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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other!

When you look at matter, there are a wide variety of observations which you can make. Some of the observations are based on the physical properties of what you are observing. Other observations occur based on the chemical properties of the object. Review the table to compare physical and chemical properties.




  • May refer to any of the following:
    • Size
    • Shape
    • Color
    • State
    • Density
  • May indicate what can be done with the object. Some examples include:
    • Melt
    • Freeze
    • Bend
    • Boil
  • Characteristics that describe how a substance behaves or reacts. Some examples are:
    • Taste (usually not used in science!)
    • Heat content
    • Reaction with other substances
      • Gas production
      • Requires heat energy
      • Gives off heat energy


  • The ability of a soap solution to stretch and form a bubble.


  • The ability of chemicals to create a fireworks show.
  • The ability of a sugar cube to dissolve in water.
  • The changes that happen to bacon as it is cooked.


  • The ability of a bead to float in water.
  • The ability to use fuel in a jet ski engine.
  • The ability to create a chemical glow stick.


For each of the following questions, determine if physical or chemical property is the best answer.

  1. What type of a property would explain the ability of a rubber ball to bounce?
  2. The ability of a car to burn gasoline is which kind of property?
  3. What kind of property explains what happens when you bake a cake?
  4. What kind of property describes why a helium balloon rises high in the sky when you let it go?
Highlight the box below to check your answers to these questions.
1. Physical property, 2. Chemical property, 3. Chemical property, 4. Physical property
Visit the Pioneer Library and search the e-Media videos for "Chemistry: Reactions and Energy Changes."

Review Science safetey rules here.

Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 8th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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