A Catalyst and the Rate of Reaction

"Students watch a video and do a quick activity to see that a catalyst can increase the rate of the breakdown (decomposition) of hydrogen peroxide." Includes multimedia and all handouts. After using the demonstrations in class, have your students complete the activity under the "explore" section to explore both catalysts and a decomposition reaction. This activity is inexpensive and creates the "excitement" that students often look for. Uses the "5E" learning cycle.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 


Students will be able to define a catalyst as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction but is not incorporated into the products of the reaction.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints

Materials for Each Group:

  • Graduated cylinder (50 mL or 100 mL)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • Yeast
  • 2 Popsicle sticks
  • Detergent solution
  • Dropper
  • Small cup
  • Clear plastic cup
  • Copper II sulfate solution (in cup)
  • Salt
  • Aluminum foil (5 cm × 5 cm)
  • Thermometer