Making Molecular Models Activity

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

Materials:

  • Molecular Model Kits – 1 kit per group of 4 students
  • Student Handout – updated for 2015 (pdf)
  • Formula cards (pdf) – print, cut apart, laminate
    • 1 set per group of 4 students
  • colored pencils
  • periodic table

Procedure:

For this activity, students will practice reading formulas, counting atoms, building molecules, and identifying bond types. This activity can be used in several different ways.

Stations

Different stations can be set up around the classroom with 2-4 formulas per stations. Each station will have enough supplies to create the models indicated. Students will complete one station at a time, have their work spot checked for completion, and then proceed to an open station. Making duplicate stations helps prevent bottle necking at the stations that take longer to complete.

You can either do timed rotations or have students move freely when they are done. Some stations will be more difficult than others and extra time will be needed for students to complete those models. I like to have several “Make your Own” stations around the room to facilitate movement and give the students more time to explore model making.

Lab groups

Instead of stations, each lab group will have a complete set of formula cards and a molecular model kit. 4 students will share the materials and students can work with a partner or individually. The models can be completed in any order, this helps free up the materials so that not all students are waiting to use the Carbon or Sodium atoms.

Matching Game

If there are students who finish early, they can check their answers by matching the model images with the formulas using the answer cards (see below). Or they can create games with a partner using the cards.

Samples of Formula Cards and Answers

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Free Task Card Templates provided by: Rebecca Bishop at TPT (link) ~ thank you!

Answers:

  • Some of the molecules have both Ionic and Covalent bonds and are indicated on the cards
  • One molecule has a double bond – CO2
  • One molecule has a triple bond – N2
  • Metals are: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium
  • Non-Metals are: Hydrogen, Chlorine, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen

Be sure to see my Chemistry page (link) for more lessons related to atoms and bonding.

SpongeBob Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity

SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity

Materials:

  • SpongeBob® Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity Teacher’s Edition (pptx)
    • this power point can be modified as needed
    • 47 slides with answers for each scenario
  • Scenarios – Student Handout/Notes (pdf)
  • Safety Rule Task Cards
    • one laminated set per group  (4 slides per page pdf)
    • 2 sided handout for each student to keep in notes (9 slides per page pdf)
  • Pencils and highlighters
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (3)

Task Cards for all 16 safety rules

Procedures Part 1:

  1. Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
  2. Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
  3. Groups will need to identify the safety rules that were not followed for Scenario #1 and pull the safety rule task cards related to Scenario #1. The rules that were not broken will be placed in a pile to the side.
  4. Students will lightly underline where the rules weren’t followed in their notes and write the number of the rule for each violation along with a brief 2-3 word description of the rule that was broken in the margin of their notes.
  5. Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
  6. Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
    1. I don’t tell the students how many safety violations there are, then they can use process of elimination for the last scenario, I tell them that each safety rule task card will be used at least once so they know that there are at least 16 violations to find.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (1)

There are 5 Scenario Cards.

Procedures Part 2:

  1. Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
  2. On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
  3. Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
  4. Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
  5. The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
  6. All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
  7. Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
  8. Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
  9. Do the same for scenarios 2-5.
  10. Discuss your results/debrief.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (2)

Each scenario card will reveal the answers, one at a time, and the safety rules that were not followed. The number of the rule is in parenthesis and will match the safety rule task cards.

Additional Resources for this activity:

  • The original worksheet for this activity is from ScienceSpot.net (pdf)
  • Interactive Notebook version of this worksheet (pdf)
  • Marcia has some nice additional activities for Safety on her website (link)
  • This ppt was modified from the original source found at (link)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants® and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
  • For more lessons on Science Skills, click on this page (link)

Finding the Volume of Irregularly Shaped Objects Using Water Displacement

Pouring water into the graduated cylinder - approximately 50 mL.

Pouring water into the graduated cylinder – approximately 50 mL.

Materials:

  • 2 graduated cylinders per group of 4 students
  • 1 container of water per group
  • 1 plastic tray per group
  • 1 plastic spoon per group
    • this is used to stop item from falling into the container and to fish out items if needed
  • paper towels or cloth towels
  • green or blue food coloring – a few drops per 500 mL
    • adding food coloring helps the students to make accurate readings since it easier to see the water, plus it is fun to work with :)
    • I don’t like to use red or yellow, they tend to stain more than the blue and green food coloring
  • an assortment of small objects such as pennies, rubber stoppers, marbles, pebbles, etc…
  • Water Displacement – Volume Lab Handout (pdf)
Slowly adding objects into the graduated cylinder. Items like rocks, marbles, metal cubes/cylinders will crack the graduated cylinder if dropped in.

