Chemistry Now, week 1: chemistry of water

In celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, NSTA and NBC Learn have teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch “Chemistry Now,” a weekly, online, video series that uncovers and explains the science of common, physical objects in our world and the changes they undergo every day. The series also looks at the lives and work of scientists on the frontiers of 21st century chemistry.

“Chemistry Now” consists of 32 learning packages that aim to break down the chemistry behind things such as cheeseburgers and chocolate or soap and plastics. NSTA is developing middle and high school lessons to accompany each learning package. A new topic will be explored each week starting in January and running through May. The series will then resume in the fall of 2011 to keep pace with the academic school year, and the series is available cost-free on and

NSTA will also post portions of each package in this blog, under the Chemistry Now category, and we hope readers will try them out in the classroom and leave comments below each posting about how well the information worked in real-world classrooms. And if you had to make significant changes to a lesson, we’d love to see what you did differently, as well as why you made the changes. Leave a comment, and we’ll get in touch with you with submission information.

Now, to the week one offering, the Chemistry of Water.


Victorian era image of fairies as a metaphor for the water molecule

Victorian-era drawing of three fairies holding hands, to depict the number and arrangements of atoms in the water molecule; illustration published in children’s science book “Real Fairy Folks: Explorations in the World of Atoms” by Lucy Rider Meyer (1887). From the collections of the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Video: “Water: H2O Molecules Made Clear” explains the structure, polarity, cohesive and adhesive properties that makes H2O a chemical essential for life. The video is located at the top right of the collection of resources.

Middle school lesson: the purpose of this lesson is to give students an understanding of water’s density as a liquid and solid.

High school lesson: this lesson will help students understand water’s polarity by examining its Lewis dot structure, discussing the strength of the covalent bonds, and performing a class experiment.

You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans:

[contact-form 2 “ChemNow”]

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3 Responses to Chemistry Now, week 1: chemistry of water

  1. Kathe Hetter says:

    These videos are great. I am just starting water and intermolecular forces so weeks 1 and 3 videos will definitely be used. Thanks to NBC for collaborating with NSTA and Chemical Heritage.

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