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Lesson Plans


This project is meant to be applied directly in the classroom as it will be written.  Lesson plans are prepared for teacher use.  Materials such as PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, student activity handouts, and written lab experimental procedures can be used directly in the classroom and reproduced for student use. 

 This unit material, particularly the inquiry lab, is based on an article from the Journal of Chemical Education, “Using Laboratory Chemicals To Imitate Illicit Drugs in a Forensic Chemistry Activity” (Hasan et. al., J. Chem. Ed. (2008) 85:6).  In the lab, commonly accessible chemicals as well as several over the counter medications are used to simulate illicit drugs so that analysis can be safely performed in a high school or college classroom using both presumptive color tests and thin layer chromatography.  Students will do two smaller scale labs to practice each of these techniques before performing the inquiry lab.  The unit will appeal to students’ interest in forensic chemistry as a practical and applicable branch of chemistry. 

Target Audience

 This unit of study is designed for use in a standard high school chemistry course, grades 10 through 12.  The materials can be adapted in rigor and enrichment to suit any level of chemistry, from basic chemistry to Advanced Placement courses (materials provided here are meant for use with standard college preparatory level chemistry course).  Students should have a basic understanding of chemical reactions, acid-base chemistry, solution chemistry, and very basic organic chemistry (structure conventions, bonding, and functional groups). 

Time Suggestions

 The unit can likely be completed over a time of  eight 45-minute course blocks, or four 90-minute course blocks.  The outline below suggests the appropriate timing and pacing of lesson materials, based on 45-minute class blocks. 

Day 1

  • Present material on drugs PowerPoint
  • Review organic functional groups as needed per student level
Day 2
Day 4 Day 5Day 6Day 7

Day 8