The Mystery of Matter Teacher Zone

MoMThe Mystery of Matter Teacher Zone has three types of educational materials for teachers:  Teachers Guide, Video Library and 1-4 minute clips taken from the video library.

The Mystery of Matter Teacher’s Guide.  Developed by the Education Development Center, the guide is designed to help teachers make use of the three-hour PBS series The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements in the high school science classroom. The television series is divided into six sections of about 30 minutes, each one on an important subject related to matter. For each of those six sections, the Teacher’s Guide includes a full script, annotated with:

  • Stop & Think Questions for teachers to pose to their students
  • Sidebars on Everyday Applications of the chemistry being covered
  • Notes from the Field with examples of ways to incorporate the program into your teaching
  • and Margin Notes showing where in each section chemistry concepts are explored

*for more information on the Teachers Guide please visit:


The Mystery of Matter Video Library. This is a collection of32 short videos comprising more than five hours of original material beyond the broadcast series. The videos draw on the interviews, re-enactments, animations and photographs we shot and collected for the PBS series to explore different aspects of the story of the search for the elements. Of the 32 videos, 22 are “teacher videos” designed specifically for chemistry teachers; they cover key chemical concepts like the Periodic Table, the structure of the atom and the Conservation of Matter in more detail than we had time for in the TV series. The other 10 are “general interest” videos that do not address key chemistry concepts but may still be of interest to teachers of chemistry (and other subjects), because they show chemistry at work in social and historical context. For example, one of the videos is about Antoine Lavoisier’s role in making the gunpowder that helped America win the Revolutionary War; another is about the important role his wife, Marie Anne, played in his work.


The Mystery of Matter Clip Collection.This is the entire PBS broadcast series broken up into about 60 short clips of 1-4 minutes each. The three-hour series consists of six interconnected stories, each one focusing on one of our seven featured scientists (except Oxygen, which features two scientists: Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier.) For each of those sections, we provide a one-page table of contents with a brief description of each of about ten chapters. After reading the chapter summaries, teachers and students may instantly watch the clip that interests them simply by clicking on the chapter heading.