Lesson 5: Chemical Energy

Getting Started

Today you will learn about chemical bonds — attractive forces between atoms that keep them together in groups. They are not physically attached, but a force holds or bonds them together. Because of these bonds between atoms, these substances have potential, or chemical, energy. When a chemical reaction occurs, one or more of the chemicals becomes a new and different substance. During a chemical reaction, the bonds between atoms are broken or created.

Stuff You Need

  • ScienceWiz Energy box
  • baking soda
  • citric acid (kit)
  • clear glass cup
  • graduated cylinder (kit)
  • jar with lid (kit)
  • large marshmallows
  • measuring spoons
  • periodic table of elements (kit)
  • plastic spoon
  • small, colored marshmallows
  • steel wool (kit)
  • thermometer (kit)
  • uncooked spaghetti noodles
  • vinegar

Ideas to Think About

  • How are matter and energy related?
  • What interactions occur to change energy from one form to another?
  • How do materials interact and relate to one another?

Things to Know

  • A molecule is formed when two or more atoms are bonded chemically.
  • A compound is a molecule made up of two or more elements.
  • An atom is the smallest component of an element and is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  • An exothermic reaction is a chemical reaction that releases heat.
  • In an endothermic reaction, heat energy is taken in and is transformed into chemical bond energy.
  • An element is a substance made up of one type of atom.


  • Recognize that all matter is made of small particles called atoms, too small to see with the naked eye. (S)
  • Demonstrate that evaporation and melting are changes that occur when the objects are heated. (S)

Introducing the Lesson

Explain to your child that today he will observe chemical reactions. This will help him to understand how energy causes change. Ask him what he knows about elements, atoms, and molecules.