excess.  They observe the oxidation of iron (rusting) and confirm the concentration of oxygen in air by assuming that oxygen in the limiting factor.