Landmark Lesson Plan: Discovery of Oxygen
Subject Area: Chemistry and History
The following inquiry-based student activities are designed for use in high school chemistry lesson planning. The handout will help students understand the historical context and how chemistry was practiced during Joseph Priestley’s time (1733-1804).
The activities are designed as a ready-to-go lesson, easily implemented by a chemistry teacher or his/her substitute, to supplement a unit of study. In chemistry, the activities relate to identifying physical and chemical properties, nomenclature, and the scientific process. In history, the activities relate to chronology of scientific discoveries and the relationships between England, France and America in the late 1700s.
- : Includes the handout, student activities and answer guide
- : “Joseph Priestley, Discoverer of Oxygen”
- : Includes the six activities described below.
While these activities are thematically linked, each is designed to stand alone as an accompaniment for the handout on baking powder. Please pick and choose based on curricular needs and time considerations.
- Anticipation Guide for Handout on “Joseph Priestley, Discoverer of Oxygen” Students read the handout and explore their own ideas about chemical discoveries made in the 1700s that are fundamental to the modern chemical sciences. (10-20 min.)
- History Exercise: Chronology of the Discovery of Gases Students chronologically order events in the reading. Students recognize the different names and properties of common gases when they were first being examined in the 1700s. (10-15 min.)
- Exploring the Scientific Process Students analyze information from the reading and relate it to scientific processes. (25-30 min.)
- Properties of Oxygen Gas Students categorize properties of oxygen gas as chemical or physical. Students determine the importance of the properties of oxygen gas in identifying it as an element. (15-20 min.)
- Nomenclature Exercise Students use inductive reasoning to discover a rule for naming compounds containing oxygen. (10-15 min.)