QR Code Walkabout

Introduction to Physical and Chemical Changes


The purpose of this strategy is to introduce students to the concept of physical and chemical changes while moving around the room to different QR Code stations. As indicated by Hutton (2013), some students, known as kinesthetic learners, need to move and touch different things to learn most effectively. These learners might sometimes struggle in traditional learning environments that require them to sit still and do work for an extended period of time. Students will also have an opportunity to see various examples of changes using digital media. From their analysis of each, they will indicate whether they think the changes taking place are physical or chemical. This will help the teacher identify any prior misconceptions that students might have about this topic.


-Use the website QRStuff.com to generate QR Codes for the images or videos below. These codes can then be placed in various locations around the room:

-Place students in groups of 3-4. At least one member of each group must have a smartphone with Internet connection and camera.

-Instruct students to download a free QR Code reader (such as QR Code Reader by Scan) from their device's app store if they do not already have one on their phone.

-Briefly explain the difference between physical and chemical changes to students. Have them think about physical and chemical changes that they might experience in their lives on a daily basis.

-Next, have students walk around in groups to each QR Code "station" in the room. Using a smartphone, they should scan the code and view the photo or video clip. As a group, they should discuss whether the example they saw was a physical or chemical change. Students should then write down the example they viewed and classify the type of change it was. They should also provide their reasoning.

-Make a chart on the board with one side being "Physical" and the other side being "Chemical." When they finish, the groups should categorize each example they viewed on the board.

-As a class, discuss each of the examples and analyze them to correctly determine the type of change that actually is taking place for each.

Physical and Chemical Changes in Class


  • Choose a topic in your content area that requires students to differentiate between types (i.e. heterogeneous vs. homogeneous mixtures, passive vs. active transport, Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist positions).
  • Search the web or sites like YouTube for about 10 examples of documents, images, or videos that relate to the topic and create QR Codes for each.
  • Give students some background information about the topic and then have them view the examples in order to classify each. Discuss the results as a class.

Credits / Citations

Alvarez, C. (2013, August 31). Comparison of diffusion of food coloring in warm and cold tap water [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPDYmvIcSzc

Balloon [Animated GIF]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://i.giphy.com/P2t16n77Vmme4.gif

Boiling Water [Animated GIF]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://i.giphy.com/9UPuJPbiHwo8.gif

ChemicalArts. (2011, December 15). Copper penny reacting with nitric acid [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOa2v0Y0leU

GoPro. (2014, July 4). GoPro: Fireworks from a drone [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvkcqgpZJCw

Hutton, S. (2013). Helping kinesthetic learners succeed. Education.com. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/kinesthetic_learner/

Mika, D. (2013, February 5). Evaporating dry ice with water [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-vs6IxaShY

Plant Growing [Animated GIF]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://i.giphy.com/QhLi1PvRCMxsQ.gif

Popcorn Popping [Animated GIF]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.gifday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/tumblr_ljptrbqm1F1qg4w06o1_500.gif

Prajapati, A. (2012, January 25). 2D flash animation by HigherPrice [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNPP57RyJ-U

Precipitation Reaction [Animated GIF]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://i.giphy.com/ocgE0Z1zBQXNC.gif

QR Code Reader by Scan. (2014). Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/qr-code-reader-by-scan/id698925807?mt=8

Rusting [Photograph]. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/images/thumb/5/56/BEFORE_AND_AFTER_RUST_ELECTRO.jpg/400px-BEFORE_AND_AFTER_RUST_ELECTRO.jpg

Video swamp. (2013, January 26). Tsar Bomba, largest thermonuclear hydrogen bomb ever tested [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjnm3V0xYjI