SC.8.P.9.2

Differentiate between physical changes and chemical changes.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Physical Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
Big Idea: Changes in Matter - A. Matter can undergo a variety of changes.

B. When matter is changed physically, generally no changes occur in the structure of the atoms or molecules composing the matter.

C. When matter changes chemically, a rearrangement of bonds between the atoms occurs. This results in new substances with new properties.

Clarification for grades K-5: The target understanding for students in the elementary grades should focus on Big Ideas A and B.

Clarification for Grades 6-8: The target understanding for students in the middle grades should begin to transition the focus to: C. When matter changes chemically, a rearrangement of bonds between the atoms occurs. This results in new substances with new properties.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: MC item(s)
  • Also Assesses
    SC.8.P.9.1
    Explore the Law of Conservation of Mass by demonstrating and concluding that mass is conserved when substances undergo physical and chemical changes.

    SC.8.P.9.3 Investigate and describe how temperature influences chemical changes.

  • Clarification :
    Students will differentiate between physical and chemical changes.

    Students will explain that mass is conserved when substances undergo physical and chemical changes, according to the Law of Conservation of Mass.

    Students will describe how temperature influences chemical changes.
  • Content Limits :
    Items will not require balancing equations or analysis of chemical formulas.

    Items will focus on a conceptual understanding of the Law of Conservation of Mass; items will not require mathematical computations.

    Items will not assess reaction rates.
  • Stimulus Attributes :
    Temperature will only be shown in degrees Celsius (°C).
  • Response Attributes :
    Temperature will only be shown in degrees Celsius (°C).
  • Prior Knowledge :
    Items may require the student to apply science knowledge described in the NGSSS from lower grades. This benchmark requires prerequisite knowledge from SC.4.P.9.1 and SC.5.P.9.1.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: When a candle is lit, the wick burns, the wax melts, the candle changes shape, and the air around the candle heats up. Which of the following is an example of a chemical change?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2003010: M/J Physical Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2003020: M/J Physical Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.8.P.9.In.1: Observe and classify changes in matter as physical (reversible) or chemical (irreversible).
SC.8.P.9.Su.1: Observe and recognize physical changes in matter as able to change back (reversible), such as water to ice, and chemical changes of matter as unable to change back (irreversible), such as cake to cake batter.
SC.8.P.9.Pa.1: Recognize an example of a physical change, such as ice changing to water.
SC.8.P.9.Pa.2: Recognize that heat influences changes (chemical) in matter, such as cooking.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Learning Goal

Colorful Electrolysis:

Electrolysis is the decomposition of a solution by using a electrical current. Chemical changes occur during this process. The electrodes act a conductors where electron transfer take place. The flow of electrons are from the anode (positive electrode-the site of oxidation), to the cathode (negative electrode - site of reduction). Students will explore chemical changes by observing the Electrolysis of potassium iodide, copper (II) bromide, and sodium chloride solutions. Students will use their observations to identify the products formed at the anode and the cathode in the electrolysis of each solution.

Type: Learning Goal

Lesson Plans

Bubbles and Colors and Smells...Oh My! :

In this lesson, students will conduct observational and experimental investigations to differentiate between physical changes and chemical change. Students will make and record observations as well as identify experimental variables. Students will conduct several investigations to help them to understand the differences between chemical and physical changes. Students will record investigative observations and use their observations to provide evidence that a physical or a chemical change has occurred.

Type: Lesson Plan

Chemical and Physical Changes in the City:

This is a lesson about chemical and physical changes encountered on a daily basis.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's Your Change?:

Students will identify the best material to use for playground equipment by analyzing the physical changes that happens to each type.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical and Chemical Changes Introductory Lesson:

In this POE lesson, students will explore different visual and verbal representations of physical and chemical changes to predict the definition and indicators of the types of changes, observe the different changes, and explain how their definition compared to that of the class.

Type: Lesson Plan

Chemical and Physical Change:

This yummy lesson on physical and chemical changes will require students to apply their scientific knowledge to a backyard treat.

Type: Lesson Plan

Let's Make a Change!!!:

This lesson has students conduct 11 different experiments, make observations of changes, and determine whether a physical or chemical change has occurred. The experiments allow students to observe different kinds of physical changes (changing state, dissolving, change size) and chemical changes (color change, new substances formed).

Type: Lesson Plan

Matter Changes but Mass is Saved!:

The focus of this lesson is for students to gain an understanding of how to identify if changes in matter are a physical or chemical change. Also, students will see that the mass before and after a physical and chemical changes will be the same which supports the Law of Conservation of Mass. The lesson consists of teacher demonstrations, student lab activities. a writing activity to support student findings and the creation of presentations for students to share their results and applications of concepts to the real world.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ch-Ch-Changes!:

This lesson is is used to introduce students to the concepts of physical and chemical changes in substances. The lesson instructs students how to identify which type of change has taken place. The lesson also contains an opportunity for students to produce a substance change and identify this as being a chemical or physical change.