Slowly adding objects into the graduated cylinder. Items like rocks, marbles, metal cubes/cylinders will crack the graduated cylinder if dropped in.

All supplies are kept on lunch trays for easy clean up and spill control.

All supplies are kept on lunch trays for easy clean up and spill control.

Reading the meniscus on a level surface at eye level to ensure accurate readings.

Reading the meniscus on a level surface at eye level to ensure accurate readings.

After recording our measurements, we empty the water and contents. The plastic spoon helps to prevent items from falling into the beaker, and fish items out if they fall in.

After recording our measurements, we empty the water and contents. The plastic spoon helps to prevent items from falling into the beaker, and fish items out if they do fall in.

Additional Resources:

  • Measuring Liquid Volume Practice Sheet (pdf)
  • Common Core – Graduated Cylinder Worksheets (link)
  • Volume by Water Displacement Worksheets (pdf)
  • Finding volume using an overflow can (pdf)

For more lessons related to Properties of Matter click here (link)

First Day of School – Science Classroom Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt Handout

Scavenger Hunt Handout

The first day of school is always so exciting and the kids are eager to explore their new surroundings. As part of my first-day procedures, along with expectations and all the things I need to cover/explain, I like to do a scavenger hunt. This usually takes place during the last 20 minutes of the class period (we have 50 min periods) to help students become familiar with their new classroom, satisfy their curiosities, and burn off some of that energy.

While the students are completing the scavenger hunt, it really gives me a glimpse into the dynamics of each class. Some students like to work alone, some like to work with a partner, some are super focused and task driven, some students prioritize what they want to find first and make a plan, some students are more relaxed and let the answers find them as they walk around making quiet observations, some students pair up and find half of the items and share their information, some will trade answers for things they can’t find. It is really interesting to watch it unfold.

The scavenger hunt will continue into the first 10 minutes of the second class and then we will go over the answers. (If they don’t find all the answers, that is OK, it isn’t graded.) Each student checks their work, making corrections as needed. (This also gives me a good segway into talking about corrections – many students view corrections as something they did ‘wrong’ and I want them to view them as opportunities.) This will stay in their notebook and can be used for reference. There are always a few tricky ones that very few students have correct, for example, the outlets for the laptops are hanging from the ceiling on rolled up extension cords – we don’t use the wall outlets.

Just for fun, at the end, I have all the students stand up. We then determine who found the most items. If they have 5 or more correct, they stay standing, if not, they sit down. We continue until the last person is left standing for each class. I write their name on the board and write “Sally – 25″.

To view my version of Scavenger Hunt handout click on the image above or here (pdf)

“I am a Scientist” – Instagram Edition

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.34.38 PM

Each year, as part of my “Becoming a Scientist” Unit, I ask the students to envision themselves in their favorite field of science. What would they like to do? Where would they be located? What tools would they use? What would they wear? What would they be working on?

Using the student’s drawings, I create a bulletin board and group the scientists by disciplines – for example: Zoologists, Marine Biologists, Archeologists, Astronauts, Botanists, Chemists, etc.

I thought it would be fun to have their drawings be Instagram snapshots depicting themselves as scientists in their field of choice. One other option is they can draw scientist selfies using a cell phone template (free downloads @ link)

Resources:

  • What does a scientist look like? ppt slides (free ppt)
  • “I am a Scientist” directions (pdf)
  • Free Instagram template located on TPT @ “Fun’s Not Just for Elementary” (link)
  • Fun scientist puzzles @ ScienceSpot.net (link)

Dunkin’ for Density Challenge

Dunkin' for Density - finding the mass after the dunk tank.

Dunkin’ for Density – finding the mass after the dunk tank.

Introduction:

This is a wonderful problem solving and hands-on activity to use as part of your density unit. The students enjoy the challenge and have a solid understanding of density after completing this activity. Even though students quickly figure out how to make the canister float and sink, making the canister suspend is pretty challenging and requires a lot of trial and error and problem solving.

