Science Sampler: The Octet Rules-- A dating game for atomsby: Jennifer Welborn

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To develop student interest in the periodic table, try incorporating this simple, but fun, role-playing activity that follows a game-show format into your science curriculum. This play is used after students have learned the basic structure of atoms and the general layout of the periodic table. It also comes after students have learned the basics of ionic and covalent bonding. The entire script is included.

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Reviews (8)
  • on Fri May 17, 2013 2:21 PM

This article has a really neat game show about chemical bonding that students can act out. It is based on the old television show, The Dating Game. It has an excellent written script and assessment questions afterwards.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:14 PM

I was particularly impressed with the description of the role playing activity Octet Rules! which is based upon the old show The Dating Game because the author specifically describes not only the activity but how discussions about stereotyping, particularly gender stereotyping, must be addressed by the teacher who chooses to use the activity. Octet Rules is a short play that describes how atoms interact. It is short and clearly emphasizes the octet rule in atomic structure.

Bambi Bailey  (Tyler, TX)
Bambi Bailey (Tyler, TX)

  • on Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:27 PM

I just used the Octet Rules Dating Game in my chemistry class last week. My students really enjoy reading the script. It was an engaging way to introduce the octet rule. The skit got my students thinking and it led to a lot of discussion about how ions react with each other

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:33 AM

This article is actually a role playing activity that students can perform to understand the rules for filling the outer electron shell with valence electrons so that atoms can form ionic bonds. While the players are reading their part the rest of the class follows along. At the culmination of the play all students are asked to write a paragraph to explain which atoms would be suitable to form an ionic bond with another atom. This is a cute approach to bonding.

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

  • on Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:32 PM

Middle school teachers,especially 8th grade, will love this activity. Using a role-play script (provided by the author), students act out a short 15 minute "play". Extensions are added in the article to allow more student participation. At the end of the play, students are asked to answer questions and write a refection. Although this play is written for students

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:38 PM

A very creative approach to electronic structure and bonding that would be particularly useful to kinesthetic learners


  • on Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:25 PM

Short reader's theater that could be performed in a middle school classroom. I am drawn to activitities that weave content areas. In this case physical science and reading aloud. My students enjoyed the activity, and made 3 corner paper hats, decorated with their role. Drawbacks on this activity is the limited amount of student parts and even though this is geard for MS, the length is very short.

Alyce Dalzell  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce Dalzell (Peyton, CO)

  • on Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:11 PM

This article was about a teaching strategy used to reinforce the concept of ionic and covalent bonding. I was interested in the subject because this is the area my classes are currently working on. I thought the article might help me in finding engaging activities for my students that provide just the right amount of rigor. In this lesson/strategy, the class reads/ acts in a play in which the elements are participants of a dating game, and the object is for the elements to find their perfect "stable" matches. I liked that the article provided background information about how ionic and covalent compounds are formed. This makes the strategy used- friendly for first year teachers or teachers who are teaching the content for the first time. The idea of the play is creative and appeals to the middle school-ages students with the romance, drama, and gossip. However, I found that the concept of an element dating game could be better presented to the students in a way that would have all students participating instead of a select few while the rest of the class sat as the audience. I think the concept of the dating game should be an actual speed-dating session rather than a play in which the script is provided and the answers are readily available to the students. If students were asked to select an element to become from the Periodic Table and create a bio, they are becoming an expert on that element. Next, students could participate in a few round of speed dating in which they used concepts learned in class to determine their compatibility with other elements. Afterward, they could write write the proper names and formulas for the compounds that were created as a match. With a few tweaks to the strategy, the lesson would still appeal to the students and would be engaging, but would also provide the rigor needed for the level of academic achievement we want for our students.

Julie McGee
Julie McGee

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