Chemistry Field Trips

spectrUM is committed to supporting the next generation of scientists and innovators by engaging students in hands-on science. The exhibits and activities featured in our field trips are curated to inspire a culture of learning and discovery and are facilitated by trained educators who serve as role models by demonstrating a passion for science and pathways to higher education.

Field trips are designed to give students the opportunity to explore our museum independently to make their own discoveries, as well as work with our educators to learn science concepts through guided experiments and activities. While each field trip topic explores different themes, students and educators will model the scientific method and are encouraged to be curious learners. Field trip curricula are designed to meet NGSS, but may be adapted to all ages and abilities.

Essential Question

What is matter made out of and how do materials interact?


Students will learn how to identify a chemical reaction.

Students will experiment with chemicals to cause different chemical reactions.

Possible Activities

Chemistry in a bag

Tie dye milk

Alka seltzer rockets

Liquid nitrogen

Supporting Assessments

Formative: Educators and students will refer to chemistry terms and concepts, such as molecule, chemical, atom, proton, electron, neutron, reaction, and states of matter, and use the scientific method during experimentation.

Summative: Students will lead discussion using terms and science concepts during experiments and upon reflection.

Next Generation Science Standards Addressed


  • Different kinds of matter exist and many of them can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties. (2-PS1-1)
  • Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended. (2-PS1-2)
  • Make observations (firsthand or from media) to construct an evidence-based account for natural phenomena. (2-PS1-3)
  • Science searches for cause and effect relationships to explain natural events. (2-PS1-4)

3rd-5th grade

  • Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means. A model showing that gases are made from matter particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations, including the inflation and shape of a balloon and the effects of air on larger particles or objects. (5-PS1-1)
  • When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed. (5-PS1-4)
  • No matter what reaction or change in properties occurs, the total weight of the substances does not change. (Boundary: Mass and weight are not distinguished at this grade level.) (5-PS1-2)
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change. (5-PS1-4)
  • Make observations and measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon. (5-PS1-3)
Middle School
  • Substances are made from different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms. (MS-PS1-1)
  • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. (MS-PS1-4)
  • Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants. (MS-PS1-3) (Note: This Disciplinary Core Idea is also addressed by MS-PS1-2.)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. (MS-PS1-4)
  • Develop a model to predict and/or describe phenomena. (MS-PS1-1), (MS-PS1-4)
  • Science knowledge is based upon logical and conceptual connections between evidence and explanations. (MS-PS1-2)