To qualify as suspending, the film canister needs to float just under the surface of the water, with a small portion of the top just breaking through. How I also verify that it is suspending is by pushing the film canister to the bottom of the tank, if it comes up very slowly to the surface, it counts – if it comes up quickly or stays towards the bottom, it doesn’t count. Students then need to figure out that if it comes up too quickly, they need to add to the mass, if it comes up too slowly, they need to remove some of the mass. It will take several tries to get it just right.

dunkin_1

Materials:

  • Dunkin’ for Density handout (1 page pdf) or (2 page pdf) and (link) to the original lesson from ScienceSpot.net
  • Triple Beam Balances
  • Container filled with water
  • Towels – the more the better!
  • Film canisters
    • one canister per 2 people works well, they can reuse the canisters if you don’t have enough to give each set of lab partners 3 canisters
    • if they reuse the canisters, be sure that they find the mass before they empty the contents
  • An assortment of small objects such as pennies, paper clips, stoppers, small pebbles, etc…
  • Calculators

dunkin_2

Procedures:

  1. Introduce the Dunkin’ for Density Challenge – their goal is to make the film canister float, suspend, and sink by placing contents inside of the film canister.
    1. Many students will say that the canister will float with nothing in it, but they must place a few objects in it for it to count ;)
    2. On a side note, a mini history lesson on film and cameras is fun to discuss since most students have never used a camera that used film
  2. Explain the procedures, review how to use the TBB, note that the film canister must seal completely and be air tight so that water doesn’t enter, and also demonstrate how to use the dunk tank properly and to dry off the canister before finding the mass.
  3. Do not give the students the value for the volume of the film canisters until they have collected their data. If the students know the volume of the film canister, they may figure out the mass needed to make the film canister’s density close to 1.0 g/cm3.
    1. The value is approximately 39 mL or 39 g/cm3 – verify with a large graduated cylinder that the film canister can fit inside of – or use an overflow can to find the volume (link).
    2. I will give the volume to each set of lab partners individually and ask that they don’t share that information with the class.
  4. Once students have calculated the density, collect class data on a spreadsheet projected on the board/screen.
  5. Discuss results – why did the film canister float, suspend, or sink in the tank of water? What relationships did you notice?
dunkin_results

Results show that densities close to 1.0 g/cm3 suspended.

For more lessons related to the Properties of Matter, click here (link)

Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Research & Note taking

Rock Identification: Research and note taking

Materials:

  • At least 4 samples for each of the following 12 rocks:
    • Igneous Rocks: Pumice, Obsidian, Basalt, & Granite
    • Sedimentary Rocks: Sandstone, Limestone, Conglomerate, & Coal
    • Metamorphic Rocks: Slate, Gneiss, Hornfels, & Marble
  • Rocks, Gems, and Minerals Guide – classroom set
  • Handouts for note-taking
  • Flashcards – print out and glue onto index cards (pdf)
    • each student made their own set to keep
  • Index cards with rock IDs on them
    • 1 set per lab table
  • Paper plates
    • 12 plates with rock IDs
    • additional plates: 1 set per table if not using index cards

rocks_id_2

Students will learn to identify & categorize 12 common rocks samples during this multi-day lesson. To introduce the unit, students are given the foundation of how rocks form and the three types of rocks: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.

rocks_id_3

Working with a partner and/or in small groups, they will research, handle, and compare the rock specimens and take careful notes at the different stations. Once their research is done, they will practice identifying the rock samples by creating and teaching each other different games using the rocks samples.

rocks_plate_id_game

Some games the students played are:

  • Sort the rocks into 3 piles: I, S, or M, who can do it the fastest?
  • Rock races
    • 2 students are given 6 rocks each to find and sort from the pile of 12
    • can you find it? Name a rock and pick it from the pile
  • Match the rock samples to the name of the rock
  • Mis-match some of the rocks with their ID cards, can you figure out which ones are incorrect?
  • Rock Quiz – creating questions from the index cards
    • examples:
      • Which rock is the only intrusive igneous rock?
      • Which rock floats on water?
      • Which one used to be limestone?

rocks_id_indexcards_2

For more lessons related to Rocks & Minerals, be sure to visit my Earth Science Page (link).

