I used this lesson after we had already learned how to balance chemical equations using the hands on lesson I created and described below (also found on my Chemistry page):
Balancing Chemical Equations Activity – one of my long time favorite activities. Students will learn how to read formulas, count atoms, create and read chemical equations, and balance chemical equations using a hands on activity with color coded formulas:
We worked through the problems together and I called on students to first identify the chemical reaction and then balance the equation. After a few slides, they began to recognize the types of reactions quickly and had a good understanding of how to identify and balance the equations.
I recently used Tracy’s Bonding Basics 2010Activity (link) with my 6th graders as a guided lesson. We spent one day on Ionic Bonds, and the second day on Covalent Bonds. Students worked in pairs and practiced making Lewis Structures, finding Oxidation numbers, identifying elements as either Metals or Non-Metals, and determining what each element would do when bonding with another element.
Instead of candy, I used pennies as electrons along with the element cut outs she provides on her website. This was a great hands-on activity to have students ‘see’ how the atoms bond together, and after a few slides, they were able to quickly determine how each element would bond.
My 6th graders recently completed “Bond with a Classmate” from Tracy’s ScienceSpot website. I have used this activity successfully with both 5th and 6th grade science classes over the years. Here is the description form her website:
Bond with a Classmate(Gail Sanders, Monroe Middle School, Wheaton, IL)
In this activity from Gail Sanders, a member of the MidLevel Science Teachers group in Northern Illinois, students are given a tag (or necklace) to wear with the symbol of an ion and its oxidation number. Positive ions are green and the negative ions are blue. The students are instructed to “bond” with other ions and keep a record of their bonds. Students had to work with their bonding partner to agree on and write a formula and name for the compound they formed. Once that was done, they could break the bond and find a different ion with which to bond. After 5 bonds, students switch tags with another student and start bonding again.
I have a modified version of the student handout posted here (link pdf file). If you have a smaller group of students, I would suggest changing cards after 3 bonds. When a student has successfully made 3 bonds, they come up to my desk, I quickly check their bonds for correctness, and then give them an oppositely charged ion. For example, if a student is Mg +2, they would then receive Cl -1 and make 3 bonds with that new ion.
The version in the video posted above is a more challenging version of the activity, I would suggest 8th grade or higher. Bond with James – free lesson plan on TPT (link). You can also combine both set of cards.
I don’t use the yarn for this activity, the students carry the cards around with them and it is easier for them to place the cards on the table when they pair up so they can write down the formula and compound name more easily instead of looking down and upside down at their cards.
If you have used this activity, would love to hear how it worked with your students and if you have any other ideas to add to this lesson.
This was the easiest, and most inexpensive way to make cartesian divers I have ever tried, and each student got to take theirs home after class. Did I mention how much fun it was?!
semi-transparent to transparent bendy straws – 1 per student
colored paper clips – 4-6 per student
scissors – 1 per 2-4 students
2L bottle with cap – 1 per 2 students
beaker of water – 1 per 2-4 students
tray to contain spills -1 per 2 students
optional: eye dropper with blue colored water
Part 1 – Demonstration:
As part of our density unit, we talk about the concept of buoyancy – why do objects float or sink? Using a 2L bottle of water, a glass medicine dropper, and some blue food coloring, we made guesses and observations about the cartesian diver.
The medicine dropper is filled with blue water, checked for buoyancy, and then added to a 2L bottle. Students gather to make observations. What do you think will happen when I squeeze the bottle? What will the blue water do? Why did it sink? Why did it float? What is happening to the air in the diver? What is the water doing? Did the mass of the diver change? The density? Students share their ideas and we come to a conclusion as to why the diver floats and sinks.
Part 2 – Build and Explore:
After the demonstrations, students get to build their own divers and explore on their own. Some tips to keep in mind:
Be careful bending the straw, any cracks will make the the straw useless.
After bending the straw, cut off the excess length of straw so that both side are equal in length. (You can save the rest of the straw for future activities)
Attach one paper clip as shown in the diagram below. Additional paper clips can be easily added or removed by sliding them on or off the main paper clip. (Like keys on a keychain)
Use a rescue hook for any divers that do not float back to the top.
Remind students to place the cap back on the bottle TIGHTLY – or water will shoot out of the bottle when they squeeze it.
Lunch or serving trays work nicely to contain spills.
Note: I modified this lesson to add a hands-on component with the addition of task cards that students can sort at their desks. I use this lesson as a group work activity to introduce Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures.
Each group will have one set of task cards and one set of ECM? cards to hold up.
Students will sort the items pictured into 4 columns: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures, and “?”. (The “?” category is a temporary place holder for students to discuss further within their group, all items should be sorted before answers are revealed)
Once all the groups have had a chance to discuss and sort the items, we will go over the answers as a class.
Using the ppt, show the first item (Rocks). Ask each group to choose one of the E,C, or M cards.
Have them place the “?” in front of their answer. (this prevents the other groups from seeing their answer) A spokesperson for each group will stand up and hold the ECM? cards.
Ask all the groups to reveal their answer at the same time. Compare answers & discuss.
Reveal the answer and have students record the results in their notes.
If needed, have students move the card to the correct category on their desk, too.
For fun, I award a point to each group that has a correct answer, the kids enjoy a little friendly competition :).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I like to use the Minerals in Your House page to introduce minerals to my students and have them explore the different ways we use minerals in our everyday life. In this post I am including an updated worksheet for students to take notes while they view the website.