5. Acids, bases, and salts are three classes of compounds that form ions in water solutions.
5. a. Students know the observable properties of acids, bases, and salt solutions.
Comparing and contrasting the properties of acids and bases provide a context for understanding their behavior. Some observable properties of acids are that they taste sour; change the color of litmus paper from blue to red; indicate acidic values on universal indicator paper; react with certain metals to produce hydrogen gas; and react with metal hydroxides, or bases, to produce water and a salt. Some observable properties of bases are that basic substances taste bitter or feel slippery; change the color of litmus paper from red to blue; indicate basic values on universal indicator paper; and react with many compounds containing hydrogen ions, or acids, to produce water and a salt.
These properties can be effectively demonstrated by using extracted pigment from red cabbage as an indicator to analyze solutions of household ammonia and white vinegar at various concentrations. When the indicator is added, basic solutions turn green, and acidic solutions turn red. Students can also use universal indicator solutions to test common household substances. Students need to follow established safety procedures while conducting experiments.
5. b. Students know acids are hydrogen-ion-donating and bases are hydrogen-ion-accepting substances.
According to the Bronsted-Lowry acid-base definition, acids donate hydrogen ions, and bases accept hydrogen ions. Acids that are formed from the nonmetals found in the first and second rows of the periodic table easily dissociate to produce hydrogen ions because these nonmetals have a large electronegativity compared with that of hydrogen. Once students know that acids and bases have different effects on the same indicator, they are ready to deepen their understanding of acid-base behavior at the molecular level. Examples and studies of chemical reactions should be used to demonstrate these definitions of acids and bases.
5. c. Students know strong acids and bases fully dissociate and weak acids and bases partially dissociate.
Acids dissociate by donating hydrogen ions, and bases ionize by dissociating to form hydroxide ions (from a hydroxide salt) or by accepting hydrogen ions. Some acids and bases either dissociate or ionize almost completely, and others do so only partially. Nearly complete dissociation is strong; partial dissociation is weak. The strength of an acid or a base can vary, depending on such conditions as temperature and concentration.
5. d. Students know how to use the pH scale to characterize acid and base solutions.
The pH scale measures the concentrations of hydrogen ions in solution and the acidic or basic nature of the solution. The scale is not linear but logarithmic, meaning that at pH 2, for example, the concentration of hydrogen ions is ten times greater than it is at pH 3. The pH scale ranges from below 0 (very acidic) to above 14 (very basic). Students should learn that pH values less than 7 are considered acidic and those greater than 7 are considered basic.
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