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A Modern Day Con Game

Time Frame

1 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size



Utah LessonPlans


Students read a description of an attempted forgery that was solved using a silver chloride precipitation reaction. They will write the chemical equations for the reactions and make an illustration for the reading selection.



Student Prior Knowledge

Students should know how to write the formulas for molecules and reactions. They should be aware of what a precipitation reaction is.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Show students a painting or piece of pottery. (anything will do, ask your art teacher for something)
  2. Ask students to describe ways they know that chemistry helps to identify the age or composition of the piece.
  3. Make sure that they come up with ideas about identifying atoms and knowing which atoms were more likely to be used at the time the painting or pottery was made. They may also know that some atoms change over time, migrate or decay.
  4. Explain that they will be reading description of a con game solved by chemistry. Their task is to write chemical reactions showing what the chemists did to solve the mystery and draw a picture to be able to explain the methods to an average person.
  5. You may wish to pair the students.
  6. Ask students or student pairs to compare their work and present them to class.


Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Created: 12/15/2014
Updated: 02/05/2018