Type: Lesson Plan

Change or Not - Same Mass:

The students make observations and take the mass of various structures constructed by the teacher. They rearrange the structures and measure the mass again. During the whole class discussion the students come to understand that during a chemical or physical change the mass is conserved.

Type: Lesson Plan

Chemical and Physical Changes Lesson 2 of 4:

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to list the signs of a physical or chemical change and have a high degree of confidence in their ability to recognize them and differentiate between them in daily life.

Type: Lesson Plan

“It's Time for a Change”:

Physical changes do not change what things are made of, but chemical changes do change what things are made of.

Type: Lesson Plan

Chemical and Physical Changes Lesson 1 of 4:

Used to assess prior knowledge of chemical change and physical change.
** THIS IS LESSON 1 IN A SERIES OF 4 LESSONS. **

Type: Lesson Plan

Chemical and Physical Changes Lesson 3 of 4:

During a physical change, particles at the microscopic level, re-arrange themselves, but no new substance is formed. During a chemical change, particles are broken apart and the atoms are re-arranged into new particles, thereby forming a new substance.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lord of Fries Conservation MEA:

This is an 8th grade MEA. This MEA will ask students to investigate different types of hamburger patties and choose the one that is best for the restaurant. Some of the areas that students will examine is how the hamburger patties undergo a chemical change, but mass is not lost only changed into different substances. They will also investigate how the hamburger patties are chemically changed due to a change in temperature. Students will also be exposed to how the Law of Conservation of Mass is used in our daily lives. For example, cooking a hamburger patty, the mass is not lost but sometimes the juices are separated from the meat. Also, in French fries, matter is not created but cooking oil is absorbed by the fries.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Time to Change the Baby!?!?!?:

In this open inquiry activity, students will explore what it is that keeps a diaper-wearer "dry" and whether it is chemical change or physical change.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Physical and Chemical Changes:

Learn to distinguish a physical change from a chemical change in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Presentation/Slideshow

Physical and Chemical Changes Powerpoint:

This PowerPoint covers the basics of physical and chemical properties as well as physical and chemical changes with examples and sections for student involvement.

Type: Presentation/Slideshow

Teaching Idea

Recognizing Chemical Reactions:

This resource describes activity that will allow students to observe the effects of a chemical change as opposed to a physical change. It also gives them the opportunity to observe conservation of matter by modeling chemical equations. The main learning objective is the recognition that all chemical reactions create new molecules and that in a chemical reaction the original atoms get rearranged, bonding together in different ways.

Type: Teaching Idea

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Chemical Change Investigations | Inquiry in Action:

In this series of 10 investigations, students gain experience with the evidence of chemical change - production of a gas, change in temperature, color change, and formation of a precipitate. Students begin by observing that similar-looking powders can be differentiated by the way they react chemically with certain test liquids. Students then use their chemical tests and observations to identify an unknown powder and, in a follow-up activity, to identify the active ingredients in baking powder. Students continue to explore chemical change by using a thermometer to observe that temperature either increases or decreases during chemical reactions. Then they control these reactions by adjusting the amount of reactants. In another set of activities, students use the color changes of red cabbage indicator to classify substances as acids or bases, neutralize solutions, and compare the relative acidity of two different solutions. Students conclude the investigation by comparing a precipitate to one of the reactants that formed it. Students see that a new substance was created during the chemical reaction. Information and questions about photosynthesis and cellular respiration are included as examples of chemical changes on pages 316-318 of this resource.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Middle School Chemistry Unit | Chapter 6 | Chemical Change:

Students explore the concept that chemical reactions involve the breaking of certain bonds between atoms in the reactants, and the rearrangement and rebonding of these atoms to make the products. Students also design tests to investigate how the amount of products and the rate of the reaction can be changed. Students will also explore endothermic and exothermic reactions.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Video/Audio/Animation

Science Crossword Puzzles:

A collection of crossword puzzles that test the knowledge of students about some of the terms, processes, and classifications covered in science topics

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Lord of Fries Conservation MEA:

This is an 8th grade MEA. This MEA will ask students to investigate different types of hamburger patties and choose the one that is best for the restaurant. Some of the areas that students will examine is how the hamburger patties undergo a chemical change, but mass is not lost only changed into different substances. They will also investigate how the hamburger patties are chemically changed due to a change in temperature. Students will also be exposed to how the Law of Conservation of Mass is used in our daily lives. For example, cooking a hamburger patty, the mass is not lost but sometimes the juices are separated from the meat. Also, in French fries, matter is not created but cooking oil is absorbed by the fries.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

What's Your Change?:

Students will identify the best material to use for playground equipment by analyzing the physical changes that happens to each type.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Physical and Chemical Changes:

Learn to distinguish a physical change from a chemical change in this interactive tutorial.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Physical and Chemical Changes:

Learn to distinguish a physical change from a chemical change in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Science Crossword Puzzles:

A collection of crossword puzzles that test the knowledge of students about some of the terms, processes, and classifications covered in science topics

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.