rocks_id_indexcards_1

Physical and Chemical Changes Sorting Activity

Students sorting physical & chemical change cards

Students sorting physical & chemical change cards

This is a fun partner activity that I use as part of my Chemistry unit to get students thinking about the differences between physical and chemical changes. Each pair of students is given a set of cards with images and descriptions of either a physical change or a chemical change. (see photo above)

Each pair goes through the cards and discusses/decides where the each card will be placed. Once they have categorized the cards, students call me over verify their work – I will either say “Yes, they are all in the correct category!” or “Not quite yet, try again.” I give a small clue each time I come over. For example, I will say something along the lines of “You have 2 in the incorrect column” or “You have too many in the Physical Change category, which ones should be moved to the Chemical Change category?” or “Two cards need to be flip/flopped to the other category, all the other cards have been placed correctly” or “All of the cards that are placed in the Chemical Change group belong there, but not all of them are there quite yet, what else can you move to that category?” – I won’t tell them the specifics of what needs to be changed. This forces the students to re-evaluate their choices and make changes as needed until all of their cards in the correct category.

Every few minutes, I will give the whole class a clue. This allows them to check their progress and verify one answer at a time. One card that many students have difficulty with is the boiling water card – and that is usually the first clue I will give out once I have had a chance to check every group’s progress. Each pair of students continues working together until all the cards are placed in the correct category. Once I’ve verified their placements, they add the answers to their notes and answer the questions for the activity and we discuss our results.

Materials

  • Physical and Chemical Changes Sorting Worksheet & Cards (pdf)
    • Laminate and cut cards apart, place in zip-top bags
      • 1 set per 2 students
    • Answers for Physical Change are: cracking eggs, slicing bread, ice  melting, glass breaking, boiling water, fresh lemonade, mowing lawn (cutting the grass)
  • Optional – privacy screen made of one manila folder cut in half and stapled together

View my Properties of Matter resources for related lessons (page)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Image Source: NSTA

Image Source: NSTA

For my posts, I am tagging the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) that I think best fit the lessons on my blog. To find lessons related to each practice, you can use the search box to find them or click on the tags on each post to find similar lessons:

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (SEP) (Details from NSTA)

  • SEP1 – Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • SEP2 – Developing and Using Models
  • SEP3 – Planning and Carrying out Investigations
  • SEP4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • SEP5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • SEP6 – Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • SEP7 – Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • SEP8 – Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Observations: Telephone Game

Image Source - Wikipedia Commons

Image Source – Wikipedia Commons

I used this activity with my 6th graders last fall to emphasize observations, communication skills, and team work. It is a variation on the classic Telephone Game that many students are familiar with. Depending on the number of students you have, I found that 7-8 per team worked really well. The more students on a team, the more difficult it is to relay the information to each student, and less than 7 was much easier. If your teams aren’t exactly even, that is ok. When grouping students, be sure to mix abilities and plan accordingly for teams that are larger/smaller.

How the game works is I have 10 color photos of damselflies, and each team will make & share observations for one of the photos. The only person who will see the photo, however, is person #1. The rest of the team will not see the photo, and they don’t know what the photos are of. The only information they will have are the 10 observations person #1 will give them. Once each group determines who #1 is, #1 will come up to make and record 10 observations about their photo for 3 minutes. The rest of the team will determine who will receive the information from #1 and the order they will go in. Some strategies will go into determining the order, for example, someone who has a really good memory may want to be person #2.

Students will spread out around the room and take a seat. When the 3 minutes are up, person #1 will go to person #2 and whisper the 10 observations to them for 1 minute. Person #1 will have their index card, but can not give the index card to person #2. Person #2 can ask questions and repeat the information until the 1 minute is up. #1 will take #2’s seat and #2 will go to #3 and share the 10 observations from memory. This will continue until all members have had a turn sharing the observations.

The last member of the team will share the observations with the class and then pick out the photograph from the 10 I have. We will then compare the last set of observations to the original 10 and find out if they were able to choose the correct photo.

This was a fun and challenging activity, and it lead to some really great discussions about making and sharing observations. Many groups had difficulty picking out the original photograph because the information changed or went missing somewhere along the line, just like when they play the game telephone.

Materials

  • Detailed lesson plan for teachers (pdf-Instructions)
  • Directions for students to introduce the activity and the 10 images to print out and laminate (pdf)

NGSS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (SEP 1, SEP 4, SEP 8)

  • Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
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