Mighty Molecule Modelsby: Tom Brown, Greg Rushton, and Marie Bencomo

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As part of the SMATHematics Project: The Wonder of Science, The Power of Mathematics—a collaborative partnership between Kennesaw State University and two local school districts, fifth graders had the opportunity to puzzle out chemical formulas of propane, methanol, and other important molecules. In addition, they explored properties that characterize certain molecules and then used their newly acquired knowledge of atoms’ bonding requirements to help them build three-dimensional molecular models. The effort is succeeding—as you can see by the fifth-grade classroom experience described here.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:09 PM

In this activity, students learning about atoms, molecules, and chemical bonding in a hands-on lesson. This lesson introduces and explores the properties that characterize molecules and build on the students' prior knowledge of atoms. The activity builds on the SMATHematics Project and explores bonding rules, bonding diagrams, and vocabulary. An example of the student activity sheet is included with the article. While this article is written for 5th grade students, it could be adapted for middle school classrooms.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:58 PM

Students in an upper elementary classroom learn the basic structure of atoms, including the form and behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Students engage in role playing to demonstrate bonding. They then learned some of the rules of bonding. The models were constructed using only bonding between 4 elements and students were provided with the number of bonds they needed to become stable. With this information they began to create simple molecules. While the activity seems interesting, it is this writer believes that this activity would be better used in the middle school level as recommended by the NGSS.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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