Lesson Plan: Distillation Chemistry

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to describe and troubleshoot distillation methods and describe their use in liquid separation and purification.


Students will be able to

  • describe the key steps in performing a distillation,
  • describe the difference between simple and fractional distillation and determine when each should be used,
  • identify distillation labware from descriptions and illustrations,
  • explain the process of distillation, including temperature changes and apparatus functions (e.g., why a thermometer is positioned at the entrance to the condenser),
  • predict the order in which fractions are collected, and the associated temperatures, using tables of values,
  • identify mixtures that can be separated by distillation (i.e., two liquids with very different but reasonably low bps),
  • identify and describe how fractional distillation is used in industry (e.g., separating gases in air) in the production of ethanol,
  • identify potential hazards that may be encountered during distillations.


Students should already be familiar with

  • scientific equipment.


Students will not cover

  • any other types of distillations except for simple and fractional.

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