Week 4: Skits, Experiments & Making Models

Now that we are four weeks into the term, our students are at full-steam on the chemistry train. This week in class we did an assortment of fun activities. The advanced grammar class put together and performed two skits that illustrated some of the great discoveries that contributed to what we now know about chemistry. They are a bright, theatrical bunch, and our younger classes enjoyed the performances. The skits are a supplemental activity in our text for the term, The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe by Ellen McHenry.

This was also the first week that we were able to dive in to some hearty chemistry experiments designed to show the activity of valence electrons and their behavior when they encounter other molecules. There were four experiments (all found in the McHenry book) that showed various chemical reactions and followed up with a general explanation of what was going on at a molecular level.

Our reading for the week covered ionic bonds and salts, so in the beginning grammar class, we made 3-d models of a NaCl (table salt) molecule. The kids had a great time building these, but the marshmallows were definitely not easy to work with. Ours happened to be a little too squishy/sticky to be totally useful, and most of the students’ models collapsed before being entirely finished. I would recommend using stale marshmallows if possible.

Below is a photo of the hands-on activity we started in week 3 (but ran out of time to finish that day). This is a 3-d model of an atom, with 5 protons and 5 neutrons glued together to form the nucleus, and 5 electrons floating around it. Can you name that element?  The idea for this came from the Kids Activities Blog.





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